Real Zaragoza ended a disappointing run of two straight defeats with a batting 1-1 draw on the road at Sporting Gijon in Thursday's sole Primera Division encounter.
Zaragoza made the trip to Asturias looking to bounce back following successive defeats to Sevilla and Real Valladolid, and came away with a hard-earned point thanks to Abel Aguilar's second-half equaliser.
Sporting came into the match full of confidence after an impressive 2-2 draw at Valencia last week despite playing for over an hour with only ten men, and took the lead when Diego Castro fired home a superb long-range effort. The point leaves Sporting in mid-table with five points from their opening four matches, while Zaragoza are up to 15th.
Both sides had early shots across the bows of their opponents with Sporting's Luis Moran lobbing over inside three minutes while Zaragoza's Javier Arizmendi let fly from the edge of the area two minutes later but the effort was always rising. Zaragoza began to boss the play as the half progressed with Francisco Pavon heading just wide from a corner after 13 minutes and Arizmendi again setting his sights from distance but this time his effort was blocked by Gregory Arnolin.
The breakthrough came somewhat against the run of play after 29 minutes thanks to a moment of brilliance by Castro, who picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and curled a delightful effort into the top-left corner of Juan Carrizo's net. The hosts were happy to sit on their lead as half-time approached, snuffing out Zaragoza's attacks in the midfield and limiting the visitors to hopeful long-range efforts as Sporting went in at the interval still in the lead.
Zaragoza came out fired up after the break, however, and quickly got back on level terms. Jorge Lopez was the architect of the goal, his inswinging corner from the right sitting up perfectly for Aguilar to nod home powerfully into the bottom-right corner of the net.
Arnolin came close to restoring Sporting's lead after 73 minutes when he rose to win a header in the area but could only direct his effort straight into the arms of the grateful Carrizo. Zaragoza turned up the wick in the final 20 minutes as they scented their second win of the season, first Lopez going close from 20 yards with an effort that flew just wide while Marko Babic spurned a glorious opening after 78 minutes when he blazed over from six yards out.
There was still time for the hosts to carve out one final chance to claim all three points, but when opportunity knocked for Diego Camacho after 81 minutes he could only fire straight at Carrizo from the edge of the area.