As the 54-year-old tactician prepares the Oviedistas for their league clash at the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos on Friday, he is wary of the attacking threat of a free-scoring Nigerian star
Real Oviedo head coach, José Ángel Ziganda, believes his side’s next opponent Almeria boast the league’s best striker in Nigerian forward Umar Sadiq.
In only his first season in the Spanish Segunda Division, Sadiq smashed in 20 league goals to help Almeria make the playoffs. However, they eventually failed to secure a promotion to the top flight.
Sadiq finished third on the goalscorer’s chart, missing out on the top scorer award to Espanyol’s Raúl de Tomás (23 goals) and second-placed Sporting Gijon’s Durdevic (22 goals).
The former AS Roma forward has wasted no time in getting his season to a bright start as he netted the opening goal when Almeria went away to FC Cartagena and handed a 3-1 thrashing to their hosts on matchday one.
On Friday night, Almeria are billed to entertain Real Oviedo at the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos for their matchday two Segunda Division clash.
Coach Joan ‘Rubi’ Ferrer’s men are the installed favourites against an Oviedo side that only managed a 2-2 home draw to Lugo last weekend.
The Blues head coach Ziganda, who had two caps for Spain, knows it would be a challenging task picking any positive result at Almeria, a mission made near-impossible by their rivals’ Nigerian import.
Speaking to the press during his pre-match briefing, the former Osasuna coach said: “Almería has a lot of quality, a lot.
“Young players, fast, with rhythm and good technique. A good coach who has been able to work with the entire squad in pre-season, and that was endorsed in Cartagena.”
“They won the game with relative ease against such an expert team and with the Cartagena players.
“They have probably the best striker in the category (Umar Sadiq) and from there on a very organised team, with quality and rhythm.”
“They are one of the powerful teams in the Second Division.”
Almeria picked four points from the two league meetings against Real Oviedo last season, sealing a memorable 2-1 away win in November before being forced to a 2-2 draw at home in May.
Sadiq scored both of Almeria’s goals at the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos on the day but watched his side concede twice after the break to drop two points.