Squad news


31 Aug 2008
Promising start for Deportivo. The first win of the season and it was achieved following the tradition overcoming Real Madrid at the Riazor. The Galicians made an intelligent game and controlled the actions tough the Madrilenians had the ball possession. Guardado was the most active player for Lotina while the goals were conquered by Mista and Lopo.

Coach Miguel Angel Lotina was preparing a surprise for Real Madrid and the novelty was to see Mista, Pablo ?lvarez and Verd?? on the pitch, they took the place of Riki, Juan Rodr?guez and Valer??n. Also the Basque coach abandoned the system with five defenders and implemented a 4-2-3-1 tactic. Meanwhile in Real Madrid Schuster sent the expected squad with Ra??l, Van Nistelrooy and Higua?n as the main references. The game was played in a full Riazor, the remaining tickets were sold on Sunday’s afternoon.

The plan of Lotina was clear: to drown Real Madrid since the beginning and to search for an early goal. Therefore the game started with Depor moving the ball with fast combinations between Guardado, Verd??, Mista and Pablo Alvarez. Precisely it was this last player who started the first chance for Depor at minute 2. Alvarez dribbled a rival on the right wing and sent a drilling cross to the penalty spot, there Mista sent a up-going shot that hit the crossbar, just where Casillas was standing, Guardado received the rebound, but his header went over the bar.

It seemed that Deportivo would try to dominate the game, but it was just a mirage, because after that play, the Galicians delayed their positions. It was then when Real Madrid gained the control of the actions, something that will stay the same for the remaining 87 minutes. The first chance for the visitors was a wide shot of Higua?n after a deflection of Filipe Luis (5’).

At minute 13, Guti sent a long cross to Van Nistelrooy, but his pas was worthless since Ra??l was in an offside position. Between minutes 6 and 16, the game lived a pause, both sides were trying to settle their positions in midfield and there wasn’t any clear occasion. But the game changed at minute 16. First a combination between Filipe and Guardado ended with a cross from the left to the penalty spot, Mista tried a bicycle-kick but the ball was cleared first by Sergio Ramos. In the next play Robben tried a fast counterattack, but it ended once again in an offside, this time by Van Nistelrooy.

 The match changed again since these two actions, now it was a ?velocity contest’ between Guardado, Mista and Arjen Robben. Real Madrid was having the ball possession, but Schuster’s squad was betting in fast attacks leaded by the Dutch player. One of this plays almost leaves Ra??l one-on-one with Aranzubia, but Z? Castro cleared the danger with a saving diver (21’).

Meanwhile Deportivo was feeling more comfortable playing with counterattacks, mostly searching for Guardado on the left side. Real Madrid had a new chance at minute 25, this time with a shot of Guti that hit Van Nistelrooy first before passing near the Aranzubia’s right post. Then the goal of Deportivo arrived, and it was thanks to Guardado.

The Mexican fought hard for the ball with Pepe and earned a free-kick on the left side, almost near the line. Depor tested a combinative set-piece with Sergio passing the ball to Guardado, then the Mexican sent a cross to the box and Mista was there to head it downwards, the ball peacefully entered into the goal with Casillas only watching.

The goal increased the pressure of Real Madrid and Schuster’s side had the best chance of the first half at minute 35, curiously through a counterattack after a corner-kick of Depor. Filipe was hit in the face inside the box and he fell to the ground, Real Madrid took advantage of this and started a fast play with Guti sending a long ball to Robben, the Dutch entered by the side of Filipe and surpassed De Guzman with a astonishing facility, but his drilling shot was saved by Daniel Aranzubia.

Deportivo was living the most complicate moment of the first half. Verd??, who was trying to replace Valer??n, and Pablo Alvarez, who just appeared during the first play of the match , were missed in action. Therefore the Galicians were just betting in long balls to Guardado and to wait for a combination of him with Mista or Filipe.

The first half ended in a scaring way for Depor, in the stoppage time a shot from Marcelo hit Sergio in the head and the volley hit the crossbar, Aranzubia couldn’t do anything, but the ball went out. The Galicians capitalised one of the two actions had in the first half, while Madrid always seemed dangerous when they tried to move the ball from one side to the other, especially when they used the velocity of Robben.

The situation was the same during the second half, but there was a big difference. This time Depor seemed more focused with Guardado, Mista, Verd?? and Pablo Alvarez making quick connections, something that gave more depth to Depor’s attacks. Meanwhile Real Madrid was having the ball possession, but this time Robben disappeared as he switched his position to the left, searching for Laure. That’s why the attacks of Real Madrid during the second part were disordered and without control.

However the Madrilenians find quickly the equaliser, Schuster’s team took advantage of a distraction to score the goal just two minutes after the break. Marcelo passed the ball to Ra??l who was standing near to Depor’s area, then he tried to shot and the ball hit a defender, luckily it rebounded in the box and Ruud Van Nistelrooy was there to defeat Aranzubia with a strange shot that entered by the left post.

But Deportivo found the second goal really quickly, just four minutes after the equaliser. And once again it was in a stationary play leaded by Guardado. The Mexican took a corner-kick on the left and sent a cross to the box that Albert Lopo headed over the penalty spot. The ball went directly to the top left corner.

Real Madrid tried to react and at minute 54, Diarra was near to score after Marcelo sent a cross from the left, the header of the African midfielder was going into the net, but Aranzubia made a great save, it’s second on the game. It would the best and only clear chance for Real Madrid during the second part.

As it was appointed before, with Robben out of the game, the attacks of Real Madrid always seemed without sense, worthless. In fact, it was Deportivo who seemed more dangerous with its counterattacks. At minute 60 Guardado sent a new cross from the left, this time Mista didn’t arrive and the ball was cleared by Marcelo. It was the last play of the ex-Valencia striker, because a few second later Riki entered for him.

The connection Riki-Verd??-Guardado worked since the first second, and these three players seemed more dangerous than the whole Real Madrid squad, bud Riki had to leave the pitch after he suffered a muscular problem when he was searching a long ball from Guardado. He had to be replaced by Omar Bravo, the other Mexican at Depor that debuted in Primera Divisi??n.

Real Madrid continued with the ball possession, but it was Depor who was having the better occasions. At minute 74 Laure sent a cross from the right that Casillas couldn’t contain, then Verd?? had the ball in the penalty spot, but he was backwards the goal, his delayed pass to de Guzman ended with a deflected shot to a corner.

With ten minutes left in the clock, Lotina decided to secure the result, he replaced Pablo Alvarez with Juan Rodr?guez and the Andalusian was now helping Laure at the right-back position. The only chance for Madrid in the final part of the game was a shot of Higua?n after a corner, but Aranzubia was there to stop the ball. Schuster tried to react with the entrance of Drenthe and De La Red, but it was too later, because Depor had the control over the pitch, the Galicians even had a couple of chances with Verd?? and Omar Bravo before the final whistle, but the opportunities were missed.

Great victory for Deportivo. Lotina’s side knew how to control the game during each one of its phases and scored the goals n the precise moment. The squad suffered the most in the first half, but in the second part the players seemed very comfortable and were even close to achieve a bigger score. Guardado was the best player for Depor, always unstoppable on the left. De Guzm??n was also very important in midfield, while Sergio and Verd?? appeared from time to time with very good passes. It was also pleasant to see Mista, who had two chances and capitalised one of them.

This start in la liga is completely different to the one had on the past season, the squad seems to be understanding the tactics and now this victory is bringing some calm. Now la liga will rest due the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Depor will play until September 14 in another complicate game: the visit to El Madrigal in order to face Villarreal FC.

Deportivo: Aranzubia - Laure, Lopo, Z? Castro, Filipe Luis - Sergio, De Guzm??n - Pablo ?lvarez (Juan Rodr?guez 79’), Verd??, Guardado - Mista (Riki 61’) (Omar Bravo 73’).
Real Madrid: Casillas - Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Heinze, Marcelo - Higua?n, Diarra, Guti (De la Red 81’), Robben - Ra??l (Drenthe 81’), Van Nistelrooy.
Goals: 1-0:  (26’) Mista, 1-1: (47’) Van Nistelrooy, 2-1: (51’) Lopo.
Referee: Mu?iz Fern??ndez. He showed yellow card to Lopo (30’), Mista (35’), Guti (54’), Sergio Ramos (70’) Pablo ?lvarez (75’), Aranzubia (78’) and Marcelo (85’).
Venue: Riazor (33,000)
Other statistics: Ball possession (39% - 61%); Total shots (11 - 18); Shots on target (3  - 4); saves by the keeper (2 – 1); Corner-kicks (6 – 5); Offsides (3 – 2); Fouls (16 – 18); Accuracy of passes (82.41% - 85.54%)

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