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REVIEW: SK BRANN 2 - DEPORTIVO 0 (UEFA)

18 Sep 2008
Terrible presentation of Deportivo in Norway. As it happened in previous visits to the Norwegian country, the Galicians weren’t able to score a single goal and now they return to La Coru?±a in a delicate situation. The worst thing is that Brann deserved a bigger result as they have enough chances to secure the series. Now Depor will have to win by three goals in the returning leg at the Riazor.

BEFORE THE GAME
Lotina sent the expected 5-2-2-1 formation with Guardado performing as left-back and with the debut of Diego Colotto in the centre of the defence. Valer??n and Lafita were supporting the work of Omar Bravo up front, the Mexican was making his debut as starter in an official game.  In Brann the novelty was that Eirik Bakke was finally discarded for the game, while Scottish striker Robbie Winters was on the bench. Therefore Erik Huseklepp was the main reference upfront.

FIRST HALF
It was a shy start for both sides at the Brann Stadion, Deportivo was holding at the back and Brann was dominating the ball, but without generating danger over Aranzubia. But then the avalanche of the Norwegians started to kill Lotina’s side. The first approximation for the home team occurred at the 7th minute after a corner-kick from Dahl, Huseklepp sent a crossed shot that passed very close to the post. It was just the first of several warnings from the 23-year-old striker.

Later a free-kick of Austin was sent directly to Aranzubia’s arms (10’). As it could be expected, the Galicians were facing some readjustments in defence with the debut of Colotto and the presence of Guardado on the left side, situation that helped Brann to find big holes at Depor’s defensive zone, especially by both sides, sectors where Laure and Guardado were shipwrecking.

The first chance for Deportivo came until minute 17, it was a great pass of Valer??n that Omar Bravo couldn’t define as his final shot went directly to Udjus It seemed that Depor was now finding its place on the pitch, but then Colotto committed a penalty after referee Johan Verbist considered the Argentinean pulled Hanstveit inside the box tough the action occurred in the outside. Icelandic centre back Armann Bj?¶rnsson came to execute the penalty and give the lead to his team.

Instead of reacting, the goal just put more pressure over Deportivo, because the home side had three clear chances within the following five minutes. First with a cross of Huseklepp that Aranzubia cleared (22’), and later with a double opportunity that incredibly wasn’t transformed into the second goal for Brann. Huseklepp, the most dangerous man in the home team together with Solli, faced Aranzubia one-on-one and the Basque keeper saved Depor, in the next play Bjarnason shot on target and Piscu saved his team over the goal line (24’).

The defensive line at Depor was totally broken and Brann was aware of it. At minute 29 Huseklepp had a new chance and once again Aranzubia made an important save. Then the Galicians had a double chance with Lafita sending a shot stopped by Udjus (30’) and with a free-kick of Valer??n that Lopo almost met inside the area (32’). It seemed that Depor was reacting as in the next play Valer??n made a great play to assist Juan Rodr?­guez who sent the ball out (35’).

But it was just a mirage, because Brann scored the second goal just two minutes later. The Norwegians stole a ball to Lafita and they started a fast counterattack, the play ended with ex-Rosenborg right winger Jan Gunnar Solli sending a shot from outside the penalty area, Aranzubia failed to clear the ball and it went to the back of the net. Depor tried to react in the final minutes of the first half, but without ideas to create something important against Udjus.

I was a terrible start for a Deportivo that seemed very confused over the pitch, the absence of key men for Lotina plus the courage of the home side erased completely the secureness of the system with five defenders. The Galicians could even end the first part with more goals against them.

SECOND HALF
The expected change of mentality never arrived at Depor and Lotina’s side continued sunk at the Brann stadion. Just seconds after the pause, Huseklepp hit the post after a great solo effort, then Jamaican midfielder Austin sent a mid-distance shot that Aranzubia cleared. The nightmare for Depor continued at minute 50 as Solli made a great play on the right wing, his cross to the box didn’t find a receiver until Austin sent the ball out again.

Depor reacted until minute 52 as a shot of Sergio went out after a previous effort of Guardado. Then things returned to the �normal’ point as the Norwegians were pushing for a third goal Solli, again very incisive on the right wing, made a great play eluding three rivals, but the final shout went out (55’). Then Lotina decided to replace Omar Bravo with Bodipo, the Mexican had his only clear chance when the score was 0-0 and he wasted it.

It was enough for Lotina as the team wasn’t reacting. The Basque manager decided to change the system at minute 60. An unfortunate Colotto left his place to Brazilian Filipe Luis. Now the Galicians were playing with a 4-5-1, because Guardado advanced his position while Filipe took the left-back spot. Valer??n moved himself to the centre of midfield and Lafita started to play on the right wing. The modification helped Deportivo to improve its poor image over the grass, now the Galician side was having the initiative while the Norwegians were speculating with counterattacks.

Lotina’s team had its chances within the final twenty minutes, the first one was a mid-distance shot of Valer??n that went directly to Udjus (71’), then Bodipo headed a cross from Guardado, but once again it ended in Udjus’ hands (79’). The last change of Depor was the entrance of Cristian for Lafita, the Catalan was refreshing the right wing while Deportivo was searching for an important away goal.

But this wasn’t the night for Depor, despite having the ball in the final fifteen minutes, the squad was unable to score the needed goals. At minute 80 Valer??n assisted Guardado inside the box, but the Mexican didn’t have the time to shot on target, two minutes later Sergio sent a dangerous shot that Udjus stopped. Things could be worse as Huseklepp was near to score again in a counterattack, but his final shot went out (84’). The final opportunity for the Galicians arrived in a free-kick that Filipe smashed into the barrier, the rebound was sent out by Sergio.

AFTER THE GAME
Again Deportivo returns from Norway with empty hands, and this time offering a shameful image over the pitch, because Brann was a team that without having big names, was always the superior side and even deserved a bigger score. Lotina proved to be wrong playing with a defensive line that has never performed together in the past. The game of Deportivo just improved when Lotina switched the system into a 4-5-1, but it was too late.

Now the Galicians will host Brann at the Riazor on October 2nd. The Galicians need a 3-0 score in order to reach the group stage, a 2-0 will only take the series to extra-time, while a goal from Brann will force Depor to score four times. For the moment Deportivo returns to La Coru?±a in order to face RCD Mallorca for la liga (Riazor, Sunday 17h00).
 
MATCH STATISTICS
Brann: Kenneth Udjus - Dahl, Bjarnason, Sigurdsson, Hanstvelt - Solli (Guntveit 88’), Einarsson (Jaiteh 74’), Austin, Vaagan Moen - Huseklepp (Winters 90+3’), Bjornsson.
Deportivo: Aranzubia - Laure, Lopo, Colotto (Filipe 60’), Piscu, Guardado - Sergio, Juan Rodr?­guez - Valer??n, Lafita (Cristian 78’) - Omar Bravo (Bodipo 55’).
Goals: 1-0:  (21’) Bjarnason (penalty), 2-0: (37’) Solli.
Referee: Johan Verbist (BEL). He showed yellow card to Austin (53’), Juan Rodr?­guez (60’), Lopo (69’), Bjornsson (85’) Guardado (87’) and Cristian (90+3’)
Venue: Brann Stadion (10,000)

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