Competition news

PREVIEW: OSASUNA VS DEPORTIVO (LIGA, 20h00)

23 Sep 2008
Deportivo visits Pamplona with the intention of adding more points after dropping two in the game against RCD Mallorca. Lotina still has to decide if Juan Rodr?guez should perform against the Navarrans. The clear thing is that Sergio and Mista return while the ban over Bravo wasn’t lifted. In Osasuna Ziganda faces the game with doubts in defence, but with all his available men in attack.

STATISTICS: GOOD NUMBERS AT REYNO DE NAVARRA
Deportivo has achieved five wins during its fourteen visits to Pamplona playing for Primera Divisi??n, and four of those victories have came within the last seven seasons, including the 1-0 win of the past liga campaign, victory that occurred during the most brilliant period of Depor on the past season as it was the fourth straight win achieved in la liga, number that was later extended to five with the 2-0 win over Barcelona.

But the setbacks in Pamplona have been also important, like the 2-3 of the season 2003/2004, occasion in which Depor lost its unbeatable condition at matchday five leaking three goals in the first twenty five minutes. Or the humiliation suffered on the season 2006/2007, occasion in which Depor was crushed with a 1-4 score and with two goals from Roberto Soldado.

Currently, Depor is in mid-table with four points in three matches, while Osasuna is near the drop zone with one two draws, therefore the Navarrans still searching for their first victory on the season. A curiosity is that the referee for the game, Rafael Ram?rez Dom?nguez, is the same one that whistled in the 1-0 win of Depor during the past season. In that occasion he was criticised by Osasuna’s fans as he whistled an inexistent penalty that meant Sergio’s lonely goal.

DEPORTIVO: TRUSTING IN THE SYSTEM
Coach Lotina is convinced that the 4-2-3-1 is the best system that suits to Deportivo at the present moment, that’s why he will only make a few changes compared to the team that drew with RCD Mallorca at the Riazor. The first change is the reappearance of Mista in the place of after the competition committee in la liga decided to keep the suspension over the ex-Chivas attacker. The intention of Lotina was to keep him in the starting formation after his good job against the Majorcans, that’s why Bravo traveled to Pamplona. But now the place will be for Mista, the ex-Valencia is returning after missing the last two games due to flu. However, Deportivo has appealed the decision tough the most probable thing is that the suspension will stay.

The big doubt for Lotina is if Juan Rodr?guez must play the game, the coach has praised his contribution in the aerial game, but it’s not clear if the Basque manager considers that this is going to be an ?aerial battle’. If he does it, the alternative is to put the Andalusian midfielder in a triple pivote figure in midfield, situation that would leave Joan Verd?? sited on the bench. The Catalan has been also praised by the media due to his performance against Real Madrid and Mallorca.

A modification that’s clear is the return of Sergio to midfield replacing Antonio Tom??s. The Cantabrian didn’t have a good game against Mallorca and Lotina still searching for the right choice. The sector will be completed with Julian De Guzm??n, the Canadian is fulfilling 80 games in Primera Divisi??n. On the wings Lotina is happy with Pablo ?lvarez and Andr?s Guardado, reason why they will repeat their participation.

What won’t change is the defensive sector, Depor has only leaked two goals in la liga and Lotina seems now happy with a line of four defenders. For the game he will keep Dani Aranzubia on the goal while Laure will cover the right-back position, Filipe Luis the left side and the duo in the centre will continue to be conformed by Z?-Castro and Albert Lopo.

Mista, striker that's returning to a list of called players, was saying that he’s not worried for the lack of goals within the last three official games ?If the team plays as we did it against Mallorca, in the end the goals will come, because when you create six or seven occasions during one single game, with four or five of them being very clear, it’s difficult you would continue to miss the goal. Luck hasn’t been at our side, but we could easily win that game with a 2-0 score.?

Andr?s Guardado also had a few words before the game, he was appointing that Depor must continue playing as the squad did against RCD Mallorca ?We are all conscious that the face the team must show is the one we saw against Mallorca, no matter what’s the result. We can miss the goals and the passes, but that should always be our attitude. In this way the victory will be more near than the defeat.?

The casualties of Riki and Lafita are joined by the cases of Manuel Pablo, Antonio Barrag??n and Pablo Amo, while Aouate and Mun??a weren’t called for tactical reasons. The status of the injured players can be checked in RCDLC.com injury room. Colotto and Cristian were included in the list, it’s expected that one of them will stay out for the final list of 18.

List of called players (19): Aranzubia, Fabricio (goalkeepers); Laure, Adri??n L??pez ?Piscu’, Lopo, Ze Castro, Colotto, Filipe (defenders); De Guzm??n, Antonio Tom??s, Sergio, Juan Rodr?guez, Verd??, Valer??n, Cristian, Pablo ?lvarez, Guardado (midfielders); Mista and Bodipo (strikers).

OSASUNA: DOUBTS IN DEFENCE
Coach Ziganda hasn’t decided yet the lineup for the game, mainly for the injury cases at the Navarran squad. Captain C?sar Cruchaga suffered an ankle sprain on Tuesday and will probably miss the game. This last-minute casualty is joined by the previous cases of Santi Ezquerro (tight) and Xavier Margairaz (knee). Both discarded for the match with Depor. Josetxo is also doubtful due to tonsillitis. To make things worse C?sar Azpilicueta was sent off against Valencia and he’s suspended for the game.

All this cases are mainly affecting the defensive formation of Ziganda. The Basque coach only has a few choices for the game. At least Javier Fla?o is now fit to play alter surpassing a knee injury, a problem that has kept him out of action since May. With Azpilcueta out, the right-back position will be precisely for Javier Fla?o, his twin brother Miguel will play alongside Portuguese Roversio on the centre and Monreal will cover the left sector. Francisco Pu?al and Javad Nekounam will probable cover the pivote functions.

Javier Fla?o talked before the game and assured that’s willing to play the game ?I have been waiting for a chance since a while ago, I want to feel like part of the team. In a personal sense I’m willing to play, besides to do it in front of our fans. I’m hoping everything will be fine.?

Where Osasuna doesn’t have problems is in attack, with the exception of Ezquerro, Ziganda has all his offensive players available for the game. The coach seems to be planning two modifications, firstly the introduction of Iran Masoud Shojaei in the playmaking function after impressing during the 33 minutes he played in Mestalla, therefore Hungarian Krisztian Vadocz will be rested. The other modification is the appearance of ex-Real Madrid Juanfran replacing Esparza on the right wing. What will stay the same is the presence of Czech international Jaroslav Plasil on the left and Javier Portillo up front.

Portillo has been the starter at Osasuna’s scheme during the present season. He has won the place against ex-Depor Walter Pandiani and Portuguese Eduardo Fern??ndez ?Dady’. So far the ex-Real Madrid attacker has scored one of the two goals conquered by Osasuna on the season.

List of called players: Not released.

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Osasuna: Ricardo - Javier Fla?o, Roversio, Miguel Fla?o, Monreal - Pu?al, Nekounam - Juanfran, Masoud, Plasil - Portillo.
Deportivo: Aranzubia – Laure, Lopo, Z? Castro, Filipe – Sergio, De Guzm??n – Pablo ?lvarez, Verd??, Guardado – Mista.
Referee: Ram?rez Dom?nguez.
Kick-off: 20h00 (Reyno de Navarra)
Record Vs Osasuna: 14 wins for Depor, 6 draws, 8 wins for Osasuna (Primera)
Record in Pamplona: 5 wins for Depor, 4 draws, 5 wins for Osasuna (Primera)

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