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REVIEW: DEPORTIVO 2 (3) – SK BRANN BERGEN 0 (2) (UEFA)

02 Oct 2008
Extraordinary performance of a Deportivo that battled against a shy Brann and also against the referee. Because the Galicians played for ninety minutes with ten men on the pitch after Riki was sent off early in the first half. Colotto emerged as one of the heroes as he scored the two goals that took the game to extra-times and then to the penalty shoot-out, instance in which Aranzubia was the hero stopping three penalties.

BEFORE THE GAME
Lotina thought really carefully the lineup for the game, so much that he tested several alternatives between Tuesday and Wednesday, the last change he made was to put Antonio Tom??s alongside Sergio in midfield just when everybody was expecting for Verd??. In defence Colotto got his second chance as he took the place of Z?© Castro, while in attack the Basque manager trusted in Omar Bravo for the striker position and in Riki for the left wing. As it was expected Valer??n appeared as the playmaker on the formation and Lafita as the right winger. Since the list of called players was composed by 19 men, one player was left out of the bench, and it was Cristian who stayed out.

In Brann, defender ?“lafur Orn Bjarnason was recovered from his ankle sprain and he started in the centre of the defence. In attack the selected couple was Huseklepp-Bjornsson while the main surprise was that captain Eirik Bakke was sited on the bench. His place in midfield was taken by Gylfi Einarsson. The stadium was not full (12,000 spectators) despite the call made by the players and by a big part of the pe?±as. The temperature was cold and it stopped raining just minutes before the kick-off.

FIRST HALF
The Galicians knew they needed a big score in order to pass the round, therefore they started to push since the beginning. The first approximation of the home team was a cross of Riki from the left wing, but his effort went to the hands of keeper Kenneth Udjus (2’). Two minutes later Valer??n started to appear as a wonderful pass from the Canarian almost reached Omar Bravo, but the visitors cleared the danger.

The game was settled since the kick-off, Depor had the initiative while Brann was waiting in its area for a defining counterattack and trusting in Huseklepp’s velocity. At minute 5 the visitors had their first chance with a long ball to Bjornsson, but Aranzubia arrived first and contained the ball. In the next play Depor wasted a good occasion after a pass of Riki to Lafita, the Aragonian entered to the box but he couldn’t drill the ball between Brann’s defensive line.

Depor’s next chance came with a free-kick at the right side, Valer??n didn’t send the cross to the box, instead he searched for Lafita at the entrance of the penalty area. The final shot of the ex-Zaragoza winger went over the crossbar (14’). The Norwegians survived the first fifteen minutes, something considered as very important in order to achieve the pass to the group stage, but the true is that its defensive line seemed pretty weak each time the Galicians approached the area.

And Deportivo conquered the important first goal at minute 18, curiously all started with a counterattack for the Galicians. Brann took a corner-kick and Depor replied with a fast play that ended with a corner favorable to the locals, Sergio took the shot and his cross was headed by Diego Colotto who scored the goal tough he was pulled by a rival inside the box. It was a good way to correct the Argentinean’s error in the penalty of the first-leg.

It seemed that Brann was at the mercy of Depor, but then Czech referee Pavel Kralovec appeared to complicate the things for the Galicians, because he sent off Riki with two yellow cards shown in a matter of two minutes.  First the Madrilenian was cautioned for not following the directions of the referee (27’), two minutes later he was sent off after scoring a goal with the hand tough it seemed he lost the balance when he jumped for the ball. Kralovec shouldn’t be criticised for this call, however he allowed the violence from the visitors during the second half, meaning he wasn’t equal judging the actions from both sides.

Now Lotina’s team was forced to search for two more goals with only ten men on the pitch, Riazor claimed against Pavel Kralovec and the match reached a pause that was benefiting Brann. The following opportunity for the locals arrived until minute 38 after Lopo headed out a cross from Sergio. Two minutes later Omar Bravo scored a goal that was invalidated for an offside. Since the visitors weren’t attacking, Filipe started to perform more as a left winger and he was the one responsible of the crosses from that sector.

The last chance of the first half was for Brann, actually it was its first clear one on the game. A corner kick of Bjarnason almost complicated Aranzubia, but luckily the play didn’t end in goal. The impulse of Depor within the first half an hour was lost after Riki was sent off, the players were more busy discussing with the referee, while the fans were protesting all the actions of Pavel Kralovec, something that was just helping Brann in the task of surviving the Riazor. The key in these 45 minutes was that Brann was doing nothing in midfield, Austin, Moen and Einarsson were disappeared, reason why Antonio Tom??s and Sergio were having a pleasant night.
 
SECOND HALF
Coach Mons Ivar Mjelde knew he needed more physical presence in midfield, therefore he sent Eirik Bakke to the pitch replacing Gylfi Einarsson, curiously the captain of the Norwegians was booked just seconds later after a tough tackle in midfield. Things didn’t change in the second part, Deportivo continued having the initiative while Brann was patiently holding at the back zone.

In the meantime, the public continued protesting the work of Pavel Kralovec, the Riazor claimed for penalty in two different actions, first for a foul over Lafita (50’) and then for a cross of Filipe that hit the hand of a defender (52’), but the Czech referee didn’t whistle anything.  At minute 56 Lotina ordered the first modification as Mista replaced Omar Bravo in attack.

Then the pressure of the Galicians continued over a Brann that was locked up in its penalty area. At minute 56 a free-kick of Lafita was deflected to corner-kick, in the next play Colotto was near to double the advantage for Depor but his shot hit a defender, in this play a new penalty was reclaimed as the ball hit again the hand of a Brann’s defender, but no call was made. And the Norwegians had the chance they were looking for with a counterattack as Bjornsson shot on target after a fast play, but Aranzubia saved Depor.

The game earned intensity with every approximation from Depor, at minute 60 Mista was close to score, but he was offside when he received the pass of Lafita. Then Lotina decided to put Guardado over the grass, the Mexican replaced Valer??n. It wasn’t the nigh for El Mago who barely appeared throughout the match. Guardado was now basing his game on the right wing with Lafita attacking by the right. The next chance for Depor was a header of Mista that went close to the post.

Karadas entered for Bjornsson as Brann was now more close to the qualification thanks to its defensive tactic, but Depor pushed forward as Guardado was close to score with a direct free-kick that went to a corner, but Udjus made a brilliant save sending the ball to a corner, in the next play Lopo ended bleeding from the mouth after a collision with a rival. Then Lotina made his last modification sending Verd?? for Antonio Tom??s, and the Catalan participated in the next play to help Depor to conquer the needed second goal.

And it was again Diego Colotto the one that appeared in the corner-kick, this time heading the cross of Filipe after Brann's defence deflected the corner of Verd??. The Argentinean headed the cross in the far post and defeated Udjus who couldn't react due the heavy traffic in the zone. Wit the aggregate score now equalised, Deportivo released the pressure as it started to search for the deciding goal with more calmness, meanwhile Brann continued locked in its area. Lafita (84’) and Verd?? (87’) had attempts to score but they missed their occasions. The second chance for the visitors in the second half was a long ball that Aranzubia almost miss. The final opportunity was for Mista after a  set-piece strategy, but the ex-Valencia missed the pass from Sergio by inches.

EXTRA TIMES
Deportivo continued dominating the ball, but this time the attacks were more paused, mainly because players like Filipe and Lafita were exhausted after have been running throughout the match. The situation gave more alternatives to Brann who now started to enjoy of more chances, its biggest one came at minute 97 with a fortunate play for Aranzubia. It was a deadly cross of Bakke that passed over the Basque keeper, then it hit the far post and the rebound  hit the keeper before going to corner-kick (97’). The luck was at the side of the home team.

The Galicians replied with a cross of Guardado searching for Mista, but the striker was offside (101’), two minutes later Guardado took a free-kick in a dangerous zone, but his cross to the box didn’t find a receiver. The second extra time started with a new disallowed goal for Depor, the fourth in the night, this time because Mista was offside. The exciting game saw in the regular ninety minutes turned into boredom during the extra-times, mainly because both sides were tired and also because the teams were not giving anything for free, Depor was more cautious and Brann continued disconnected in attack. The final chance for the Galicians came at minute 118 with a mid-distance shot of Lafita, effort that was easily contained by Udjus. Then the match reached the penalty shoot-out.

PENALTY SHOOT-OUT
And if the hero in the normal time was Diego Colotto, this time it was Daniel Aranzubia  who leaded Deportivo with three key saves during the penalty shoot-out. He stopped the attempts of Petter Vaagan Moen, Eirik Bakke and the final one of Erlend Hanstveit. At Depor only Mista failed as Sergio, Guardado and Verd?? capitalised their chances.

AFTER THE GAME
Suffered victory for a Deportivo that had to play for 90 minutes with ten men on the pitch. Brann was a scared team that barely gave problems to Lotina’s men, but the Galicians had to make a great effort in order to pass the eliminatory and reach the group stage, the draw for this round will take place on the next Tuesday. The work of referee Pavel Kralovec was protested by the fans and by Depor’s players, this because he sent off Riki too early in the game and since he disallowed four goals for the home team, however it must be appointed the referee was right in those decisions and that Riki himself is the one to blame for his own exit.

But this explanation doesn’t saves the Czech referee, because he should left Brann with ten men after a couple of hard tackles over Filipe, Guardado and Lafita, besides he didn’t have the courage to call three clear penalties inside of Brann’s area, something that would decided the game earlier. Now Deportivo waits for Numancia in la liga, match that should help to recover the course in the local competition (Sunday 17h00, CET).

MATCH STATISTICS
Deportivo: Aranzubia - Piscu, Colotto, Lopo, Filipe - Sergio, Antonio Tom??s (Verd?? 75’) – Lafita, Valer??n (Guardado 62’), Riki – Omar Bravo (Mista 55’).
Brann: Udjus - Dahl, Bjarnason, Sigurdsson, Hanstveit - Solli, Austin, Einarsson (Bakke 46’), Moen – Huseklepp (Saevarsson 81’), Bjornsson (Karadas 70’).
Goals: 1-0: (18’) Colotto, 2-0: (76’) Colotto.
Penalty shoot-out: 0-1: Bjarnason,  1-1: Sergio, 1-1: Moen missed, 1-1: Mista missed, 1-1: Bakke missed, 2-1: Guardado, 2-2: Austin, 3-2: Verd??, 3-2: Hanstveit missed.
Referee: Pavel Kralovec (CZE).  He showed yellow card to Solli (32’), Bjornsson (68’), Udjus (71’), Saevarsson (104’), Moen (108’) and Mista (109’). Riki was sent off (29’)
Venue: Riazor (12,000).

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