Squad news


18 Oct 2008
Deportivo will try to keep its positive record at El Sardinero. For it Lotina is trusting in a 4-2-3-1 formation and with the return of Pablo Alvarez though Guardado will be rested. In Racing, coach L??pez Mu?iz is recovering Tchit? and Munitis, but it seems that both will start on the bench. The Cantabrians search their first home victory of the season.

Apart from the Riazor, El Sardinero has been the most pleasant stadium for Deportivo during the last decade. And it’s that the Galician squad hasn’t lost there within the last eleven matches played there. The last defeat in Santander occurred back on the season 1995/1996 as Nando Yosu’s squad achieved a 2-1 win over John Benjamin Toshack’s Deportivo.

Since that day, Depor has conquered six victories and five draws at El Sardinero. The last victory occurred on the past season with a hat-trick of Xisco (3-1), encounter that’s remembered as one of the best matches of Lotina’s squad in that liga campaign. El Sardinero also shares with El Madrigal the fact of being the second stadium in which Depor has conquered more goals since the year 1999 (14), the first place in this list is the Camp Nou (18).

The past liga season was the best one for Racing as the Cantabrian side achieved for the first time a place in the UEFA Cup, but things have started slowly this season, because Racing has only added five points and they just achieved their first win until the past matchday (0-1 at Osasuna with a last-minute goal of Varela). But Deportivo hasn’t been able to achieve a victory away from home during this liga season, Lotina’s squad has already suffered two defeats (0-1 at Villarreal and 2-4 at Valencia) while the other match ended in a goalless draw (0-0 with Osasuna). Depor’s last liga win away from home occurred precisely in Pamplona, it took place during the past liga season (April) as the Galicians defeated Osasuna with a penalty goal of Sergio (1-0).

Pablo ?lvarez returns to the lineup after he just played 16 minutes in the past game against Numancia due to a hamstring strain. The ?Shark’ will cover the right wing and will face the team where he played loaned during the past season. But Andr?s Guardado was not called for the game due to a small knee sprain and since he still struggling from jet lag after traveling from Mexico. Guardado will be reserved for the UEFA clash with CSKA Moscow on Thursday.

Therefore ?ngel Lafita will cover the left wing. The Aragonian performed as the playmaker of the formation during the last liga encounter with Numancia, and now he returns to the place where he feels more comfortable. It must be appointed that El Sardinero is a special stadium for Lafita, because it was there where he scored his first goal in Primera Divisi??n, it was for the season 2006/2007, campaign in which he was playing for Real Zaragoza (December 10, 2006. 2-0 win for Los Ma?os).

There are doubts in the other two attacking positions, starting with who will be the playmaker in the 4-2-3-1 formation that Lotina will present. With Lafita moving on to the left, all appoints that it will be Joan Verd??, the Catalan has been a starter in three of the past six liga matches. The other alternative is a more defensive one: Juan Rodr?guez. The Andalusian has played in the six liga games of the season, and in four opportunities he performed for the fully ninety minutes.

For the striking zone, Lotina has to decide between two choices: Mista and Riki. The ex-Valencia scored in the opening game with Real Madrid, but after that opportunity, he didn’t have too many chances to score. The option of Riki seems to be the most interesting one since the Madrilenian is suspended for the game against CSKA in UEFA. Omar Bravo was called for the match, but Lotina will keep him on the bench after having been on international duty with Mexico during the past week.

In midfield Sergio and Julian de Guzman will perform as the two pivotes . The Canadian missed the World Cup qualifying games due to a groin strain but now he’s fully recovered. What won’t change is the defensive line. Lotina will keep playing with Manuel Pablo at the right-back position, Filipe Luis covering the left side and the couple Diego Colotto-Albert Lopo in the centre. 

Goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia talked about the expectations of Racing and Deportivo, two clubs that are also playing a European competition ?Racing is coming after making an important season, it’s a very complete squad, also involved in the UEFA. Although all the points are important, the relevance of this game is bigger, because it’s a team that supposedly will be in the same places as us.? 

Finally, the Rioja-born keeper talked about the calendar of Deportivo within the next months ?From here to Christmas, we will have a game every three days and these encounters will decide the destiny of the team. It’s important to be fine in the three competitions, and to not lose the track in order to reach Christmas in a good position in liga and also alive in Copa and UEFA.?

Meanwhile, captain Manuel Pablo was talking about the comeback of Munitis, a player that he knows really well ?He is a very insisting player, very hard to stop in attack. He always tries all the options. We can’t give the ball to them, especially to him. I just hope Munitis will save the goals for another game. He’s a fantastic person and it’s impossible to have a bad relationship with him. I consider him as my friend.?

Pablo Amo (Achilles) is now the only player who still out for injury reasons, while Taborda and Barrag??n are the options not inscribed in la liga. Aouate and Mun??a are still sidelined. Finally, Rodolfo Bodipo, Cristian and Laure weren’t called for the game, the Guinean striker was also doubtful due to muscular problem. 

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

Things haven’t started well for the Cantabrian club in la liga, it passed the first round in UEFA against Finnish team Honka Espoo, but in the local competition the squad just clinched its first win during the past matchday (0-1 at Osasuna) while in the first five games it only added two points. Besides, Racing has only won two of the last eight home matches in liga: 1-3 Vs Deportivo (matchday 31, 07/08), 0-2 Vs Real Madrid (matchday 33, 07/08), 3-2 Vs Murcia (matchday 35, 07/08), 0-3 Vs Sevilla (matchday 36, 07/08), 1-0 Vs Osasuna (matchday 38, 07/08), 1-1 Sevilla (matchday 01, 08/09) , 0-2 Real Madrid (matchday 03, 08/09) and 1-2 Mallorca (matchday 05, 08/09).

Other problem is that new coach Juan Ram??n L??pez Mu?iz is under heavy pressure after been severely criticised by the fans and the media due to the poor game practiced by the team, actually everybody is convinced that the win over Osasuna was a ?lucky thing’ after scoring the decisive goal in the last minute. The main problem on this situation is that this criticism seems to be reaching the same players, after the second-leg game in UEFA against Honka Espoo, it was reported that midfielder Gonzalo Colsa had a dispute with the coach, reason why he was sidelined for the trip to Pamplona.

The player asked for apologies in front of reporters, but the rumours have continued to flow out, comments that appoints that important players like Pedro Munitis are no longer supporting the work of the coach. To make things worse, the Cantabrians will not be able to sign Nicola Zigic, because la liga denied the removal of Luis Fern??ndez from Racing’s squad list. The Cantabrian club was arguing the defender is suffering injuries on both knees and that he will be out of action for at least five months, reason why they requested his exit and the inscription of Zigic, player with whom they already had an agreement. But La Liga authorities consider the player might be fit before the period of five months and rejected the petition. Now the signing is no longer possible and the arrival of Zigic will have to wait until the winter window.  

At least Mu?iz is recovering almost all his injured players, because Pedro Munitis (knee), Juanjo (head blow), Mohamed Tchit? (sterno-clavicular sprain) and Iv??n Marcano (ankle sprain) are now fit to play. Munitis and Tchit? were the main casualties within the last weeks and their return means a boost for the Cantabrians. The-ex Depor winger believes that now is when Racing has to start adding positive results ?Now is when the real liga starts for Racing, we already passed the games against the giants (Barcelona and Real Madrid). The victory over Osasuna has taken away the pressure from us. The calendar left us with a lot of tension, but the points at Pamplona came at the right moment and now we are more relaxed.?
About Tchit?, the striker will try to break a drought of seven months without scoring, his last goal was on the past season during a match with Valencia (matchday 32). About this problem, the Burundi/Belgium attacker commented ?The important thing is not to see me scoring, neither to see any specific team mate doing it,  the important thing is to see the team winning the match, and I think that we will do it against Deportivo.?

But it seems that both, Tchit? and Munitis, will not start the game despite been working normally with the team during the week.  It’s expected that coach Mu?iz will replace the successful 4-1-4-1 used against Osasuna for his traditional 4-4-2. Gonzalo Colsa will return after his fight with the coach and will play alongside French Mehdi Lacen in midfield. Oscar Serrano will cover the left wing and Juan Valera will continue replacing Munitis on the right, Valera was the player that scored the winning goal over Osasuna. The couple up front should be Juan Jos? Exp??sito ?Juanjo’ and Jonathan Pereira, this last one is a Vigo-born attacker linked with Depor during the summer. In defense Mu?iz will keep playing with Iv??n Marcano at the left-back position, Pinillos on the right and the couple Ezequiel Garay-C?sar Navas on the centre.

The captain of the squad and ex-former player of Deportivo, Pablo Pinillos, talked before the game during an interview with newspaper El Ideal Gallego. He pointed to the keys in order to achieve a positive result against Depor ?We must be more serious in defense compared to the past year and also to previous occasions, they score a lot of goals through set pieces and we must be alert. We expect big things from this game and it’s time to achieve the first home win of the season. We know it won’t be easy, because Depor achieves good results at our stadium.?

Oriol Lozano (muscle rupture), Ze Antonio (back) and Luis Fern??ndez (knee) are the players discarded for injury reasons, while defenders Christian Fern??ndez and Ze Antonio, midfielder Dami??n Ismodes and attacker Jorge Goncalves weren’t called for technical reasons.

List of called players (18): To?o, Coltorti (goalkeepers); Pinillos, Garay, C?sar Navas, Morat??n, Marcano (defenders); Lacen, Colsa, Sepsi, Edu Bedia, Oscar Serrano, Luccin, Juan Valera, Munitis (midfielders); Jonathan Pereira, Tchite and Juanjo (strikers).

Racing: To?o - Pinillos, C?sar Navas, Garay, Marcano - Valera, Lacen, Colsa, Serrano – Juanjo, Pereira.
 Deportivo: Aranzub?a - Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Colotto, Filipe Luis - Sergio, De Guzm??n - Pablo ?lvarez, Verd??, Lafita – Riki.
Referee: Paradas Romero.
Kick-off: 17h00 (El Sardinero)
Record Vs Racing: 17wins for Depor, 8 draws, 13 wins for Racing (Primera).
Record at El Sardinero: 8 wins for Depor, 6 draws, 5 wins for Racing (Primera).

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