Squad news

PREVIEW: DEPORTIVO – SPORTING GIJON (LIGA, 17h00)

25 Oct 2008
Depor returns to La Liga and also to the Riazor, stadium in which it has achieved the best results of the season Also the place where it has only leaked one goal. This time the Galicians will face the sixth best offensive line in Spain, but also the worst defence of Primera Divisi??n. Lotina will continue with the rotations, because Colotto, Riki, Lafita and Pablo ?lvarez are returning.

STATISTICS: ZERO VICTORIES FOR SPORTING AT THE RIAZOR
Sporting Gij??n returns to Primera Divisi??n after ten years and this is the fifteenth visit of the Asturians to the Riazor playing in this division. And it must be appointed that in the previous fourteen games, Sporting wasn’t able to conquer a victory, they just added four draws. The only two victories that Sporting conquered in La Coru?a occurred when both clubs were playing in Segunda (1936 and 1960).

As any new comer to Primera, the main goal for Sporting is to achieve the permanence. Things started roughly for the Asturians as the team of Manolo Preciado leaked 19 goals in the first four matches: 1-2 Vs Getafe, 3-4 at Sevilla, 1-6 Vs Barcelona and 1-7 at Real Madrid, but the situation improved as the squad only allowed two goals within the last two games and as both confrontations meant a victory for Sporting: 2-0 at Mallorca and 2-1 Vs Osasuna.

But Deportivo is a strong team at the Riazor, Contrary to what happened during the past season, the Galicians haven’t lost yet any of the three home matches in la liga: 2-1 Vs Real Madrid, 0-0 Vs Osasuna and 1-0 Vs Numancia. Streak extended to Europe as Depor has not even leaked a goal after three matches: 1-0 Vs Bnei Sakhnin, 0-0 Vs Hajduk Split and 2-0 Vs Brann Bergen.

A curiosity in the game is the expectation of the fans in Gij??n. Both cities are just separated by 221.5 Km (Of the other 17 cities competing in la liga, Gij??n is the nearest one to La Coru?a). Deportivo and Sporting agreed to exchange a favour for the two confrontations on this season: to sell tickets to the rivals at the low price of 35 euros. Initially Lendoiro was offering 1,000 tickets to Sporting fans, but the number was increased to 3,000 due the demand, while it’s expected that at least 4,000 Asturians will visit La Coru?a for this game.

DEPORTIVO: HOME SWEET HOME
After the setback in Moscow, Lotina’s Depor returns to the place where it has achieved the best results on the season: Riazor. After six official games at home (one in Intertoto, two in UEFA and three in liga), Deportivo has conquered four victories and two draws while it has also achieved five clean sheets in those six encounters. So far, only Real Madrid has been able to beat Aranzubia. This defensive solidity has been the decisive fact for a squad that has ended scoreless in the half of this season matches.

For the game against Sporting, Lotina will continue with the rotations. Riki is returning after been suspended for the UEFA clash in Moscow, while Diego Colotto is coming back after been rested in mid-week and after the birth of his child. ?ngel Lafita (knee) and Pablo ?lvarez (muscular) are also returning after missing the game with CSKA due to injury reasons.

All this four men have big chances to be starters on this game. In the meantime, Cristian and Laure were not included in the list, the Catalan was a starter on Thursday and now he is unfit after the long journey from Moscow. In the other hand, Laure was a substitute in the UEFA match and now he was discarded. Rodolfo Bodipo is the other player that wasn’t called for the match, while Dudu Aouate and Gustavo Mun??a still sidelined.

The return of Colotto means that Z? Castro is going out of the formation, the Argentinean will be the partner of Albert Lopo in the centre of the defence. Filipe Luis will continue at the left-back position and the big doubt is if Manuel Pablo will do the same on the right side. Lotina said before the game in Moscow that the Canarian was not ready to perform for the fully ninety minutes, but in the end he played the entire match. This means the coach could be thinking in giving some rest to Manuel Pablo, meaning that Adri??n L??pez ?Piscu’ has a chance to be a starter.

In midfield Sergio is returning after been a substitute in the UEFA cup. He will take the place of Antonio Tom??s. Julian de Guzman will complete the duo in this sector. Andr?s Guardado will continue on the left wing and Pablo ?lvarez returns to the right side. So far, ?ngel Lafita is the Pichichi at the squad with two goals scored. As it occurred in recent games, the Aragonian will perform as the playmaker of the squad. Other alternative for the function is Joan Verd??, the Catalan suffered an ankle injury on Friday, but he was included in the list. Juan Carlos Valer??n is also in, but Lotina will rest him after El Flaco played the fully ninety minutes against CSKA.

The worrying thing at Depor is the performance of the strikers. So far only Mista has scored a goal in la liga and it occurred in the opening game against Real Madrid, this means the forwards at the squad have remain scoreless during the last 904 minutes in the competition. For the game Lotina has called the three attackers that have played with more frequency: Mista, Omar Bravo and Riki. All appoints the Madrilenian will be the starting choice against Sporting.

It will be a special game for Pablo ?lvarez, that’s because he started his career at Sporting. ?The Shark’ even appointed he won’t celebrate a goal against his former club ?For me it’s special because I am a Sportinguista. Several years have passed since I left home, but since then I have kept the hope of facing Sporting in Primera. I follow them in la liga, I feel like an ex-player, I am even a socio, but now my duty is with Depor. To score a goal would be important, especially if we add the three points. But a lot of Sporting fans will be at the Riazor and it will be a lack of respect for them. So I prefer to not offend anyone.?

List of called players (20): Aranzubia, Fabricio (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Adri??n L??pez ?Piscu’, Colotto, Z? Castro, Filipe (defenders); Sergio, De Guzm??n, Antonio Tom??s, Lafita, Guardado, Juan Rodr?guez, Valer??n, Verd??,  Pablo ?lvarez (midfielders); Mista, Omar Bravo and Riki.

SPORTING: BAD DEFENCE, GOOD OFFENSE
The Asturian club seemed on its way back to Segunda Divisi??n after losing the first five games in la liga, actually Sporting is currently the team that has allowed more goals on the liga season after seven matchdays (21). But the expectations have changed lately as the team coached by Manolo Preciado has won the last two encounters, victories that have pushed the squad outside of the drop zone.

But if defence is one of the weaknesses at Sporting, the strongest point on this season is the attacking zone. Because the Asturians have already scored ten goals during the liga campaign. So far, that’s the sixth best mark at Primera Divisi??n, only surpassed by Real Madrid (20), Barcelona (19), Valencia (17), Sevilla (13) and Atl?tico Madrid (13). And the top goal scorer at the squad is Mate Bilic, a 28-year-old Croatian striker and ex-Hajduk Split member that has taken his tally to four on the liga tournament.

Like the case of Lotina, a characteristic in the lineups of Manolo Preciado is that he likes to make rotations, no matter his team will just start playing two competitions during the next week (Copa against Numancia). And it’s that with the exception of defender Omar Garc?a and midfielder Quique de Lucas, all the players at the squad have already started a game during the season.

So far the players with more participation are left-back Roberto Canella (540 minutes), striker Diego Castro (532), defender Rafael Sastre (522) and midfielder Sergio Matabuena (495). Canella is a 20-year-old player that’s a regular participant in the U-21 national squad of L??pez Caro. He was linked with Depor in the past, actually he was close to come together with Manu, the Asturian keeper currently at Deportivo B.

Despite the fact of the rotations, Preciado has repeated the same line-up within the last three matches. But in La Coru?a the Cantabrian manager will resume his policy as he’s preparing three modifications. The first one is the exit of central defender Borja Enrique ?Neru’ from the formation. He didn’t end the last game with Osasuna due to a muscular problem, his substitute at the Riazor will be Jorge Garc?a

The next change is the introduction in midfield of Miguel Marcos Madera ?Michel’ replacing Sergio Matabuena. The most serious case for Preciado is who should play on the right wing. Luis Mor??n is the starting choice, but he suffered a thigh injury against Osasuna, he returned to train until Thursday and he isn’t at 100%. It was expected that his possible replacement would be Francisco Maldonado, the ex-player of Betis, but he suffered a stress fracture precisely during the training session in which Mor??n was returning, therefore he’s out for one and a half month. Now all appoints the starting right winger will be Pedro Santa Cecilia, player that has just performed for 134 minutes on the season.

Some rumours in Gij??n appoints that Preciado might even give some rest to Canella and Bilic, in that case their position would be taken by Ra??l C??mara and David Barral, but it’s not probable the Cantabrian coach will make so many changes for one single game. Actually, Preciado himself seems to have big doubts about what rotations should be completed, a demonstration of this is the fact he is taking to La Coru?a the 21 available players for the match.

Other well know man at Sporting is Carmelo G??nzalez, Canarian playmaker that was near to come to Depor together with Momo and Rub?n Castro. He scored one of the goals during the last victory over Osasuna. He will be the playmaker of Sporting at the Riazor. A curiosity at the Asturian club is that only two players were born outside of Spain: Croatian Bilic and Dutch Jurgen Colin, this last one is an ex-Ajax defender that has just played twice on this liga campaign. Currently Colin is injured.

One of the players to follow is Diego Castro, a Galician attacker (born in Pontevedra) that already scored a goal on the season. The attacker was interviewed by La Voz de Galicia and he admitted that Depor is a rival fighting for other goals, but that shouldn’t despise Sporting ?They aren’t from our league. In mi opinion, they are one step beyond us due their quality and they shouldn’t have any problem with the permanence, it’s clear we want to be like them. But Depor must be careful with us, not for the good moment we are living, but because they are facing a humble team that likes to work hard, and that means we fight for the victory in every game.?

List of called players (21): Sergio S??nchez, Cuellar (goalkeepers); Neru, Jorge, Sastre, Canella, Gerard Autet, Ra??l C??mara (defenders); Carmelo, Pedro, M?chel, De Lucas, Iv??n Hern??ndez, Luis Mor??n, Diego Camacho, Kike Mateo, Matabuena (midfielders); Bilic, Omar, Diego Castro and Barral (strikers).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Deportivo: Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo or Piscu, Colotto, Lopo, Filipe – Sergio, De Guzm??n – Pablo ?lvarez, Lafita, Guardado – Riki.
Sporting: Cuellar - Sastre, Gerard Autet, Jorge, Canella – Michel, Diego Camacho - Pedro, Carmelo, Diego Castro - Bilic.
Referee: Teixeira Vitienes
Kick-off: 17h00 (Riazor)
Record Vs Sporting: 15 wins for Depor, 8 draws, 5 wins for Sporting (Primera)
Record at the Riazor: 10 wins for Depor, 4 draws, 0 wins for Sporting (Primera)

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