Squad news

REVIEW: DEPORTIVO 2 – MALAGA CF 0 (LIGA)

07 Dec 2008
Victory No. 500 for Deportivo in la liga, result that certifies the good moment for Lotina’s squad on the season. It wasn’t an easy match for Depor though it faced a ?soft’ Malaga that only gave troubles at the beginning of the second half. In the end two errors committed by the rival allowed Deportivo to score two goals within five minutes and confirm its European dream.

BEFORE THE GAME
Coach Miguel Angel Lotina decided to play with Julian De Guzman in midfield leaving Sergio sited on the bench. The rest was the expected squad with Guardado, Lafita and Verd?? playing behind Mista in attack. At Malaga, coach Tapia trusted in Albert Luque and Baha for the goals. The ex-Depor was returning to the Riazor after his experience in England and The Netherlands. 

FIRST HALF
Lotina said before the game that his biggest fear was the tireness at his squad and also the lack of sparkle, and that’s exactly what affected Deportivo throughout the match, because the Galician team had big problems trying to find the goal of Gotilia. It missed the ideas to be constantly attacking and from time to time, it vanished from the game. However, and luckily for Depor, it faced one of the softest version of Malaga on the season, at least during the first half and big part of the second.

That was because the visitors knew how to defend and hold the ball in midfield, but after that they were playing with long balls searching for Luque and Baha, something that just made easier the life of Depor’s defenders. Malaga dominated the first five minutes, the Andalusian team was putting a lot of pressure up front and Depor was unable to find the ball and attack the opposite goal.

The first approximation of Deportivo came at minute 4, it was a free-kick taken by Verd?? after a foul of Eliseu over Filipe. In the end the ball was cleared by Gotilia to corner. With the pass of the minutes, Malaga released its pressure and that allowed Depor to take full control of the game. Between minutes 10 and 35, the Galicians had the ball and some occasions to score, though they never seemed like taking the initiative in the encounter.

At the 10th minute, Manuel Pablo sent a cross from the right, the ball reached Verd?? at the edge of the area and the ex-Barcelona sent a volley that almost surprise Gotilia, in the end the ball went out close to the top left-corner of the keeper. Two minutes later Mista stole a ball and entered to the area by the right side, he sent a drilling cross that Lafita found inside the box, but his shot was blocked by a defender.

As it was appointed before, Malaga was speculating with long balls and counterattacks, one of its chances came at minute 20. Verd?? took a free-kick and in the counterattack, Duda didn’t find a receiver for his high cross. It seemed that Depor was increasing its presence on the pitch with the pass of time, but the true is that the Galician side never grown enough to deserve a goal. That’s how Malaga started to take command of the action since minute 35, though always without creating any clear chance against Aranzubia.

The most frenetic moment of the first part was the last minute, because both sides had a clear chance to open the scoresheet. First it was Mista after the ex-Valencia found a cross of Lafita coming form the right. Mista sent a powerful shot that passed near to the top-left corner of Gotilia (44’). In the next play, and after the kick of Gotilia, Apo?o sent a volley to the box that Albert Luque almost transform into the first goal in the game. He came from behind Z? Castro to touch the ball against an Aranzubia that came out too late, the shot of the Catalan went close to the left post.

It was a boring first half in which both sides were unable to take control of the actions, Depor had the chance to do it against a shy Malaga that was too much passive, but Lotina’s side couldn’t or didn’t want to be the protagonist of the actions. In the individual performance, De Guzm??n shined with his recuperations in midfield, while Lafita and Guardado were constantly switching their positions and trying to create danger on both sides. Verd?? was also active with his passes, especially in the first minutes.

SECOND HALF
The start of the second part was a complete different game, because both sides were really close to the goal. And the two main words at everybody’s mouth were: corner-kicks and volleys. And it's that each side took five corners within the first fifteen minutes, occasions in which they were close to break the tie, while both teams tried to surprise the rival’s keeper with volleys  that almost end in goal (five throughout the game).

After halftime, Lotina replaced Mista with Omar Bravo, Mista appeared in a couple of actions in the first part, but in the rest he passed unnoticed, reason why he was whistled at the end of the first half.  But who took the initiative since the kick-off was Malaga, the Andalusians dominated the first ten minutes and were close to score in three occasions.  First with Eliseu who sent a volley from outside the area, but Aranzubia cleared the ball over the bar (47’).

Then Malaga took a series of dangerous corner-kicks that almost end in goal. In one of them Duda tried to surprise Aranzubia with a new volley from outside the area, but the Basque keeper made a new and important save (53’). In the following corner-kick Baha didn’t find the ball in the area after a series of rebounds and Filipe cleared the danger.

It seemed the visitors were starting the second part willing to take the three points, but it was just a mirage, because that was all the gunpowder showed by Malaga in the game. After that the roles were switched and now it was Depor who had Malaga against the ropes with a series of corner-kicks that almost end in goal. After two corners from the left, Verd?? took the third on the right and Z? Castro headed the ball jumping near to the penalty spot, the ball was going to the bottom-left corner, but Gotilia made a great save (56’).

In the next corner-kick, Verd?? send a new cross and the ball was found by Juan Rodr?guez on the box, this time it hit the crossbar and later Omar Bravo wasn’t able to connect with it when he was two meters away from the goal line, the ball was cleared by a defender, again to a corner. The fifth corner-kick ended with a wide shot of Lopo.

Then Lotina decided to replace Guardado and Riki entered for him. With the changes Lotina kept the 4-2-3-1, though now Lafita moved his position to the left and Riki took the right wing. Omar Bravo was alone up front and Verd?? continued to be the playmaker. The first fifteen minutes were vibrant, totally different to the boredom of the first part.

And then the game changed again, because Malaga returned to be the shy team of the first part, a squad that only depended on long passes searching for Luque or Baha. Depor’s defensive zone recovered the control and this time the attacking zone found the goals, though with the collaboration of the rivals. All started at minute 67 with a new volley of Verd?? (his second attempt on the game), the ball almost surprise Gotilia though the ball went over the crossbar.

In the next approximation Depor found the first goal, it was during a foul over Verd?? that ended with a free-kick near to the area. The set-piece was planned between Joan Verd?? and Angel Lafita, the Catalan made a small touch to the ball and the Aragonian sent a drilling shot that passed under the barrier and into the right-bottom corner of I?aki Gotilia, the Portugalete-born keeper reached  the ball and initially contained the shot, but then the ball slipped under his body and went to the back of the net. It is the fifth goal of Lafita on the season, the ex-Zaragoza continues to be the Pichichi of the squad.

Malaga felt the hit and never knew how to respond, one minute after the goal Lafita tested from mid-distance after a long pass of Aranzubia, this time Gotilia contained the danger. And in the next play, a new error of a Malaga’s player would cost a new goal to his team. After receiving a pass from Jes??s G??mez, central defender Weligton lost the ball against Omar Bravo, the Brazilian could only hold the Mexican and caused a clear penalty that referee Clos G??mez whistled without any doubt. The same Omar Bravo came to score the goal with a powerful shot to the centre of the goal. It’s the first goal of the ex-Chivas forward at Primera Divisi??n and his second wearing Depor’s shirt.

Tapia tried to react with the double entry of Fernando and Nacho, but the two goals in five minutes killed the game, Malaga was defeated and during the last twenty minutes, it never represented a real danger to Deportivo’s defensive zone, while the advantage in the scoresheet gave confidence to the local attackers as they dominated the game in midfield. It seemed that Deportivo would be able to score more goals, but Lotina’s players never pressed the accelerator and preferred to pass the time having the ball and moving it over the grass.

For the final ten minutes Lotina decided to rest Verd?? who was replaced by Sergio. The only two clear chances within the final fifteen minutes were for Depor. First with Riki who sent a drilling shot contained by Gotilia (78’), later with Sergio who sent a new volley (the fifth attempt made in the game), this time the ball hit the crossbar when Gotilia was already defeated. The game ended with Riki sending a long distance shot that didn’t reach the goal since it hit a defender (90+2’).

AFTER THE GAME
It was a changing match, things were boring in the first half as neither of the two teams wanted to have the initiative, but it was a ?rain’ of scoring opportunities at the start of the second part, then Depor found two goals in five minutes thanks to the errors of the rival, and then the game switched again and returned to the initial point as Depor had the control over the game and as Malaga surrender to the result. In this way Depor conquered its victory No. 500 in la liga. De Guzm??n shined in the game with his great performance in midfield, but the true is that the main thing to emphasise is the collective effort made by the players, something remarkable taking in mind that Deportivo has played four games within the last two weeks.

This victory allows Depor to continue alongside the leaders at Primera Divisi??n. It is true that Atletico and Sevilla won their games and that Deportivo continues to be 7th in the table, but the good news is that the combination of results are creating a ?hole’ of four points with 8th place Valladolid and an important difference of eleven points with the relegation zone. But the most impressive thing is that Deportivo is now just three points behind the Champions League zone, 4th place now represented by Sevilla. Deportivo will now rest during the week and will return into action until the next Sunday, it’s the visit to Real Valladolid (17h00 at the Jos? Zorrilla), exactly the persecutor of Lotina’s side in the table.

MATCH STATISTICS
Deportivo: Aranzubia - Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Z? Castro, Filipe Luis - Juan Rodr?guez, De Guzm??n - Lafita, Verd?? (Sergio 82’), Guardado (Riki 57’) - Mista (Omar Bravo 46’).
M??laga: Gotilia - G??mez, Cuadrado, Weligton, Calleja - Miguel ?ngel (Nacho 70’), Apo?o - Eliseu (Pablo Barro 86’), Luque, Duda - Baha (Fernando 70’).
Goals: 1-0: (64’) Lafita, 2-0: (68’) Omar Bravo (penalty).
Referee: Clos G??mez. He showed yellow card to Lopo (34’), Miguel ?ngel (59’), Cuadrado (63’) and Verd?? (69’)
Venue: Riazor (15,000)
Other statistics: Ball possession (54% - 46%); Total shots (16 - 10); Shots on target (5 - 3); Saves by the keepers (3 - 2); Corner-kicks  (8 - 8); Offsides (1 - 6); Fouls committed (20 - 18); Accuracy in the passes (80.86% - 82.83%)

ARCHIVE NEWS DEC/08

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