Competition news

PREVIEW: DEPORTIVO – OSASUNA (LIGA, 20h00)

13 Feb 2009
Two sides in-form collide at the Riazor, both are fighting for different goals, but both are facing problems with the injuries. Depor is mainly having problems in attack, reason why Lassad is debuting as starter, while Osasuna has only two fit central defenders for the match.

STATISTICS: SOLID AT HOME… TERRIBLE VISITOR
Two very opposite sides are clashing at the Riazor, at one hand a Deportivo that has added 22 of the 30 points disputed at home and that has only leaked eight goals in this condition, this last mark represents the second best record in la liga, just behind Barcelona (8). Osasuna, meanwhile, is the second worst visitor in la liga since it has only added four points away from the Reyno de Navarra, and also because it’s the only team that hasn’t wont yet any game playing outside home. Besides, the Navarrans have just scored seven goals as a visitor, that’s the worst mark at Primera Divisi??n.

However, this situation could be a mirage, because Osasuna is living its best moment on the season as it has added 11 of the last 21 points in dispute, something important taking in mind the Navarrans have faced in this period of time the top clubs in la liga, they were even able to achieve important draws at Sevilla (1-1, matchday 17) and at Villarreal (1-1, matchday 20). The current form has allowed the squad to leave the drop zone for the first time since October of the past year (matchday 06).

Besides, no matter that Osasuna has only won three times at the Riazor (Primera & Segunda Divisi??n), it must be emphasised that those three victories came within the last four seasons: 1-2 on the season 2007/2008, 0-1 on the 2005/2006 campaign and 1-3 on the season 2004/2005. Therefore, no matter what some stats are saying, Osasuna should be considered as a dangerous rival.

DEPORTIVO: THE BIG DAY FOR LASSAD
In the end Riki is not entering into the list of picked players due to an abductor problem , the Madrilenian had a light training on Friday and Lotina has decided to reserve him for the UEFA clash with Aalborg BK. Meanwhile Omar Bravo returned until Friday to La Coru?a after been in international duty, the Mexican was included in the list for the match though he didn’t train with the squad, but his presence in the starting lineup is not probable.

Therefore Lotina, who didn’t give too many clues about the squad that he will use, only has Mista and Lassad Nouioui as the alternatives for the striking zone, and all appoints that the French attacker will make his first appearance as starter with the first squad. Lassad has scored sixteen goals with Fabril since his arrival on January of the past year, he already played twice as a substitute and proved to be a revulsive as he provoked the penalty that earned the point at Majorca, and now the 22-year-old player has to demonstrate his value as a starter.

Lassad talked on Friday at Abegondo, he confessed that Lotina hasn’t said anything to him, but that he will love to start a game for Depor, ?I am content, because to be training with the first squad is important for me. He (Lotina) hasn’t said if I am going to play, so I know nothing. It will be good for me if I could be a starter.? If the French appears as starter, he will become into the second Fabril’s attacker to do it in la liga within the last decade (the other one is Xisco).

There are more forced changes in the lineup, because Manuel Pablo is out with a knee injury while Antonio Tom??s is suspended with five yellow cards. Laure, who played the first four liga games as starter, should return an claim the right-back position after Piscu did it on the past weekend, while Sergio and Juan Rodr?guez are disputing the spot in midfield, all appoints the Catalan will be the selected choice.

No matter these three modifications, Lotina will keep playing with a 4-3-2-1 system, scheme used since the start of the second round and that has earned four of the last nine points in dispute. Dani Aranzubia will continue at the goal, Filipe Luis will cover the left-back position, Albert Lopo and Z? Castro the central spots in defence, while Laure will be at the right side. In midfield, Sergio is joining Joan Verd?? and Julian De Guzm??n in the ?triple pivote’ figure. Finally, Angel Lafita and Juan Carlos Valer??n will be the two playmakers performing behind Lassad in attack.

Besides the suspension of Antonio Tom??s, Depor’s players must be careful with the yellow cards, and it’s that five players are just one card away from a suspension: De Guzm??n, Lopo, Manuel Pablo, Juan Rodr?guez and Z? Castro. Meanwhile, Riki and Manuel Pablo are joining Bodipo, Guardado and Pablo Amo at the injury room. Today, Amo is joining the trainings for the first time since his operation, while Lotina confirmed that Bodipo will be ready for the first game of March. The case with Guardado is more complicated as the Mexican said to reporters he still needs one more month for a full recovery. Finally, the players that weren’t picked due to technical reasons are Barrag??n, Cristian and Fabricio.

The upcoming liga games against Osasuna and Valencia are very important for Deportivo, mainly because both matches are played at the Riazor, place where Depor has picked the 73% of the points disputed so far, the players know these two confrontations are crucial in order to keep intact the European aspirations, Juan Rodr?guez was the one that explained better this situation, ?If we want to stay close to Europe, we must go until death for each game. We must convert Riazor into a fortress.?

List of called players (18): Aranzubia, Mun??a (goalkeepers); Laure, Lopo, Z? Castro, Colotto, Adri??n L??pez ?Piscu’, Filipe (defenders), Juan Rodr?guez, De Guzm??n, Sergio, Verd??, Pablo ?lvarez, Valer??n, Lafita (midfielders), Mista, Omar Bravo and Lassad (forwards).

OSASUNA: PROBLEMS IN DEFENCE
The lately performance in defence is one of the keys that explains why the Navarrans have left the relegation positions after spending four months in the abysm, Osasuna has only leaked one goal within the last three liga games, and that fact has allowed the squad to pick seven of the last nine points in dispute. But now things are difficult since coach Jos? Antonio Camacho is having a couple of casualties due to injury reasons.

Rov?rsio Rodrigues (knee) and Josetxo (stress fracture) were already out of the game at the Riazor, and on Thursday it was confirmed that ex-Celta Sergio Fern??ndez will miss the clash due to a thigh injury. At least Miguel Fla?o is recovered after suffering an ankle problem during the last matchday (1-0 win over Valencia).

Therefore Fla?o and C?sar Cruchaga are the only two fit central defenders for the game. Fla?o has been a normal participant in la liga and actually, he scored the winning goal against Valencia, but Cruchaga has been irregular all over the campaign as he has only made two appearances as starter on this liga tournament (Athletic Bilbao and Almeria) plus the Copa matches against Getafe and Athletic Bilbao, this no matter the captain of the squad already accumulates 335 matches at Primera Divisi??n (377 in all the competitions). In order to have an alternative on the bench, Camacho has picked Jon Echaide from Osasuna B, he is a normal participant in the lists of Spain?s U-19 squad.

One of the biggest problems on this season is the performance away from home, and it’s that Osasuna has only added four draws after eleven visits, the last away victory of the Navarrans in la liga occurred in the past tournament, more exactly on April 13th 2008 (1-0 RCD at Espanyol). As it was appointed before, Osasuna is the side that has scored less goals as a visitor, and a fact that’s complicating the things is the absence of Walter Pandiani, one of the two Pichichis at the team with five goals scored, El Rifle is suspended for the game at the Riazor, while Kike Sola was not called though he already surpassed a knee injury . Therefore Eduardo Fernando Pereira Gomes ?Dady’ will be the lonely striker on this game.

The Portuguese has only scored three goals on the season after adding seven on the past campaign, but he has good memories of the Riazor as he scored the winning goal for his team during the last visit to La Coru?a (2-1). The other Pichichi at the squad, Javad Nekounam, will be a starter no matter that he arrived until Friday from international duty, in midweek the Iranian international scored a sensational free-kick goal during the 1-1 draw between his county and South Korea, game part of the World Cup qualifiers. The other Iranian at the squad, Masoud Shojaei, also arrived late and that’s why ex-Zaragoza Antonio Hidalgo will be a starter on this game. It’s his first appearance in the starting eleven at Primera Divisi??n.

A thing to have in mind about the offensive game practiced by Osasuna is that its main asset is the aerial game, actually the two goals that gave the important wins over Mallorca and Valencia were scored through headers (Pandiani against Mallorca and Miguel Fla?o against Valencia). Besides, Osasuna is the sixth team in la liga in terms of shots on goal made with the head (56).

The expected lineup of Camacho for the game will continue to be a 4-4-1-1 figure. Galician Roberto will be at the goal, C?sar Azpilicueta will cover the right-back position, Ignacio Monreal the left spot, and the duo Cruchaga-Miguel Fla?o the centre of the defence. Juanfran will stay on the right wing and Jaroslav Plasil on the left. The defensive duet in midfield will be composed by Francisco Pu?al and Javad Nekounam. Antonio Hidalgo will be the link with the attacking line and Dady the lonely striker. The players that weren’t picked due to technical reasons are Tiago Gomes, Sunny, H?ctor Font and Santi Ezquerro.

Keeper Roberto Fern??ndez was reminding all the suffering of the squad during the season, ?It's going to be complicated and we must maintain the latest effort. We have done things very wrong during the first round and now we have to do everything very well. Now we're outside the drop zone and it's time to give a push. It is an agony and suffering, but we give thanks because we are alive. It is time, finally, to achieve a victory away from home. We must be optimistic, but knowing that the reality of the situation remains complicated."

Meanwhile, Dady was talking about his goal on the past season and also about the current situation of Osasuna, ?I scored an important goal, but that is past now. I hope to repeat it and I also hope to score more goals than last season. I only have three and the number is too short. I want to help the team, because we are alive and playing good football. I believe we'll make a great second round. We will try to do everything possible to avoid breaking our statistics at the Riazor. We are thinking of us. We're fine and we have to continue. We are playing well away from home. We are only missing to win the games and the victory will come soon."

List of called players (18): Ricardo, Roberto (goalkeepers); Azpilicueta, Javier Fla?o, Miguel Fla?o, Cruchaga, Monreal, Jon Echaide (defenders); Juanfran, Vad??cz, Pu?al, Nekounam, Hidalgo, Plasil, Delporte, Masoud (midfielders); Dady and Portillo (forwards).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Deportivo: Aranzubia - Laure, Lopo, Z? Castro, Filipe – De Guzm??n, Sergio, Verd?? - Lafita, Valer??n - Lassad.
Osasuna: Roberto - Azpilicueta, Cruchaga, Miguel Fla?o, Monreal – Juanfran, Pu?al, Nekounam, Plasil – Hidalgo – Dady.
Referee: Carlos Meg?a D??vila (10 games on the season, 8 wins for the local team)
Kick-off: 20h00 (Riazor)
Record Vs Osasuna: 27 wins for Depor, 9 draws, 17 wins for Osasuna (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 19 wins for Depor, 4 draws, 3 wins for Osasuna (Primera & Segunda)

ARCHIVE NEWS FEB/09

ZAPPING

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