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REVIEW: DEPORTIVO 0 – OSASUNA 0 (LIGA)

14 Feb 2009
Deportivo was better during 78 minutes, but it was unable to break the deadlock of Osasuna. Lassad hit the post and De Guzman was close to score with a bicycle-kick. Juan Rodr?guez and Lafita had also a chance. The draw complicates the European aspirations of Depor.

BEFORE THE GAME
Lotina made one modification compared to the expected starting lineup, he sent Juan Rodr?guez to midfield replacing Sergio, the Basque coach was aware of the strong aerial game practiced by Osasuna and the move was a prevention measure against it, this taking in mind that other players that were at the pitch are not too tall (Verd??, Laure, De Guzm??n).

Meanwhile, Laure was replacing Manuel Pablo, who didn’t recover from a knee problem, while Lassad Nouioui was debuting as a starter at the first squad, the French attacker signed on Friday a new contract with the club (it lasts until 2012) and Lotina gave him the chance. At Osasuna, coach Camacho sent the expected 4-4-1-1 with Dady, Juanfran, Plasil and Nekounam as the main offensive references.  

FIRST HALF
Osasuna started strongly the game, dominating the actions and with two straight crosses to Depor’s area, the first was made by Juanfran (1’), and then it was Pu?al (2’) who were searching for a receiver, both occasions were repealed by Depor’s defence. Three minutes later, these two same men combined at the border of the area and Pu?al released a shot that went over the crossbar.

The first approximation for Depor came at minute 9, it was a free-kick of Verd?? after Miguel Fla?o pushed down Lafita at one side. But instead taking advantage of the occasion, the Galician team almost ended leaking a goal. Because in the counterattack, Plasil assisted Dady, who was left alone against Aranzubia, but Laure came from behind to clear the danger.

Then the game switched, because Depor started to have the initiative, mainly thanks to Juan Carlos Valer??n, who was the guide with his precise passes. At minute 12, Lafita confronted Monreal on the left, the Aragonian was near to pass the defender, but the ball was cleared at the end. Four minutes later, Valer??n, Verd??, Lassad and Lafita combined and the current Pichichi at the squad ended the sequence releasing a shot that was stopped by Ricardo.

At minute 21, De Guzm??n made an impressive bicycle-kick after a cross of Laure from the right, the ball just went close to the left post, it was one of the most clear occasions for Depor in the first part. Three minutes later Filipe had an attempt to score  through a direct free-kick after Fla?o fouled Valer??n at the border of the area. The shot of the Brazilian was controlled by Ricardo without problems. This occasion, together with the previous one of Lafita, represented two of the three shots on goal made by Depor in this encounter.

Depor continued adding occasions and at the 26th minute, Lassad hit the post after the French youngster headed a cross coming from Lafita. This was the third shot on goal made by Depor within ten minutes, however it was the last one in the game, clear fact that explains why the match ended scoreless no matter Deportivo owned the ball. The new system of Lotina focus the movement of the ball at the centre of the pitch, but this time both wings were very active, with Lafita, Filipe and the same Laure attempting to find any receiver at the area. However, their efforts never found the target.

Then all the attention was focused on referee Meg?a D??vila, first because he didn’t whistle a clear foul over Valer??n at the edge of the area (34’), three minutes later El Flaco went down to the ground inside the box, however Miguel Fla?o cleared the ball before hitting the Canarian. Despite this, the public at the Riazor was very unhappy with the work of the referee and he was constantly whistled until the end of the first part.

Meanwhile, Deportivo continued enclosing its rival at its own area, Valer??n had a chance at minute 43 after a corner-kick of Verd??, but his attempt was blocked, then Laure was near to find Lassad inside the box, again the danger was cleared by Osasuna’s defence. It was a first half divided in two parts, the visitors dominated the first 12 minutes and then Depor became the owner of the match, leaded by Valer??n, Lotina’s men were close to score, but their best two choices, through De Guzm??n and Lassad, went out and hit the post respectively.

SECOND HALF
Deportivo started the second part just has it ended the first: attacking and pushing its rival at to their own zone. But no matter the pressure, the Galicians were unable to release a shot on target. At minute 49, Lassad tried to surprise Ricardo with a shot from long-distance, but the ball just when out close to the post. Two minutes later Lassad appeared again to assist Verd?? and the Catalan released a shot that was stopped by Ricardo.

It seemed just a matter of time in order to see Depor scoring the first goal, Pu?al, Plasil and Nekounam were simply inexistent, reason why all the Navarran attempts in attack were dying in the boots of Depor’s defenders.  The first approximation for Osasuna during the second half came at minute 59, it was a free-kick of Pu?al that Dady headed over the crossbar. That was the only time in which the Portuguese appeared in the game, while Aranzubia had one of the more pleasant nights on the season.

However, Depor started to vanish with the pass of time; the physical effort made throughout the game reduced the pace of Lotina’s side and the attempts to score were now scarce. One of the best occasions came at the 69th minute; it was a long-range effort from Juan Rodr?guez that went close to Ricardo’s goal. Then, fifteen minutes before the end, Mista entered and replaced Lassad, the French left the pitch hearing the applauses of the public. Meanwhile, Mista was making his first appearance in liga since matchday 15 (against Valladolid).

At minute 76, Pu?al was close to score an own goal as he headed a corner-kick of Verd??, Roberto was already defeated and the ball was near to enter. The last ten minutes were played at the side of Osasuna, the Navarrans were holding the draw at any cost against a Deportivo that was now facing big difficulties to reach Ricardo’s goal, the last big occasion for the home team was a solo-effort of Lafita at the left, he entered the area and just when he was searching for the final pass, Nekounam arrived and cleared the danger.

AFTER THE GAME
Deportivo dominated the game during 78 minutes, but it was unable to break the deadlock imposed by Osasuna. Valer??n shone with his passes while youngster Lassad showed interesting things; actually the French was the closest men to score a goal as he hit the post in the first half. However, the Galicians lost the impulse in the last fifteen minutes due the tireness at the squad. Again the squad suffered a lack of aim, and it’s that Depor only made three shots on target throughout the game, this no matter that Osasuna just fulfilled one.

This is the second scoreless draw against Osasuna on this season, and only the fourth home match in which Depor can not pick the three points. The result complicates the European aspirations of Lotina’s squad. Now the Galicians travel to Denmark in order to face Aalborg BK in the UEFA Cup round of 32 (Wednesday, 21h00 CET). On the next Sunday, Depor returns to the Riazor in order to face Valencia FC, this game for la liga (21h00 CET). The negative thing is that both, De Guzm??n and Z? Castro, are suspended against the Valencians after picking a fifth yellow card on this match

MATCH STATISTICS
Deportivo: Aranzubia - Laure, Lopo, Z? Castro, Filipe – De Guzm??n, Juan Rodriguez, Verd?? - Lafita, Valer??n – Lassad (Mista 75’).
Osasuna: Roberto - Azpilicueta, Cruchaga, Miguel Fla?o, Monreal – Juanfran, Pu?al, Nekounam, Plasil (Delporte 64’) – Hidalgo (Vadocz 90+3’) – Dady (Masoud 73’).
Referee: Carlos Meg?a D??vila. He showed yellow card to De Guzm??n (59’), Nekounam (67’), Ze Castro (74’) and Monreal (80’)
Venue: Riazor (14,000) 
Other statistics: Ball possession (55% - 45%); Total shots (15 - 6); Shots on target (3 - 1); Saves by the keepers (1 - 0); Corner-kicks  (10 - 4); Offsides (2 - 2); Fouls committed (18 - 10); Accuracy in the passes (84.21% - 81.50%)

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