Competition news

PREVIEW: NUMANCIA – DEPORTIVO (LIGA, 17h00)

28 Feb 2009
Crucial moment for Deportivo on the season, the Galician team searches the European places after the elimination in UEFA, and is forced to do it with several casualties at Lotina’s squad. Meanwhile, Numancia arrives after six straight defeats in liga.

STATISTICS: ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN IN SORIA
Deportivo has visited Los Pajaritos in just three opportunities, but all kind of things have been seen in those matches. The first occasion was for the liga season 1999/2000, Depor was the leader in la liga and ended defeated there after referee P?rez Lasa whistled an inexistent foul of Songo’o, just when the keeper was scoring the equalising goal during a corner-kick at the last minute (0-1 score in the end). Then, one season later, referee Daud?n Iba?ez inverted the situation as he swallowed a clear penalty of Helder over Rosu at minute 93, reason why Numancia lost the game with a 1-2 score.

The last visit to Soria occurred on the last matchday of the season 2004/2005. This time, there wasn’t any polemic decision of the referee, but the game is remembered for its symbolic meaning, because it was the last game of Numancia at Primera before his recent comeback to the division, and also because it was the last match of Javier Irureta after seven years at the club. Besides, the final 1-1 draw meant the qualification to the Intertoto Cup.

On the present season, Numancia started strongly as it defeated Barcelona in the first matchday, but all has been fading away as the squad from Soria lost the last six games in liga, reason why they are currently the last place at Primera Divisi??n. Besides, Numancia is the second team with more goals allowed in la liga (48). The defense’s behaviour is precisely the biggest difference with the current Deportivo (30 goals allowed), because Lotina’s team has only scored two more goals compared with Numancia (28 against 26), however the Galicians have added 16 more points so far. 

A thing to have in mind is that no matter its current situation, Numancia has only lost four times at Los Pajaritos: 1-2 Vs Villarreal (matchday 03), 2-4 Vs Betis (matchday 10), 0-2 Vs Real Madrid (matchday 21) and 0-1 Vs Mallorca (matchday 23). Meanwhile Depor has only won three games away from the Riazor; the last opportunity was in January during the 2-1 win at Getafe (matchday 17).

DEPORTIVO: KEY MOMENT FOR THE TEAM
After the elimination in the UEFA Cup, the team faces a crucial moment on the season. Depor is eighth in the table and after only picking two draws in the last two matches at the Riazor, the difference with the UEFA zone is three points, while the Champions League positions are five points away. And with only fourteen games remaining in the calendar, the team needs to press the accelerator in order to not lose the last train to Europe.

And Deportivo is forced to do this with important casualties at the squad, Z? Castro is returning from suspension, and Pablo Amo is coming back after finally surpassing his knee injury, but Cristian Hidalgo stepped aside at the last second after picking a muscular contracture during Saturday. In this way, the Catalan is joining the long list of casualties at the squad: Bodipo, Riki, Manuel Pablo, Mista and Guardado. All this players are currently at the injury room, and some of them will join the trainings starting on the next week (Guardado and Riki).

Besides to this list, Albert Lopo is suspended after picking his tenth yellow card of the season in the past game with Valencia, while Omar Bravo was left out since he still negotiating his exit to Tigres. All the casualties are leaving coach Lotina with only seventeen players available for the trip to Soria, reason why youngster Carlos Monje Serrano ?Chirri’ was picked for the second time. The winger ended out of the game with Valencia since Bodipo entered at the last minute, but now he will have a real chance to debut at Primera since he will surely be sited on the bench of Los Pajaritos.

About the lineup for the game, Lotina will keep using a 4-3-2-1 figure. Daniel Aranzubia will be the goalkeeper, Laure will play for the second straight time as a right-back, while Filipe Luis will continue on the left sector. Z? Castro returns to the formation, but Adri??n L??pez ?Piscu’ is keeping a place at the centre of the defence since Lopo is suspended for the match.

In midfield, Joan Verd??, Julian de Guzm??n and Antonio Tom??s will compose the line of three pivotes, while Angel Lafita and Juan Carlos Valer??n are staying as the two playmakers in the formation. Finally, Lassad Nouioui is making his fifth appearance with the first squad, third time as a starter. A very complicate responsibility for the youngster taking in mind that he is the only available attacker for the game, and also because Depor’s strikers have remained scoreless in the last five official games (2 in UEFA and 3 in liga), the last striker that scored a goal at Depor was Riki on matchday 21 against Villarreal (February 2nd).

Defender Pablo Amo was expressing his happiness since this is his first call on the season, ?I was even excited during yesterday. I have spent a lot of years in football, but I still liking the game. I am very content for been able to help, especially now that we are facing a complicate situation. I am feeling fine, and I will try to take advantage of the good run the team is enjoying.?

Meanwhile, Z? Castro was warning about the level that Numancia displays at Los Pajaritos, ?It is very complicated, in Soria they have won the major part of the games, it’s a team that can create danger and we know what we are going to do there. The team is fine, it wasn’t possible to achieve the comeback but there’s no time to regret. Depor has good stuff in order to become a great team, but we also knew we didn’t have the needed things in order to win the UEFA Cup. Tomorrow we will play a game in which we could win again and end in a better situation in the table.?

List of called players (18): Aranzubia, Mun??a (goalkeepers), Laure, Pablo Amo, Z? Castro, Colotto, Adri??n L??pez ?Piscu’, Filipe (defenders); De Guzm??n, Antonio Tom??s, Juan Rodr?guez, Sergio, Verd??, Lafita, Pablo ?lvarez, Chirri, Valer??n (midfielders) and Lassad (striker).

NUMANCIA: BETWEEN DESPERATION AND HOPE
The poor results during the last month have cost the job to Sergio Kresic, and the sporting director of the club, Jos? Rojo Mart?n ?Pacheta’, an ex-player without experience as a coach, replaced him before the game against Osasuna. It was a desperate move trying to avoid a bigger fall. But his debut couldn’t been worse, because he lost against a direct rival (0-2 at Pamplona), and because he was sent off after he protested a foul over Guayre, therefore he won’t be sited on the bench for the game with Depor. 

But Los Numantinos are not yet defeated despite been the last place in the table. Knowing the importance of the points at home, and taking in mind that Numancia faces two straight matches at Los Pajaritos –Depor and Valencia- the club is offering tickets to see both games at the price of 25 Euros, therefore a nice attending is expected as Numancia plays one of its last cards in the fight for the permanence. This means more pressure for the visiting team

Despite the opposite situation in the table lived by Depor and Numancia, both teams have an interesting similarity. And this situation is related to the top-scorer at their squads, because both teams have a right winger as their current Pichichi. In Depor is Lafita and in Numancia is Jos? Javier Barkero. The Aragonian has scored seven times in liga, while the Basque already added eight goals to his account.

But a big difference between both teams is the behaviour of the strikers. No matter that both teams have scored a similar number of goals (28 Depor, 26 Numancia), the contribution of Numancia’s attacker is bigger than the one of the Galicians. At Depor, the five attackers at the squad –including Lassad- have only contributed with the 25% of the goals, while at Numancia this percentage is reaching the 46%, with Gorka Brit Carlos ArandaJavier Del Pino and Asier Goria having added three goals each one. And during the week, the club added a new striker: Ivory Coast Lago Junior. He’s 18 and started to train during the week, but he won’t take part of the game against Depor.

About the fitness at the squad, defender/midfielder and captain of the team, C?sar Palacios, suffered a knee injury during the game at Osasuna and will be out during one month. He represents the only important casualty for the match. Central defender Sergio Ortega and winger Bellvis were doubtful during the week, but they are fit to play. Antonio Guayre is not fit enough to play the entire game, but he will be on the bench and could be a revulsive for the second half.

Also, Pacheta left a lot of doubts on Saturday after he left Juan Ram??n Cabrero ?Juanra’ outside of the list for the game. The right-back has been a normal starter and one of the best players at the squad, therefore nobody could explain his absence. No matter that Pacheta didn’t give any clue about the formation for the game, it’s expected that he will switch the system from a 4-2-3-1 into a more offensive 4-4-2.

The main change is that Basque attacker Gorka Brit will now join ex-Albacete Carlos Aranda in the striking zone. The move is sacrificing the presence of one of the two defensive midfielders in the formation, role that injured C?sar Palacios fulfilled at Pamplona. Now the tasks will be only for ex-Levante Domingo Nagore, while ex-X?rez Javier Del Pino will be the offensive option in the sector.

Jos? Javier Barkero will keep his place at the right wing, while ex-Barcelona B Dimas Delgado will perform on the left. There are also some changes in defence, Juan Pablo will still at the goal, but Juanra is out of the game and his place at the right will be for ex-Athletic man Felipe Gur?ndez Besides Ra??l Bravo will now cover the left side. The ex-Real Madrid was a central defender against Osasuna and now he is switching his position, while ex-Real Sociedad Sergio Boris enters to the squad playing alongside Sergio Ortega at the centre.

List of called players (18): Juan Pablo, Diego (goalkeepers); Ra??l Bravo, Felipe, Boris, Pav??n, Sergio Ortega (defenders); Bellvis, Dimas, Nagore, Mario, Moreno, Guayre, Barkero (midfielders); Del Pino, Goiria, Aranda, and Gorka Brit (strikers).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Numancia: Juan Pablo – Felipe, Pav??n, Boris, Bravo - Barkero, Del Pino, Nagore, Dimas – Brit, Aranda
Deportivo: Aranzubia - Laure, Piscu, Z? Castro, Filipe - De Guzm??n, Antonio Tom??s, Verd?? - Lafita, Valer??n - Lassad
Referee: Rafael Ram?rez Dom?nguez (10 games on the season, only 1 win for the visiting team)
Kick-off: 17h00 CET (Los Pajaritos).
Record Vs Numancia: 3 wins for Depor, 2 draws, 2 wins for Numancia (Primera)
Record at Los Pajaritos: 1 win for Depor, 1 draw, 1 win for Numancia (Primera)

ARCHIVE NEWS MARCH/09

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