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REVIEW: DEPORTIVO 2 – ALMERIA 0 (LIGA)

22 Apr 2009
Deportivo woke up during the second half to achieve a comfortable win over Almeria, the Galicians played a poor first half, but the effort done in the second part was strong enough to clinch an important win. Now it’s time to face the ?final’ at Malaga.

BEFORE THE GAME
Lotina was surprising everybody with the appearance of Manuel Pablo as starter; the Canarian was playing after almost three months out and occupied the spot at the right-back position. In midfield, Verd?? was starting in the playmaking function after it was speculated that Valer??n might have a chance. Sergio and Bodipo were other two novelties as they were replacing injured Antonio Tom??s and Lassad, this last one was sited on the bench.

More novelties were witnessed at the side of the visitors, Hugo S??nchez was putting Carlos Garc?a alongside Chico at the centre of the defence, while Juanito was appearing in midfield to join Corona in the defensive tasks. Pablo Piatti was appearing as the playmaker in the 4-2-3-1 formation and the main references in attack were Crusat on the left wing and Alvaro Negredo up front.

FIRST HALF
It was a shy first half in which both teams didn’t present their stronger face. Almeria was having the ball, at least during the first twenty minutes, and Deportivo was searching for Bodipo with long passes from the back zone. Negredo was well covered by Depor’s defence, but neither Guardado nor Pablo Alvarez were finding a direct connection with Depor’s lonely attacker.

The first approximation in the game was for Almeria, it occurred just seconds after the kick-off, but Piatti sent the ball out after a pass from Corona. The response of Deportivo came until minute 10. The play was started by Verd?? and ended with a cross from Filipe that Bodipo connected with the heel, but his effort went out.

It seemed that Deportivo was starting to take control of the actions as the Galicians had two chances in a matter of two minutes. First Pablo Alvarez headed out a cross coming from Filipe (15’), two minutes later Joan Verd?? was attempting from mid-distance, but his effort was contained by visiting keeper Esteban.

However, it was just a mirage and the game reached a period in which both attacking lines were well covered by the defenses. At minute 18, the visitors enjoyed of their best chance in the half after Corona threw a corner-kick that was headed by Chico inside the area and that went close to the left post.

The following twenty minutes were a real boredom, with Almeria showing a poor face and demonstrating why it’s one of the worst visitors on the liga season, but the face of Deportivo wasn’t better than that. The locals were insisting with long balls searching for Bodipo and they never surprised the defensive line of Hugo S??nchez. Besides, Verd?? was playing in an advance position and he never reached the ball, reason why there was a disconnection between midfield and attack.

Negredo just appeared once in the first part, but his shot was easily contained by Aranzubia (37’), situation that was repeated two minutes later as Man? sent the ball to the hands of the Basque keeper. And Deportivo was closer to the goal within the final five minutes. The clearest chance was for Guardado. It was an error of central defender Carlos Garc?a, who instead of controlling the ball with the chest, gave an assist to the Mexican, then the ex-Atlas man combined with Bodipo, but just when Guardado was alone against the goal, he sent the ball out (42’)

Two minutes later, Diego Colotto was close to score as his header went close to the crossbar, the Argentine was inside the area after Sergio threw a corner-kick at one side. It was a poor first half in which the defensive lines were dominating, reason why both teams only had a few opportunities to score.

SECOND HALF
It seemed that Depor was starting the second part with more will, just seconds after the kick-off Guardado and Verd?? combined, the Catalan  ended the play shooting on target, but Esteban made the save. And then the home team confirmed it was going out for the victory as it found the first goal through the same Joan Verd??.

The play was started by Guardado on the left, the Mexican sent a cross to the area that Chico and Bodipo were disputing, somehow the Guinean was able to make a deflection into the path of Verd??, then the Catalan sent the ball to the back of the net with a drilling shot that entered by the corner. It is the sixth goal in liga for the ex-Barcelona man.

The goal from the locals just awakened Almeria, now the squad of Hugo S??nchez was trying to have the initiative and started to send endless crosses, but Deportivo’s defence was showing a secure face and was stopping everything. At minute 58, Negredo appeared for the second time in the game to fire a strong shot that went close to the crossbar. Then Lotina moved his bench and sent Lassad to join Bodipo in attack, Verd?? left the pitch and Depor started to play with a 4-4-2 formation.

Just one minute later, the Tunisian was close to score after a drilling cross of Manuel Pablo, Esteban almost miss the ball, but he reacted quicker enough to avoid the goal of Lassad. Hugo S??nchez tried to improve the things with the entries of Kalu Uche and Jos? Ortiz, but Depor seemed more close to the second goal. At minute 64’, Juan Rodriguez was heading a cross from Guardado that hit the body of Chico.

The modifications at both sides were accelerating the game, the fast moves of Kalu Uche were giving velocity to the slow attacks of Almeria, but Negredo was still missing in action, he appeared for the third time in the game to smash a dangerous free-kick into the barrier. At the other side, Lassad was brining the freshness that Depor missed throughout the first half.

And Depor replied at minute 69, it was a perfect counterattack in which five local players touched the ball. All started with Guardado, who made a pass to Bodipo, then the Guinean assisted Pablo ?lvarez with the heel and ?the Shark? send the ball to the path of Filipe, the Brazilian crossed the ball to the far post and Lassad Nouioui appeared to drill the ball between the legs of Esteban.

The goal brought calmness to Deportivo, while it sunk Almeria. The Galician seemed now eager to increase the lead and they had more chances. Lotina took advantage of the moment to give minutes to Cristian, the Catalan replaced . Then the locals had a new chance to increase the lead. It was during a cross of Guardado that Carlos Garcia stopped with the hand, but the referee whistled corner-kick. The corner was taken by Guardado and Colotto headed the ball inside the area, the ball was going into the path of Bodipo, but Esteban cleared the danger with the fists (82’).

Then Lotina returned to the initial scheme as he replaced Bodipo with Valer??n. The clearest chance for Almeria in the second half came though a ten-meters shot from Jos? Ortiz that hit the crossbar (84’). But who were closer to score again was Deportivo, first with Sergio through a shot that was deflected by a defender (90+1’), and then with a volley of Colotto after a long cross from Guardado. This last action was stopped by Esteban.

AFTER THE GAME
Deportivo achieved a comfortable victory after both teams played a dreadful first half in which only a few chances to score were created. In the second part, Depor went out for everything and opened the scoresheet with a good move ended by Verd??, then Lassad entered to the pitch and finalized a collective move.

For the moment Depor still eighth in the table, tied in points with Atletico Madrid and Villarreal, squads that play their games today. Meanwhile, Malaga CF won at Osasuna (2-3) and this means that Saturday’s clash at La Rosaleda (20h00 CET)is a real final in the quest for Europe. The Andalusians have 50 points, just one more than Depor.

MATCH STATISTICS
Deportivo: Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Z? Castro, Colotto, Filipe Luis - Sergio, Juan Rodr?guez - Pablo ?lvarez (Cristian 72’), Verd?? (Lassad 58’), Guardado – Bodipo (Valer??n 82’)
Almeria: Esteban - Man?, Carlos Garc?a, Chico, Bruno - Juanito, Corona - Juanma Ortiz (Jos? Ortiz 63’), Crusat (Nieto 74’), Piatti (Kalu Uche 62’) - Negredo
Goals: 1-0: (49’) Verd??, 2-0: (68’) Lassad.
Referee: Eduardo Iturralde Gonz??lez. He showed yellow card to Colotto (45+1’), Pablo ?lvarez (57’)
Venue: Riazor (14,000)
Other statistics: Ball possession (56% - 44%); Total shots (17 - 16); Shots on target (5 - 2); Saves by the keepers (0 - 2); Corner-kicks  (5 - 5); Offsides (3 - 1); Fouls committed (12 - 16); Accuracy in the passes (81.10% - 82.22%)

ARCHIVE NEWS APR/09

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