Squad news


31 Jan 2010
A grey Deportivo was unable to keep alive the curse of the Riazor over Real Madrid. Lotina’s team had several casualties for the encounter, but it never showed the spirit to try to do the right things and it only completed two shots on target.

Lotina sent the expected starting eleven; with Aranzubia at the goal; Laure at the right side of the defence, Manuel Pablo repositioned at the left, Colotto and Lopo at the centre. Juca and Antonio Tomás were the two pivotes, Pablo Alvarez was at the left wing, Juan Rodriguez was at the right, Valerón was the playmaker and Adrián was the lonely attacker. 

At Real Madrid; coach Pellegrini was presenting the novelty of the presence of Raúl as the attacking partner of Benzema. The appearance of the Madrilenian legend was conditioning the rest of the lineup, because Kaká was now playing towards the left wing, while Marcelo was performing as a left-back defender. Ex-Depor Alvaro Arbeloa was returning to the Riazor in order to play at the right side of the defence.

Contrary to past opportunities, Deportivo was totally outplayed by a Real Madrid that was very concentrated and that based its game in fast attacks that were never stopped by the slow midfield of Lotina. The second goal was a clear picture of this problem as Juca failed to release a proper corner-kick and the play ended in the goal for the visitors.

Deportivo started the match trying to have the initiative, with Pablo Alvarez attacking from the left wing and Juan Rodriguez on the right, but they never found the needed depth while the corridors at the centre were obstructed. Meanwhile, Real Madrid was trying to surprise with a fast game and quick counterattacks, in the first of them Kaka had an attempt to score, but his shot was blocked by Lopo (4’). One minute later Xabi Alonso made the first shot on target on the match, but it was an easy save for Aranzubia.

Then Benzema had a good opportunity after a bad clearance of Colotto, but his shot was saved again by Aranzubia (6’). Little by little Madrid won the ball possession and then it controlled midfield, Granero was very active, also Valerón, but the battle at midfield was won by Xabi Alonso against Antonio Tomás and Juca, couple that seemed incapable to contain the fast move from the visitors.

And soon the visitors scored the deserved first goal; it was after a corner-kick for them. Kaka sent the cross into the box and Albiol headed the ball at the corner of the area, then Laure had the chance to clear the danger, but instead he sent the ball into the far post, and there Esteban Granero just had to head it again to cross Aranzubia and score the goal.

With the advantage in the scoresheet, Real Madrid was now feeling more comfortable and continued basing its game in quick plays that seemed very dangerous. At the 19th minute, Raúl missed the ball after a good play of Benzema, two minutes later Aranzubia appeared for the second time in the night as the Basque intercepted a cross of Marcelo before it reached Raúl. Depor responded with a wide shot of Juan Rodriguez after a sequence between Valerón and Manuel Pablo, but it was just a mirage.

The truth is that Real Madrid was playing really well, Guti and Kaka were feeling really comfortable at midfield and that was one of the keys that explains why the visitors were having so many opportunities. A new occasion came at minute 25, it was after a combination between Kaka and Xabi Alonso that Benzema sent over the crossbar.

The best of Depor came within the final seven minutes, with a play of Adrian and Valerón in which Juan Rodriguez was close to shot from close range, but Xabi Alonso blocked the attempt and it ended in a corner-kick. Juca took that corner and then the Madrilenians started a fast counterattack led by Kaka and Guti in which Karim Benzema just had to push the ball in. Ironically the second goal came when it seemed that Depor was going to react. Half-time arrived and things seemed complicated for the locals.
And the game continued the same for the final part, with Real Madrid having the ball possession and pushing for more goals. Kaka, Guti and Granero were very active within the first ten minutes and Depor seemed disorganized. At minute 48, Kaka had an attempt to score after a good pass of Xabi Alonso, but the Brazilian couldn’t surprise Aranzubia. Just five minutes later the same Kaka attempted from mid-distance, but the ball went close to the left post.

Lotina saw the disaster coming and soon ordered one modification: Iván Pérez entered for Valerón, which moved Pablo Alvarez to the right and Juan Rodriguez to the playmaking function, while Pérez was at the left. The change seemed to be working as in the next play Juan Rodriguez attempted a 15-meters shot, but the ball passed close to the crossbar.

Three minutes later the same Juan Rodriguez released a mid-distance shot after a combination between Juca and Iván Pérez, but Casillas made the save. That was one of the two shots on target made by the Blanquiazul team in the whole game, poor numbers to win a game, especially against Madrid. Now Depor was trying to hurry up the things and Casillas was having more work to do. Depor surrounded the defensive zone of the visitors, but without enjoying of a clear opportunity.

The game turned into a stuck situation for Depor, Iván Pérez, Pablo Alvarez and Juan Rodriguez were very active, but they never found the cracks at Real Madrid’s defence, while the visitors were already content with the result and spent the time moving the ball over the pitch. Despite the result, Lotina reacted late and put Riki on the pitch until minute 74, the ex-Real Madrid entered for Pablo Alvarez, and he started to attack from the right.

Depor was still insisting, but without having a clear attempt to find a goal. Antonio Tomás missed the target from the edge of the area (72’), then the Cantabrian assisted Riki, but the ex-Getafe sent the ball over the crossbar (74’), and two minutes later Adrian headed out a corner of Iván Pérez. Those were three signs that Lotina’s team was trying to survive, but just fifteen minutes were remaining in the clock.

Then, Lotina sent a desperate change as Bodipo replaced a tired Juca, with the moves Riki was playing behind Bodipo and Adrian, the two strikers of the team, while the pivotes were now Juan Rodriguez and Antonio Tomas. Iván Pérez was at the left and it was the Galician midfielder who assisted Riki, who later was fouled by Marcelo inside the area. Then Riki came and scored the goal from the penalty spot against a Casillas that was close to stop his attempt.

Suddenly, a ray of hope appeared at the horizon and the fans were praying for the draw, but the dream lasted just a few minutes as the Madrilenians scored the third after a good play of Arbeloa, who drilled the ball to Benzema and the Frenchman scored his second goal in the game with a shot from the edge of the area.   

The curse of the Riazor ended thanks to an apathetic Depor that gave the control of midfield to Real Madrid for 55 minutes, at that moment the score was 0-2 and Lotina started to introduce the modifications that gave some freshness to the squad, though without creating any clear opportunity. Riki entered at the end to provoke a penalty that was capitalised by himself. It gave hope to the fans, but it didn’t last as Benzema scored the decisive goal in the stoppage time. It is true that the team had several casualties, but it never seemed interested in winning the game, something demonstrated with the simple fact that Lotina’s team only completed two shots on target.

The defeat leaves Depor without the chance to enter into the Champions League zone, but at least Lotina’s team will stay one more week in the European zone as the difference with the seventh place still of four points. On the next Sunday Deportivo will visit Malaga FC at La Rosaleda (17h00 CET).

Deportivo: Aranzubia – Laure, Lopo, Colotto, Manuel Pablo – Juca (Bodipo 84’), Antonio Tomás, - Juan Rodríguez, Valerón (Iván Pérez 54’),  Pablo Álvarez (Riki 74’) - Adrian
Real Madrid: Casillas - Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Albiol, Marcelo – Granero, Xabi Alonso, Guti, Kaká – Benzema, Raúl (Drenthe 78’)
Goals: 0-1: (13’) Granero, 0-2: (40’) Benzema, 1-2: (85’) Riki (penalty), 1-3: (90+1’) Benzema.
 Referee: Miguel Ángel Ayza Gamez. He showed yellow card to Juca (63’), Manuel Pablo (81’) and Juan Rodriguez (90+3’)
Venue: Riazor (32,000)
Other statistics: Ball possession (42% - 58%); Total shots (11 - 19); Shots on target (2 - 8); Saves by the keepers (5 - 1); Corner-kicks  (6 - 4); Offsides (2 - 6); Fouls committed (13 - 6); Accuracy in the passes (71.88% - 81.30%)




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