Squad news


11 Apr 2010
Crossroad for Deportivo; the Galicians can not fail anymore if they want to remain involved in the fight for Europe. Lotina is choosing to play with Adrian and Riki in attack, while Racing arrives without Sergio Canales.

This match represents a confrontation between two sides in crisis, because Depor and Racing Santander have only added eight points since the start of the second round, a poor mark only above the numbers of Real Valladolid (5). And it’s that Depor arrives to this game after suffering four straight defeats and after only adding four of the last fifteen points in dispute, while the Cantabrians have suffered two straight defeats and have only added six of the last twenty-seven points in dispute.

To have in mind that Racing presents better numbers playing away from home than at El Sardinero. And it’s that the Cantabrians have only won twice in Santander, while they already achieved five away wins: 2-1 at Malaga (matchday 03), 4-0 at Espanyol (matchday 13), 2-1 at Sevilla FC (matchday 17), 1-0 at Sporting Gijón (matchday 17) and 3-1 at Osasuna (matchday 27).

Depor still showing good numbers when it plays at the Riazor, with eight victories after fifteen home presentations, but the last two setbacks against Valladolid (0-2) and Getafe (1-3) are pulling down the Galicians as they are now only 10th in la liga in terms of home performance.

In recent seasons Racing Santander has been one of the toughest visitors of the Riazor, because the Cantabrians have added five wins within the last ten visits to La Coruña, including a 0-3 on the season 1999/200 (the year of the Championship) and an humiliating 1-4 on the 2004/05 campaign. But last season’s 5-3 victory marked one of the best Depor’s matches in the campaign and a positive memory that brings hope to the fans.

Coach Miguel Angel Lotina will try to revert the negative streak of four straight defeats with a 4-4-2 lineup, and the main characteristic in the draw is the presence of Adrian López and Iván Sánchez Rico ‘Riki’ at the attacking line. It’s the third time on this liga season in which both attackers will play at the same time since the start, curiously Depor lost the previous two games.

In the first occasion, Riki was the right winger and Adrian the lonely attacker in the 4-2-3-1 formation defeat by RCD Espanyol at the Riazor (2-3, matchday 03), later the Madrilenian performed as the central striker and the Asturian as an attacker playing towards the right in the 4-3-3 scheme trashed by Real Valladolid at the Zorrilla stadium (0-4, matchday 08).

Now, the intention of Lotina is to play with both strikers close to each other and aliened to the movements of the wingers in a 4-4-2 figure. Riki is the current Pichichi at the team with five goals scored in la liga, while Adrian has scored three times, two of them within the last four encounters.

Riki said before the match that Depor needs to start adding points, “We are talking of four straight defeats and it was unthinkable with the regularly that we had before. The physiological factor is important and a victory will help us, not only for been adding points, but because it will reinforce our esteem. We are a solidary team and right now are a little low in a mental sense. The response must be given on the pitch. A victory will be useful and a moral boost. Right now we allow a goal and then the world turns upside down. We must be strong and know that any game lasts ninety minutes and that we should not give up.”

It isn’t the only solution that Lotina is implementing for the match, because Manuel Pablo wasn’t picked for the occasion after been revealed that the Canarian side defender has been dragging with a tendonitis that has affected his performance; he is fit to play, but Lotina decided to rest him for the Camp Nou, which means that Laureano Sanabria ‘Laure’ is switching back to the right-back position, situation that will allow the debut of Raúl Garcia as starter playing at the left-side; on the past weekend the 19-year-old player became into the eight Fabril’s member that debuted on this season with the first team as he performed for the last minutes during the visit to Atletico.

The rest of the defensive line is the usual one, with Daniel Aranzubia at the goal and the duo Diego Colotto-Albert Lopo at the centre. At midfield, Sergio and Antonio Tomás will perform on the pivote functions, this time the Cantabrian will perform delayed on the pitch, while the Catalan will be more advanced, acting as the link between defence and the attackers.

The big doubt for the game is who will perform on the right wing, on Wednesday Lotina tested with Pablo Alvarez performing on that function, but one day later the spot was for Juan Rodriguez, therefore any of them could be the starting choice. What’s clear is that Mexican Andrés Guardado will cover the left.

Mista is once again out of the game though been ready to play, what happens is that Lotina still not convinced with his effort during the trainings. Neither Fabril’s Juan Dominguez was picked for the match, the midfielder still dragging with a problem in the ankle, the other three players at the injury room are Juca, Filipe and Angulo

Pablo Álvarez said before the game that, “We aren’t playing well, we have had too many casualties and there are some people that have played a lot of matches. In the first round we added many points and maybe we didn’t do the merits to do so, but now we neither are doing so little merits to have added so lesser points. We still are living a good situation, close to Europe and with options to reach it.” ‘The Shark’ also said during an interview that this is “the most important match of the season.”

Meanwhile, Iván Pérez still dreaming with Europe, “Clearly it’s a game to return to be what we want to do, which is to add points. We still have hopes to clinch the European places and must do anything possible for it; we must please the fans for all the support gave throughout the season. We are trying to be quiet, seeing the things from the same perspective. We know our errors and know what must be improved, and at the same time are conscious about the necessity to change this negative streak that’s wiping us out. We know that things must change and are aware that the team must return to the path of the victory.”

Antonio Tomás, who is going to face his former club, was promising to change the picture saw in the previous encounters, “We all are conscious that the intensity saw within the last matches wasn’t good, so we are trying to change. We are going to watch a warrior and hard team, a squad willing to defeat Racing. The important thing is to see that we are able to commit fouls. We have made a pretty season and can’t throw things out for the latest matches.”

“Things aren’t working out and we have come down, but our attitude is always good. Of course we feel hurt, we want to reach the UEFA, because we have worked very hard throughout the year, and is painful to see us out of the top positions. The important thing is to think of Racing and not in Europe, because as soon as we started to talk of Europe and other goals we began to vanish.”  He added.

List of picked players (19): Aranzubia, Manu (goalkeepers); Laure, Colotto, Lopo, Raúl, Zé Castro, Adrián López ‘Piscu’ (defenders); Antonio Tomás, Iván Pérez, Sergio, Valerón, Juan Rodríguez, Pablo Álvarez, Guardado (midfielders); Bodipo, Lassad, Riki and Adrián (strikers).

The fans in Santander are used to the disappointments as Racing has barely brought any joy to them, the best thing did by the club within the last two decades was a sixth place on the season 2007/08 and their first ever qualification to a European competition (UEFA Cup). Actually, the Cantabrians are more used to suffer in order to achieve the permanence, and this season won’t be different. Right now Racing is just six points above the abysm and everybody is just wishing for the end of the campaign. The poor results at the beginning cost the job to Juan Carlos Mandiá and now Miguel Ángel Portugal is on charge of the situation.
At least the fans were able to have some joy with the performance of Sergio Canales Madrazo, the 18-year-old midfielder that surprised the whole Spain during this season. The Santander-born player debuted with the first squad during the past tournament (Sept 18, 2008, UEFA Cup game Vs FC Honka), but it was on this campaign when he exploded scoring five goals in twenty liga encounters (1,258 minutes), number that puts him at the top of the list of Pichichis at the Cantabrian team.

But unfortunately the joy will not last too much, because Racing already sold the players to Real Madrid in a 6 million Euros operation that’s leaving the half of that amount in La Coruña, because Lendoiro negotiated in the past the 50% of his selling rights during the operation that took Munitis to Santander and Aouate and Antonio Tomas to Depor.

To make things worse, Canales will miss the clash due to a muscular injury and also the next two meetings of the Cantabrians because he has been picked to the U-19 squad that will dispute the qualifying tournament for the next European championship, which means that the youngster will miss next week’s clashes against direct rivals for the permanence RCD Espanyol and Xérez CD.

Also, there seems to be a conflict between coach Portugal and keeper Toño, he had a lumbalgia problem, but was reported to be fit to play, but the media in Cantabria appoints that the coach no longer counts on him and the player was left out of the trip to La Coruña. Therefore the starter for the game will be Swiss Fabio Coltorti, while Racing B Mario Fernández Cuesta will be on the bench.

Other of the novelties in the 4-2-3-1 formation is to see José Angel Crespo playing at the right-back position, the player loaned by Sevilla FC has only performed for nine liga games on this season.  The central defenders will be Oriol and Marc Torrejón, while Christian Fernández will perform on the left side.

The two pivotes will be Gonzalo Colsa and ex-Castellón Manuel Arana, this last one was a target of Depor during the past summer window and has scored three goals in twenty-three games with the Cantabrians. Senegalese Papakouly Diop will attack from the right flank, while ex-Depor Pedro Munitis will do the same from the left.

Oscar Serrano will be the playmaker in the formation and ex-Anderlecht Mohammed Tchité the central attacker, the Burundi international has scored four goals in twenty-two games, curiously all of them playing away from El Sardinero, the last one during the 3-4 defeat at Athletic Bilbao (matchday 29).

Papakouly Diop was warning that despite the four previous defeats Depor still is a dangerous rival, “We can’t think of how Depor is, because we must try to do a good game no matter the situation lived by the rival. The key to win the game is to score goals and clinch a clean sheet. If we add these three points then we will leave the bottom and will bring some fresh air; in order to win at the Riazor we must do a perfect match.”

Xisco, who will be on the bench, was talking of the feelings for been facing his former club, “It is about one year that I left Deportivo and would love to play at the Riazor, a stadium that’s positive for Racing and let’s hope it will continue like that. In my stage as a player of the Galician team I never achieved a local win against my current club, and in the last meeting with me there we lost 0-1 with a goal from Tchité. It is going to be a tough game, because Deportivo is coming from a negative streak; they are going through a hole and will love to add the three points. They have made a solid season that could lead them to Europe and won’t put things easy.”

List of picked players (18): Coltorti, Mario (goalkeepers); Pinillos, Crespo, Oriol, Moratón, Torrejón, Cristian (defenders); Arana, Munitis, Colsa, Lacen, Diop, Serrano, Toni Moral (midfielders), Xisco, Tchité and Iván Bolado (strikers).

Deportivo: (4-4-2) Aranzubia – Laure, Colotto, Lopo, Raúl – Pablo Álvarez or Juan Rodríguez, Antonio Tomas, Sergio, Guardado – Riki, Adrián.
Racing Santander: (4-2-3-1) Coltorti  Crespo, Oriol, Torrejón, Cristian - Arana, Colsa - Diop, Serrano, Munitis - Tchité.
Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz (13 matches on the season, 7 wins for the locals)
Kick-off: 17h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs Racing: 33 wins for Depor, 14 draws, 22 wins for Racing (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 18 wins for Depor, 4 draws, 12 wins for Racing (Primera & Segunda)



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