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REVIEW: LEVANTE 1 – DEPORTIVO 2 (LIGA)

08 Nov 2010
First away victory for Depor in almost a year and second straight success in la liga; it was a suffered game after Lotina’s team clinched a comfortable lead of two goals, in the end the rewards is sweetest as Depor is now outside of relegation.

BEFORE THE GAME
No surprises at the starting formation of Miguel Angel Lotina, it was the same 5-2-2-1 formation of the past weekend with the exception of Diego Seoane replacing Knut Rindarøy at the left-back position. Aranzubia was at the goal, Manuel Pablo covered the right side and the trio at the centre of the defense was composed by Albert Lopo, Aythami Artiles and Diego Colotto.

Juan Rodriguez and Rubén Pérez were the two pivotes, while Adrian and Saúl Fernández were the two playmakers performing towards the centre. Finally, Madrilenian Riki was the central attacker. To mention that Miroslav Djukic visited the team at the hotel before the kick-off.

At Levante, coach Luis García was able to count with Del Horno, but not with Xavi Torres, who was on the bench, reason why Miguel Pallardo was a starter in the formation. Christian Ricardo Stuani was the main reference in attack, ex-Depor keeper Gustavo Munúa was also on the bench, but Catalan Sergio was a starter.

FIRST HALF
It was a fast half; with the ball passing through midfield in a matter of seconds; Levante had the ball possession as Depor was quickly losing the ball, but the locals never found the way to break Depor’s deadlock, and the Galicians were the ones that had the better scoring opportunities. In the end Riki capitalized one of those chances to claim the lead.

However the start was slow; no one dominated the actions within the first five minutes, because both sides were imprecise in attack and therefore there weren’t scoring opportunities. The first approximation for the local came at minute 7 as Pallardo found a rebound at the edge of the area, but his shot went over the crossbar.

And everything changed as Depor struck first during its first approximation to the opposite area, all thanks to Riki. The Madrilenian attacker had the ball at the right wing after collecting a pass from Ruben Pérez, then he eluded a rival and sent a drilling shot to the near post of local keeper Manuel Reina, who was expecting a shot to the far post, therefore he reacted late and the ball entered by his bottom left-corner. It is Riki’s first goal on the liga season.

The goal increased the pace of the game as now Levante was pushing for the equalizer, fact that left the empty spaces that Deportivo needed for the counterattack. At minute 16, Ruben Pérez missed a pass at midfield, which left Stuani with the ball and the Uruguayan striker ran alone into the goal, but Diego Seoane was fast enough to clear the danger.

And in the counterattack of that play Saul made a similar action to the goal of Riki, but this time on the left wing, and local keeper Reina made the save deflecting the ball to corner-kick. Levante was still having the ball possession, mainly because Depor was too vertical, always launching long or quick passes searching for Riki, Saul and Adrian.

Sometimes the trio reached the ball and created some danger, but in the major part of the opportunities the ball ended in the boots of Levante’s players, and then they quickly sought for the goal of Aranzubia.  However Levante wasn’t creating too much danger as it was relying too much on direct football, which made easier the job for Depor’s defensive line.

At minute 29, a cross from the left was searching for Stuani, Aythami cleared the ball, but it went to the path of Ruben Suárez, who attempted from the edge of the area, but the ball went out. Within the final twenty minutes Depor felt the pressure of the locals, but at the same time the Valencians only completed one shot on target.

At minute 36 Riki attempted from the left side of the area, but he missed the target. The first –and only- shot on target for Levante came until minute 39, it was a counterattack for Levante that left Stuani alone on the left side of the box, and his drilling shot was saved by Aranzubia. The final opportunity in the half was for Depor, Saul combined with Riki and the Madrilenian drilled a pass to Adrian, but the Asturian attacker couldn’t bet Reina.

SECOND HALF
The final part was divided in two stages, in the first Depor seemed wiser and with the needed punch in attack to claim a 0-2 advantage in the scoresheet, result that was inviting to think in a placid match for the Galicians, but the goal of Levante unnerved a Depor that suffered until the final whistle to clinch its first away win in almost a year.

The script was the same at the start of the second part, with Levante pushing up front and with Depor patiently waiting for a chance in a counterattack. The first approximation for the visitors came at minute 48, it was Ruben Perez attempting from long-distance, but the ball went wide.

And the next big chance for Deportivo came at minute 50, a combination between Riki and Manuel Pablo ended with the Canarian releasing a cross from the right, the ball was headed by a defender and then Riki had time to search for the rebound, and in the end Adrian was the one that attempted with a dangerous volley that was cleared to corner-kick by Reina.

And Depor’s second goal came after two straight corner-kicks, the last one was ending in nothing and Levante was ready to release the counterattack, but the locals lost the ball against the pressure of Riki, who passed the ball forward and between two defenders, Aythami Artiles, who was returning after searching for a header in the corner-kick, was suddenly in the middle of the play and somehow he was able to take the ball before the rivals, then he released a beautiful volley from the edge of the area that went to the top left corner of Reina. As it happened in the previous match with Espanyol, the whole team celebrated the second goal at Depor’s bench. It is the first goal in liga for the Canarian defender wearing Depor’s shirt.

The second goal broke Levante in two pieces, mainly because coach Luis Garcia switched into a 4-4-2 system, now with Stuani and Ecuadorian Felipe Caicedo in attack, a modification  that made wider the pitch to Depor, and at the same time easier to release dangerous counterattacks. However, Depor never capitalized those spaces and it was close to pay the price.

In one of Depor’s counterattacks Seoane released a long cross from the left and Riki headed the ball backwards the goal, but Reina made the save (55’). Then Lotina decided to make his first substitution, it was Pablo Alvarez replacing Riki; the change switched Adrian to the striker’s role, while ‘The Shark’ and Saul were now the two playmakers in the formation. At minute 64, a new counterattack led by Manuel Pablo ended with Juan Rodriguez attempting from the edge of the area, but the ball went out.

Depor seemed closer to the third goal than Levante from the first, but the true is that the Valencian team was still insisting, which forced Depor’s defense to be in constant alert. With the pass of the minutes it seemed that Levante was never going to reach Aranzubia’s goal. But the locals finally broke the deadlock of Lotina in its first shot on target in the half. It was a drilling pass to Stuani, who later sent a cross from the right, the ball passed over Caicedo, but ex-Osasuna Juan Luis Gómez ‘Juanlu’ was there to score the goal through a header that went to the back of the net after hitting the ground first.

The goal increased the pressure over Deportivo and moved the game into a new scenario, because Levante was now desperately searching for the equalizer. The Galicians were still losing the ball at ease and the players begun to feel nervous, that’s why Lotina decided to put a third pivote on the field as Juca entered for Saul. But it didn’t change the picture as Depor was still hurrying up the things when all they needed was to remain in calmness. Later Lassad entered to replaced Adrian

The final ten minutes were exciting and at the same time dramatic, and it’s that Levante had four scoring opportunities, two headers from Xisco Nadal (80’) and <>Juanlu (81), a wide shot of Xisco Nadal (89’) and specially a disallowed goal to Stuani when the game was already at the stoppage time (the striker headed the ball inside the area after a cross from the edge of the area, but he was in offside position).

Meanwhile, the desperation of Levante left the impression that Depor could have killed the game before the final whistle, because the counterattacks from the Galicians weren’t finding any opposition, and just the lack of aim from Depor prevented the third goal. The main chance was for Pablo Alvarez after he ran almost the entire pitch to end sending the ball over the crossbar when he was alone against Reina (84’). Later Colotto felt down to the ground when three Depor’s players were facing two rivals (90+2’) and Lassad didn’t reach the ball in the last attack for his tem (90+3’).

AFTER THE GAME
High drama at the Ciutat .de Valencia; Deportivo was effective enough to claim a 0-2 score thanks to the facilities gave by a rival that had the ball possession, but that never knew what to do with it. It seemed to be a tranquil match for Lotina, but his hasty Depor committed a lonely defensive error that cost the goal and to suffer within the final ten minutes. In the end a deserved prize as Depor picked three important points that are pulling the team outside of relegation.

And it’s that now Depor is 15th in the table with ten points, just above Almeria (9), Hércules (9), Levante (8), Zaragoza (7) and Malaga (7). On next Sunday Deportivo will play again outside home, it will be the visit to the One Stadi in order to face RCD Mallorca (17h00 CET).

MATCH STATISTICS
Levante: (4-2-3-1) Reina - Javi Venta, Ballesteros, Nano, Del Horno - Sergio, Pallardó (Xavi Torres 54’) – Valdo (Caicedo 54’), Rubén Suárez (Xisco Nadal 66’), Juanlu – Stuani.
Deportivo: (5-2-2-1) Aranzubia - Manuel Pablo, Colotto, Aythami, Lopo, Seoane - Rubén Pérez, Juan Rodríguez – Saúl (Juca 68’), Adrián (Lassad 84’) – Riki (Pablo Álvarez 61’).
Goals: 0-1: (9’) Riki, 1-2 (52’) Aythami, 1-2 (72’) Juanlu
Referee: Fernando Teixeira Vitienes. He showed yellow card to Nano (44’), Del Horno (90+1’), Lassad (90+2’) and Colotto (90+3’).
Venue: Ciutat de Valencia (9,997)
Other statistics: Ball possession (61% - 39%); Total shots (10 - 11); Shots on target (2 - 6); Saves by the keepers (4 - 1); Corner-kicks  (11 - 5); Offsides (4 - 1); Fouls committed (14 - 18); Accuracy in the passes (81.53% - 70.36%)

* RESULTS & STANDINGS

ARCHIVE NEWS NOV/10

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