Squad news

PREVIEW: DEPORTIVO – CORDOBA (COPA)

05 Jan 2011
Again Depor and Cordoba are making rotations in order to face the Copa; Lotina keeps the mystery at his starting squad, while the Andalusians are having problems at defense.

STATISTICS: GOOD NUMBERS
Deportivo has never been eliminated by a Segunda club in Copa after the Galician team clinched a positive result in a first-leg played away from La Coruña. Actually, Depor has only lost five of the thirty-eight series in which the team added at least a draw in a first-leg played away from the Riazor; and those five setbacks occurred against historic clubs that were at Primera División: RCD Espanyol (2007/08),  Atletico Madrid (2003/04 & 1998/99), Valencia CF (1942/43) and Real Betis (1969/70).

And there’s more, because Córdoba has visited the Riazor in five opportunities playing for Primera División, and in those five meetings the Andalusians were defeated, the last time was on the campaign 1971/72 (3-2).
Besides, Depor is living a positive moment in la liga competition, with fourteen points added within the last eight matches, plus to remember that the Galicians clinched a valuable 1-1 draw in the first-leg of the Copa series, which allows to Lotina’s team to just need a scoreless match in order to reach the quarterfinals round for the third time in five years.

Meanwhile, Córdoba CF is still living close to the danger zone; the Andalusians lost on Sunday at Albacete Balompié (0-1), and now they are just two points above the relegation zone at Segunda División. Their main problem continues to be at defense as Los Blanquiverdes have allowed twenty-four goals after eighteen games in the liga competition.

DEPORTIVO: MYSTERY
Coach Miguel Ángel Lotina wants to have tension at his squad ahead of the match in Copa Del Rey, firstly he tested several possibilities with the lineup during Tuesday’s training session, then he decided to make public the list of picked players until Wednesday (after the training scheduled at 11h00 CET). Therefore it is uncertain the kind of lineup that he will present before Córdoba CF. And it’s that the Meñaka-born coach fears that his team could face the game more worried of upcoming clash with Barcelona, that’s why he is trying to motivate his men using the tactic of the tension inside the team.

But there are some facts taken for granted, more specifically five situations that have a direct impact in the lineup for the match. First is that Lotina will keep trusting in goalkeeper Manuel Fernandez ‘Manu’ for Copa Del Rey, this despite his error in the first-leg game. Secondly, Juan Rodriguez will be a starter as he is suspended for the liga clash against Barcelona FC after been sent off with two yellow cards against Athletic Bilbao.

At the same time midfielders Ruben Pérez and Juca had a virus and the coach prefers to reserve them for la liga, so they won’t be at the Riazor on Wednesday’s night. Fourthly, the Basque manager announced that he will pick Fabril’s striker Dionisio Emmanuel Villalba ‘Dioni’, who could even be a starter in the game. Finally, Riki and Guardado will stay sidelined from the team as the doctors aren’t allowing their return, actually Lotina said that they could remain out for another fifteen days.

The rest is a real mystery, although Lotina announced that he will make ‘several’ changes compared to the team that clinched the win at San Mamés. The media expects that he will keep using a 5-2-2-1 lineup, with Manu at the goal, probably Laure will stay at the right-back position, while one of the big doubts is at the left side, on Tuesday Rindarøy was training without problems after having foots blisters on the past weekend, the Norwegian might been included in the list for the game, but Claudio Morel could also be a starter.

At the centre of the defense, Lotina will at least keep one of his three starting central defenders, probably it will be Aythami Artiles, while the other two could be David Rochela and Ze Castro, this last one missed the game against Athletic due to a virus –the same one affecting Juca and Ruben Perez-

Midfield should be the clearest sector, because with Ruben Pérez and Juca out of the clash the two pivote positions should be for Juan Rodriguez and Juan Dominguez. Different is the situation in attack, because Lotina has plenty of choices for the playmaker’s roles: Pablo Alvarez, Urreta, Valerón, Saúl and Desmarets, though it isn’t known yet what the coach will do now that Urreta has said that he wants to leave.

The position of central striker is disputed between Lassad and Dioni; it isn’t probable that Adrian will play after his shined at San Mamés, because Depor’s coach will probably reserve him for the visit of Barcelona FC.

Before the clash Juan Dominguez was talking of the meaning of this series in Copa Del Rey, “It wouldn’t be a disaster if they eliminate us, because they already did it with Racing, which is another Primera club, however this is a pretty competition and we will fight until the end in order to advance. It is true that against Córdoba we are the favorites, because we play at home and also because we achieved a positive result there, but it’s also true that we are forced to win and shouldn’t despise the rival.”

List of picked players: It will be released until Wednesday.

CORDOBA: LIGA OR COPA?
The Andalusians are more worried of the situation in liga than of been at the edge of reaching the quarterfinals in Copa. And it’s that Cordoba will also make a lot of rotations for this match, mainly because they prefer to reserve their best men for the Segunda campaign. Still, they are suffering the same old problem of the whole season: to allow late goals. On Sunday they were clinching an important point at Albacete, but a goal at minute 77 broke the game and the defeat put them just two points above relegation, which is their worst position so far on the season. Now all the eyes are on the crucial meeting against direct rival SD Ponferradina (Saturday at home), reason why coach Lucas Alcaraz is making rotations for this game.

To make things worse there are huge problems at defense, Miguel Tena and David De Coz are suspended in liga after picking the fifth yellow card of the season against Albacete, while Gaspar Gálvez is out injured, reason why the coach only has three central defenders available for the game against Ponferradina: Richy, Agus and Alberto Aguilar. At least Alcaraz is recovering left-back Juan Rafael Fuentes after surpassing a stress fracture injury.

So, the composition of the squad against Depor is marked by the players that Alcaraz will use in liga on Saturday. That’s why Richy wasn’t picked and neither Alberto Aguilar. In the end the coach had to pick 21-year-old José Fernandez from Cordoba B in order to fill the gaps at defense. The scorer of the goal on the first-leg, Oriol Riera, is also out of the clash at the Riazor. Besides, for the first time on the season the team is travelling and returning from an away game in the same day of the encounter, this in order to give more rest to the players ahead Saturday’s crucial match at El Arcángel stadium.

All of this confirms that Alcaraz is not too worried about the game in Copa, though he will try to put the best team according to the circumstances. At the Riazor it is expected a 4-4-2 lineup. With Alberto García at the goal, David De Coz will be covering the right-back position, while Miguel Tena and Agustín García ‘Agus’ will cover the centre of the defense, Fuentes should be returning to the left side.

At midfield Fernando Usero and Iago Beobide will cover the pivote functions, Juanmi Callejon was one of the most dangerous players on the first-leg, and now he will try to repeat that role on the right wing, while David Arteaga will attack from the left.

The duo in attack will be composed by ex-Real Sociedad man Iñigo Díaz de Cerio and ex-Pontevedra attacker Charles Días de Oliveira, this last one has scored four goals on the Segunda season. In resume seven changes compared to the starting team that lost at Albacete.

One of the players that was left out from the list is Oriol Riera, the scorer of the goal in the first-leg match, he was saying that the players are optimistic ahead of this clash, “A Copa match is always different and the morale is high, because we are playing well and achieved  a positive result in the first game. A goal would put us back into the series and we will try to achieve it. In liga things are different, we will try to follow the line shown against Albacete, because we played well and just missed the goals, if we score the goals and play well, then the results will come.”

List of picked players (18): Alberto, Jesús Coca (goalkeepers); De Coz, José Fernández, Agus, Tena, Fuentes (defenders); Juanmi Callejón, Usero, Arteaga, Sesma, Alberto Aguilar, Javi Flores, Iago Beobide, Cabrera (midfielders); Pepe Díaz, De Cerio and Charles (strikers).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Deportivo: (5-2-2-1) Manu - Laure, Zé Castro, Aythami, Rochela, Morel - Juan Rodríguez Juan Dominguez - Pablo Álvarez, Valerón - Lassad or Dioni.
Córdoba CF: (4-4-2) Alberto - De Coz, Agus, Tena, Fuentes - Juanmi Callejón, Usero, Beobide, Arteaga – Charles, De Cerio.
Referee: Alfonso Javier Álvarez Izquierdo
Kick-off: 20h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs. Córdoba: 5 wins for Depor, 3 draws, 3 wins for Córdoba (Primera & Copa)
Record at the Riazor: 5 wins for Depor, 0 draws, 0 wins for Córdoba (Primera)

ARCHIVE NEWS JAN/11

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