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REVIEW: ALMERIA 1 – DEPORTIVO 0 (COPA)

14 Jan 2011
Grey presentation of a Deportivo that didn’t deserve anything from this match; the Galicians missed more strength in attack and must now define the series at the Riazor. The only good news is that Almeria just achieved a narrow 1-0 win.

BEFORE THE GAME
Lotina sent the expected starting eleven; with Manu at the goal; Manuel Pablo playing at the right-back position; Knut Rindarřy was on the left, while the three central defenders were Ze Castro, Lopo and Rochela. Juan Rodriguez and Ruben Pérez were the two pivotes, Pablo Álvarez and Desmarets were the playmakers in the formation and the central attacker was Lassad.

The novelties were at UD Almeria, because coach Jose Maria Oltra decided to put Albert Crusat on the bench, allowing the entry of Kalu Uche on the left wing; while Danish Michael Jakobsen was replaced by Juanma Ortiz, who was now covering the left-back position as Miguel Angel García ‘Corona’ was performing at the right wing.

FIRST HALF
It was a good start for Deportivo as the attacking line was pretty active against an Almeria that seemed disoriented, but with the pass of the minutes Piatti started to give a lot of problems with his velocity, and in the end the locals scored a lucky goal after a rebound. Later Depor tried to react, but the connection saw at the start of the game was already gone.

The first minutes were calmed, with both teams were holding at the back and trying to not commit any mistake; Depor was having the ball possession and it was the side that had the first attempt to score; it was a cross from the left made by Desmarets, after a rebound Lassad found the ball inside the area, but his strong shot missed the target (7’).

Two minutes later Lassad appeared again as he made a long run on the left, then the Tunisian released a surprising cross that keeper Esteban had to clear with his right foot. The scheme of Oltra was pretty offensive, but there was a disconnection between midfield and attack, reason within the first fifteen minutes the locals didn’t have any clear attempt to score.

Depor, meanwhile, was feeling pretty comfortable moving quickly the ball,  especially on the left wing, side where Desmarets and Lassad were pretty active, even Pablo Álvarez was moving to this side of the pitch in order to combine with his partners in attack.

The first approximation for Almeria came at minute |16, it was counterattack after Rindarřy lost the ball in attack, the play ended with Piatti releasing a drilling shot from the edge of the area, and the ball went close to the far post of Manu. And two minutes later the locals had another big opportunity; this time Ruben Perez lost the ball at midfield and Ulloa ended alone against Manu, but the shot of the Argentine striker was cleared to corner-kick by Rochela.

The resulting corner-kick also brought danger to Manu as in a secondary play Piatti entered to the area by the left side, he was alone against Depor’s keeper, but the Argentine sent the ball out. Those actions balanced the match as the Andalusians were now having more depth in attack, while Depor was still focused in releasing counterattacks, mainly by the left side. Pablo Álvarez was pretty active in the game, always involved in the actions.

But the side that scored the goal was Almeria; it was a confusing play at Depor’s defense; Juanma Ortiz entered to the area by the left and attempted to score from close range, the ball was cleared by Rochela, but went again into the path of Ortiz, who tried to drill the ball between Depor’s defense, luckily for him the ball hit the heal of Rindarřy and entered into the goal. It seemed to be an own-goal, but the referee gave the goal to Almeria’s player.

The goal brought fresh air to Almeria, while Depor was trying to do something, but without doing any damage to the rival. The locals were even close to score a second goal as a combination between M’bami and Michel left the defender alone against Manu, but the left-back sent the ball over the crossbar (40’).

SECOND HALF
If Depor was a pale team at the end the first part, then it was a ghost in the second half of the match, because the Galicians did nothing, just a shot of Lassad that hit the post. Not even the entry of Valerón changed the picture as Lotina’s team never knew what to do against one of the worst defensive lines in Spain. Almeria even deserved a bigger win, but it wasted the opportunity to define the series.

Lotina made a change at half-time, it was the entry of Aythami for Lopo; it wasn’t clear if the substitution was made thinking of the liga game with Valencia or if the Catalan central defender had some kind of injury.

Almeria started strongly in the second part, at minute 47 Piatti couldn’t head a cross from the left coming from Corona, and then Uche missed the target from close after a drilling pass of Piatti himself. Depor reached at minute 4, it was a pass of Pablo Alvarez to Desmarets, then the French released a drilling shot from the edge of the area that was blocked by Esteban (49’). That was the first shot on target made by Depor in the game.

The biggest chance for the visitors in this match came at minute 56; Lassad found the ball near to midfield, then he ran 15 meters to end releasing a strong and drilling shot that hit the left post of Esteban, lucky for the keeper the ball went out instead of going into the goal.

With 30 minutes remaining in the clock, Lotina sent his second substitution to the pitch as Valerón replaced Pablo Alvarez, move that was trying to give fresh ideas to a team that, despite the attempt of Lassad, was clearly disconnected. However, El Flaco couldn’t do anything and Depor ended to be a team without depth . There weren’t more opportunities to score the equalizer.

But the game was pretty opened at this stage of the match, with Depor trying to push in attack, and with Almeria trying to define the game through a counterattack.  One of those counterattacks almost end in the second goal for the locals as Piatti, the best man for the locals, chipped the ball into the edge of the area, and youngster Jonathan, who had replaced Uche some minutes before, missed the change as he was alone at the edge of the area, because his final attempt went over the crossbar (69’).

Within the final fifteen minutes Almeria seemed closer to score the second than Depor of reaching the tie, but there weren’t  more opportunities in the game, actually Lotina seemed pretty satisfied as instead of allowing the entry of Adrian he decided to replace Juan Rodriguez with Juca, a change at midfield that never affected the attacking line.

AFTER THE GAME
Horrible game of a Deportivo that seemed alive within the first twenty minutes, but that later lost all its ideas against an offensive Almeria that missed the chance to achieve a bigger score. It should be reminded as Depor’s  worst presentation on this season playing for this competition.

Now, Depor needs a 2-0 win at the Riazor (Wednesday, 20h00 CET) in order to advance to semifinals; but before that clash Lotina’s team will pay a visit to Mestalla in order to play against Valencia FC , which is the last liga matchday of the first round.
 
MATCH STATISTICS
Almeria: (4-2-3-1) Esteban - Michel Macedo, Carlos García, Marcelo Silva, Juanma Ortiz - Mbami, Bernardello – Corona (Pellerano 87’), Piatti (Crusat 75’), Uche (Jonathan 66’) - Ulloa
Deportivo: (5-2-2-1) Manu - Manuel Pablo, Zé Castro, Rochela, Lopo (Aythami 46’), Rindarřy - Rubén Pérez, Juan Rodríguez (Juca 68’) - Pablo Álvarez (Valerón 59’), Desmarets - Lassad
Goal: 1-0 (34’) Juanma Ortiz
Referee: Xavier Estrada Fernández. He showed yellow card to M’Bami (32’), Marcelo Silva (42’), Bernardello (62’), Rochela (73’), Juca (87’) and Carlos García (89’)
Venue: Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos (3,000)
Other statistics: Ball possession (53% - 47%); Total shots (8 - 6); Shots on target (1 - 2); Saves by the keepers (2 - 1); Corner-kicks  (3 - 4); Offsides (3 - 3); Fouls committed (19 - 12); Accuracy in the passes (82.57% - 86.59%)

ARCHIVE NEWS JAN/11

ZAPPING

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