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REVIEW: DEPORTIVO 2 – ALMERIA 3 (COPA)

20 Jan 2011
Depor eliminated from Copa Del Rey although it fought until the end; two consecutive goals of Almeria put things almost impossible, but Lotina’s side equalized the game to end falling down after a controversial call from the referee.

BEFORE THE GAME
Lotina surprised everybody with a defensive 4-2-3-1 scheme, just when his team needed goals in order to pass the round. The big news was that Iago Beceiro was sat on the bench as he entered into the final list of 18 men for the encounter. Manu was at the goal, Laure covered the right-back spot, Manuel Pablo performed on the left and the central defenders were Aythami Artiles and Ze Castro.

At midfield there was a trivote figure, with Brazilian Juca at the centre, Antonio Tomás performing towards the left and Ruben Perez doing the same at the right; Pablo Álvarez and Juan Carlos Valerón were the two playmakers in the formation and the central attacker was Lassad.

There were a few surprises at Almeria too, because coach Jose Maria Oltra reserved Argentines Ulloa and Piatti; their spots were covered by Juanma Ortiz and Swedish Henok Goitom. Albert Crusat was another important player in the game as he was attacking from the left flank.

FIRST HALF
Entertaining first half in which Almeria surprised with its offensive approach, Depor had a few chances at the beginning, but two consecutive goals from the Andalusians drained its spirit. But in the end Depor was able to score from a penalty spot. Depor started needing to score twice in order to advance… and ended the half needing three goals.

However it was a calmed start, with Depor trying to have the ball possession and with an Almeria squad that was putting pressure in attack, which was forcing the Galicians to release long passes that were easily controlled by the visitors. The first approximation for the locals came at minute 4; it was a high cross of Pablo Álvarez from the right that didn’t find a receiver, in the end Jakobsen cleared the danger.

Then the match turned into an entertaining game between two sides that were openly searching for the opposite goal. At minute 7, Manuel Pablo hit the post, it was a drilling cross from Laure that the Canarian found at the far post, and his attempt just met the wood. Almeria responded with a counterattack in which the twisted shot of Goitom hit the far post, the rebound went into the path of Crusat and he released a shot on target that was saved by Manu.

In the next play Goitom sent a high cross from the left that Crusatmet at the far post, but his final attempt went wide. Depor responded immediately and the cross from Laure found Pablo Alvarez at the box, he was backwards the goal and his final attempt after turning off was going to the left-bottom corner of visiting keeper Esteban, who made a great save clearing the ball to corner-kick.

At minute 15, Crusat tried to surprise Manu with a direct free-kick that hit the roof of the net. Despite that Lotina was trying to control midfield territory with three men playing there, the true was that both Depor and Almeria were finding enough space to release their attacks, with interesting actions occurring at both goals; Depor tried to move the ball with criterion over the grass, while the Andalusians were releasing fast attacks that were giving a lot of problems to the locals.

And in two of those actions the visitors scored the first two goals on the match; the first after a long ball possession for the Andalusians, which ended with Juanma Ortiz sending a perfect drilling cross from the right side, then Miguel Angel García ‘Corona’ met the ball at the penalty spot to cross Manu. The fans at the Riazor were still in shock when the second goal arrived; it was a ball that Juanma Ortiz found inside the box, he attempted to shot on target, but the ball hit Ze Castro, then it went into the path of Crusat, who tried to release a drilling attempt, but the ball hit Laure and turned into a volley that passed over the head of Manu, who couldn’t clear the ball as he jumped for it.

Suddenly, Depor was needing four goals in order to pass the round, a big mountain for a team that was coming after spending the last three matches scoreless. It clearly affected the spirit of a Deportivo that was looking dangerous at the beginning, but that, again, was too soft at defense. Now the Galicians were looking confused and demotivated, and missed to reach the goal of Esteban for several minutes.

Meanwhile, Almeria was feeling pretty comfortable, and actually it was the most dangerous side on the pitch on this part of the match. At minute 29, a new attack from the visitors almost meant the third goal, but the pass of Corona was intercepted by Manuel Pablo.  The last 20 minutes were a monologue for Almeria; the visitors were placidly moving the ball from side to side, while Depor was trying to attack, but without depth or effectiveness in its passes.

Deportivo had a new chance at minute 39, it was a corner-kick of Juca that Pablo Alvarez headed at the far post, the ball hit the crossbar but the play was invalidated by an offside of Lassad. It seemed that nothing was going to change, but then Depor found a goal in penalty action.

Valerón drilled a pass to the right side of the area, Laure arrived on time and released a drilling cross that Pablo Alvarez met at the box, he was backwards the goal and then he was pulled down by Crusat; referee Iturralde González whistled the penalty and Pablo Álvarez himself came to score the goal for Depor with a shot that went to the top-right side of Esteban. Depor pushed in the final minutes seeking for more, but the score at halftime was 1-2.

SECOND HALF
The Galicians pushed strongly at the start of the half, this time they found an early goal, but immediately a bad call of the referee put the things at the same point. At least Lotina’s side continued pushing in attack, although they missed more punch and ended eliminated from the competition.

Depor had its first attempt to score at minute 48, again Valerón assisted Laure at the right, then the defender released a cross into the box that Pablo Álvarez found at the penalty spot, the winger headed the ball, but it went over the crossbar. Then Lotina made his first substitution allowing the entry of Adrian for Antonio Tomás.

The change switched the scheme to a 4-2-3-1 figure; with Lassad at the left wing, Pablo Álvarez on the right, Valerón at the playmaking function and Adrian was now the central attacker. And the modification worked out as the Asturian was the one that scored the equalizer. It was a new play on the right side in which Laure fought until the end for the ball; Adrian collected it at the edge of the area, and then he passed it again to Laure, who released a perfect cross into the penalty spot that Adrian headed on target, the ball was going into the path of Esteban, the keeper should have stopped the attempt, but instead it hit his chest and then went into the back of the net.

Now the Riazor was dreaming with the comeback as Depor was needing two more goals, but Iturralde González broke all the hopes as he whistled a rare penalty; it was after corner-kick for Almeria in which Ruben Perez was pulled by Pellerano and then the ball hit the hand of the midfielder, but the referee just saw the hand and whistled the penalty. Then Goitom came to score the third goal and again Depor was needing three goals to pass to semifinals.

Then Lotina made a new change as Desmarets entered for Lassad, as he promised the day before, his two main strikers didn’t play the full match. And in the next play the French was fouled at the edge of the area; Juca took the free-kick and his shot just went close to the top-right corner of Esteban (60’). The game was now broken, Depor was still insisting, while Almeria was trying to score through a counterattack. At minute 64, Adrian made a great play as he chipped the ball over the defense, Desmarets found the ball inside the box, but his final attempt went wide.

 At least Depor was not giving up, because it pushed strongly for the equalizer. With the pass of the minutes it was clear that Almeria was tired, as the visitors were now missing depth in attack.  But it was the same for Depor. At the 69th minute, a great play of Valerón didn’t end in goal, because the short-range shot of Laure hit a defender. It was one of the few chances  at this stage of the game. Then Lotina sent Iago Beceiro to the pitch as he replaced Pablo Álvarez.

History was made as the 17-year-old striker became into the first player that debuts with the first team after passing through all the youth teams starting from Alevin B. The young striker covered the right wing and appeared a few times, though without having a clear attempt to score a goal. Actually, now the enthusiasm of the whole Depor’s team was fading away, the Galicians were not finding the last pass, while the Andalusians were more worried in having the ball possession than is searching for more goals, though they had a final chance in a counterattack in which Corona sent the ball over the crossbar (88’).

AFTER THE GAME
Depor scored the two needed goals, but it wasn’t counting in meeting an offensive Almeria that scored three times, though the third goal was more for the bad decision of referee Iturralde González. The true is that the Andalusians deserved the qualification due to their effort in both legs, while Depor paid the price for the casualties and for been reserving key players for la liga competition.

The best news was to see the debut of Iago Beceiro with the first team, although he barely touched the ball. Now Lotina could be content as his team can focus in la liga; the next match is a important one as the Galicians visits La Romareda in order to face Real Zaragoza (Sunday, 17h00 CET).

MATCH STATISTICS
Deportivo: (5-1-3-1) Manu – Laure, Aythami, Zé Castro, Manuel Pablo –Ruben Perez, Juca - Antonio Tomas (Adrian 50’)  - Pablo Álvarez (Iago Beceiro 71’), Valerón – Lassad (Desmarets 59’).
Almeria: (4-2-3-1) Esteban - Michel, Carlos García, Pellerano, Jakobsen, – Juanito (Vargas 46’), M'Bami, - Juanma Ortiz (Jonathan 64’), Corona, Crusat (Piatti 83’) - Goitom.
Goals 0-1 (19’) Corona, 0-2: (20’) Crusat, 1-2: (43’) Pablo Álvarez (penalty), 2-2: (51’) Adrian, 2-3: (55’) Goitom (penalty)
Referee: Eduardo Iturralde González. He showed yellow card to Aythami (16’), Pablo Álvarez (35’), Crusat (43’) and Vargas (88’)
Venue: Riazor (8,000)
Other statistics: Ball possession (52% - 48%); Total shots (11 - 13); Shots on target (3 - 4); Saves by the keepers (1 - 1); Corner-kicks  (6 - 5); Offsides (2 - 3); Fouls committed (15 - 15); Accuracy in the passes (89.61% - 83.54%)

ARCHIVE NEWS JAN/11

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