Squad news


24 Jan 2011
The worst match of Depor on the season, just when Lotina’s side was needing to convince and clear out the shadow of the relegation. The Galicians never completed a shot on target and deserved to lose against a rival that, despite its problems, at least it showed spirit.

Lotina was presenting one novelty at the expecting squad; it was the presence of Antonio Tomás replacing Juan Dominguez at midfield. The rest was the expected 5-3-2-1 figure. Aranzubia was the starting goalkeeper, Laure performed on the right-back position, Manuel Pablo was at the left side and the trio at the centre of the defense was composed by Lopo, Colotto and Aythami.

At midfield, there was a trivote figure, with Antonio Tomás at the centre, Rubén Pérez performing towards the left wing, Juan Rodriguez did it towards the right and the duo in attack was composed by Lassad and Adrian.

The big surprise was at Zaragoza, because the Aragonians were playing with two strikers for the first time since the arrival of Mexican coach Javier Aguirre, it was the combination between Braulio and Sinama-Pongolle, which left ex-Depor winger Ángel Lafita sited on the bench

It was a cold weekend in Spain, in Aragon there were negative temperatures during the night before the match, but at the moment of the encounter the temperature was five degrees Celsius. Also, before the kick-off the movement that’s fighting against president Agapito Iglesias distributed posters with the legend “Zaragoza si, Agapito no!” which were shown by part of the stadium during the presentation of both squads.

Boring first part between two sides that showed why they have so many problems to score the goals; Zaragoza had two strikers on the pitch, but it barely stepped into the area of Aranzubia, while Depor was having the ball, but as always without the needed depth.  The only goal came in a direct free-kick, which was an unfortunate play for Depor as the ball hit Lassad before going into the back of the net.

The first five minutes were dominated by Deportivo; the Galicians had the ball possession and were constantly stepping into the area of Zaragoza, though without creating any dangerous play. The first attempt to score came until minute 10, it was Laure with a cross from the right that was stopped by local keeper Leo Franco.

Zaragoza approached to the area of Depor until minute 12; it was a play of Ander Herrera at the left wing in which he eluded three rivals to drill a cross that wasn’t found by anyone at the area. The visitors reclaimed a foul as the Basque player pulled Lopo before sending the cross.

The first big opportunity to score came at minute 15 and it was for Depor; Antonio Tomás drilled a pass into the area, and Adrian faced Leo Franco one-on-one at the right side of the area, the Asturian striker drilled a cross to the centre, and the play ended with Juan Rodriguez releasing a strong shot that went over the crossbar.

Deportivo was feeling pretty comfortable on the grass, and the key was that the trivote at midfield was putting a lot of pressure in the sector, which drained the offensive game of Zaragoza, and when the locals were able to past this obstacle, then they found a trio of central defenders that was blocking everything. At minute 18, a free-kick of Antonio Tomas wasn’t found by Juan Rodriguez or Aythami, and later the danger was cleared by the defense.

With the pass of the minutes the game started to change, the trident of Depor at midfield lowered the pace and it allowed to Zaragoza to try to release fast attacks, but despite having two strikers on the pitch the Aragonians never forced Aranzubia to make a save. At the same time, Depor was having long ball possessions, but it neither created clear scoring opportunities, though it looked like the more ordered team on the pitch.

At minute 33, Depor took a free-kick at the right side of the attack, and the rebound was found by Manuel Pablo, but the Canarian missed the target. And suddenly, without warnings, Zaragoza scored its goal in its only shot on target during the half. It was after Colotto fouled Ander Herrera at the edge of the area.

Dutch Said Boutahar took the free-kick and sent a curved shot that went to the top-corner of the far post, the true is that it was an unlucky play for Aranzubia, because the ball was going in the opposite direction, but it hit the shoulder of Lassad , which fooled the Basque keeper as he lasted some seconds to react, which turned to be deadly for him.

There was no reaction of Depor after the goal; actually it can be said that the Galicians never recovered from the hit. The visitors were trying, but there was no connection between Adrian and Lassad , while the opportunism of the trio at midfield was already gone. And the side that was better in this last part of the half was Zaragoza, the locals were insisting with fast attacks, mainly on the left wing of Ander Herrera, but there were no more scoring attempts.

If the first part of Depor was bad the second was terrible, because the Galicians were mentally blocked by their anxiety to equalize the game and it never gave a problem to a Zaragoza that just spent the time clearing the ball from their zone. Just to mention the fact that Depor didn’t make a single shot on target in the whole match. Lotina is also guilty for the setback as he lasted too much in making the changes.

The start of the second half was a mess, because Depor lacked ideas as it looked desperate to equalize the score, but also Zaragoza had its problems, because it was constantly losing the ball despite having enough spaces to release its quick attacks.

At minute 47, Boutahar appeared again to release a shot from long-distance that was stopped by Aranzubia. Then Javier Aguirre decided to switch the system as Nicolas Bertolo entered for Sinama-Pongolle, and for some minutes the Aragonians looked more dangerous having only one forward on the pitch than when they had two.

Boutahar appeared again at the 58th minute, and again in a direct free-kick that this time was saved by Aranzubia. One minute later Bertolo drilled a pass into the area and Gabi had an attempt to score from the left side, but Depor’s goalie made the save. It was the best moment of Zaragoza in the game, although it only lasted three minutes.

It was pretty clear at the middle of the half that the match was chaotic, full of imprecisions and without a clear dominator; Zaragoza was nervous and committed countless fouls (30 in the whole game, one of the highest numbers on the liga season), but at least it was showing some fighting spirit, while Lotina’s side was too anxious to think and find the way to open the deadlock of the locals. They were pushing in attack, but never created anything against Leo Franco, actually the Galicians never completed a shot on target in the whole game, a single fact that clearly explains the poor presentation of a Depor that needed a positive result in this game.

Neither Lotina did too much to change the picture as he lasted until the final half an hour to make the changes, first sending Pablo Alvarez to replace Juan Rodriguez, and then with the entry of Valerón for Lassad, but it was too late as Depor was mentally blocked and as Zaragoza was already locked at its defensive zone waiting to sentence the game through a counterattack.

At minute 68, Antonio Tomas took a free-kick at the left side, Colotto headed the ball inside the area, but it went wide. That was the only clear approximation of the visitors within the final forty-five minutes.  The final change in the game was the entry of Seoane for Manuel Pablo, who couldn’t end the game after suffering the rude game of Zaragoza. Lopo was another victim of the violence, but at least the Catalan was able to end the match.

Depor was so desperate that it almost allowed a goal in two opportunities in which the Galicians hurried a set-piece, which ended in a long run of a rival against the goal of Aranzubia, but in both opportunities the Basque keeper cleared the danger. Lotina’s side pushed until the final minute, but without ideas, and the side that was closer to score was Zaragoza as Diogo attempted with a long-distance shot at the last minute, but he missed the target.

Terrible, awful, horrible, dreadful… there are a lot of adjectives that can be used to describe the poor game of a soulless Deportivo at La Romareda. The initial 5-3-2-1 figure of Lotina worked for some minutes, but all fell apart after the goal of Zaragoza. In the end the Galicians are returning home without completing a single shot on target and after confirming the rumours about the crisis of its game.

It is the fifth straight defeat for Depor playing for all the competitions (three in liga and two in Copa), and now the ghost of relegation approaches, the Galicians still living at the 13th spot at the standings, but the victories of Sporting and Zaragoza are leaving the pit just four points below them, and with a difficult calendar in the coming weeks, starting with next Saturday’s home game against Sevilla FC (22h00 CET).

Zaragoza: (4-4-2) Leo Franco - Diogo, Jarosik, Contini, Obradovic - Boutahar (Lafita 67’), Ponzio, Gabi, Ander Herrera (Jorge Lopez 83’), - Sinama Pongolle (Bertolo 51’), Braulio
Deportivo: (5-3-2-1) Aranzubia - Laure, Lopo, Aythami, Colotto, Manuel Pablo (Seoane 77’) - Rubén Pérez, Antonio Tomás, Juan Rodríguez (Pablo Álvarez 63’) – Lassad (Valerón 71’), Adrián.
Goal: 1-0: (38’) Boutahar
Referee: David Fernandez Borbalán . He showed yellow card to Andrer Herrera (19’), Obradovic (53’). Ruben Pérez (76’), Contini (87’), Ponzio (90+3’) and Laure (90+4’)
Venue: La Romareda (22,000)
Other statistics: Ball possession (51% - 49%); Total shots (7 - 4); Shots on target (4 - 0); Saves by the keepers (0 - 3); Corner-kicks  (5 - 1); Offsides (5 - 2); Fouls committed (30 - 13); Accuracy in the passes (76.28% - 79.71%)




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