Squad news

REVIEW: DEPORTIVO 0 – LEVANTE 1 (LIGA)

21 Mar 2011
One of Depor’s worst matches on the season, just when the fans were expecting to watch a final sprint as the team was facing a crucial moment on the competition. The win of Levante was fair, but also cruel as the goal came at minute 90.

BEFORE THE GAME
Coach Miguel Ángel Lotina decided to play with Juan Rodriguez in the playmaking function, leaving Michel sat on the bench and Juan Dominguez at the stands. It was the lonely novelty at the expected 4-2-3-1 formation. The other man discarded from the list of twenty players was French Yves Desmarets.

Dani Aranzubia was the starting goalie, Laure was covering the right-back position, Manuel Pablo was fulfilling his match number 25, which means to sign the extension of his contract. The Canarian was playing on the left side, Colotto and Lopo were the central defenders. Antonio Tomás and Rubén Pérez were the pivotes, Adrian and Guardado played on the wings and Lassad Nouioui was the central attacker.

At Levante, coach Luis Garcia Plaza was presenting the expected 4-2-3-1 formation, with Ecuadorian Felipe Caicedo as the main threat in attack, and with his compatriot Jefferson Montero attacking from the right wing. Ex-Celta veteran Juanfran< was claiming the spot of Del Horno at the left-back position.

FIRST HALF
During the week there were a lot of comments appointing to this game as a crucial meeting in the quest for the permanence, but it seems that those words never reached the ears of Deportivo’s players, because the Galician was an apathetic and soulless team that barely presented problems to Munúa; actually the Valencians were the most dangerous side on the pitch and had the best chances to score, something that was clear in both halves.

The first attempt to score in the game was for Levante; Juanlu released a cross from the left and Valdo headed the ball inside the area, but his effort went over the crossbar (3’). It was a slow start for Depor as the Galicians lasted seven minutes in reaching the opposite area, but when they did it for the first time they were close to score. It was a combination between Manuel Pablo, Juan Rodriguez and Lassad that allowed this last player to fire from the edge of the area, and Munúa made a great save clearing the danger to corner-kick. But it was just a mirage, because that was the only dangerous play of Depor in the whole game.

And it’s that Levante was an uncomfortable rival for Depor; it was pushing in attack and reached the area of Aranzubia at ease. At minute 10, a corner of Juanfran was close to end in goal as Valdo headed the ball inside the box, but his attempt went over the crossbar. At minute 14, Jefferson Montero was firing from the edge of the area, and Aranzubia cleared the danger.

Depor, meanwhile, was playing too hurried on the pitch; the Galicians were missing too many passes and neither Guardado nor Adrian were bringing the needed depth in order to surpass the wall of the visitors. Antonio Tomas and Rubén Pérez were always surpassed by Iborra and Xavi Torres; therefore Lotina’s side was only relying in any isolate play of Adrian.

More dangerous were the attacks of Los Granotes as they were seizing the inaccuracies of the locals launching dangerous and fast attacks, mainly led by Jefferson Montero At minute 21, the Ecuadorian made a great play on the right and the ball ended on the boots of Caicedo, who fired from the box and Aranzubia made a great save. In the counterattack of that play the public at the Riazor witnessed the first –and only- combination between Lassad and Adrian, which ended with a cross of the Asturian attacker from the right wing that was intercepted by Munúa.

Levante was clearly the side with more fresh ideas on the pitch; at minute 30 Caicedo collected a long cross at the area, he made an assist with the heel to Juanlu, who fired a rocket from the edge of the area, but he missed the target.

Meanwhile, Depor was still lost; the Galicians weren’t stepping into the area of the Valencians and Depor’s players started to attempt through long-range shots, like the one of Guardado that missed the target (32’). Four minutes later, the Mexican winger appeared again to make a great play on the left, but his cross didn’t find a receiver.

Things ended complicated for Levante as Caicedo twisted his knee during an attacking play and he had to be replaced by Stuani. The half ended with one scoring opportunity for each side, first Adrian made a great play on the left, but his volley was easily caught by Munúa (90+1’). In the counterattack of that play Stuani missed a great chance after collecting a volley inside the area, but he didn’t know what to do and Aranzubia cleared the danger.

SECOND HALF
The public at the Riazor was still waiting for signs of life coming from Deportivo, but the second part just confirmed that the Galicians were a dead team walking. Not even the late changes of Lotina cleared the picture and Levante continued enjoying of the ball possession and the best opportunities to score.

Depor’s first approximation on this half came at minute 47; it was a new play of Guardado in which the Mexican released a cross from the left of the area and searching for Adrian, but Munúa intercepted the ball. Five minutes later Lassad was finding the ball at the edge of the area, but his crossed shot missed the target. As it happened in the first part, the first attacks of Deportivo were just a mirage, because it seemed that the team was growing up, but in the end nothing occurred.

It called the attention the fact that Guardado moved his position to the centre, while Juan Rodriguez was now performing on the right wing and Adrian was on the left, but the script was still the same of the first part: Depor had big problems in attack and it wasn’t reaching the opposite area, while Levante was fresher and looking more dangerous, always led by Jefferson Montero.

Depor’s only approximations were coming through long-range attempts, like the one of Ruben Pérez that missed the target (62’). But Levante was still the most dangerous side, one minute later Stuani found the ball at the edge of the area after a long pass coming from defense, but his shot went over the crossbar.

Then Lotina decided to replace Adrian with Pepe Sand. It seemed that Depor’s coach lasted too much with the changes as it was clear that his team was totally harmless, but the true is that the highly expected modifications never influenced the game; actually Argentine Sand barely touched the ball.  Therefore Levante was still the most dangerous side on the pitch; at minute 67, Stuani was assisted by Montero inside the area, but his drilling shot was too easy for Aranzubia.

Depor’s second change was the entry of Saul for Ruben Perez, the move pulled Juan Rodriguez to midfield –his second change of position in the game- while Lassad started to perform on the playmaker role, allowing the presence of Saul on the right wing. This change suited the team as Saul was more participative, but it also brought more problems, because it opened a highway at midfield that gave a lot of problems to Depor’s defense.

For the final thirteen minutes Michel entered for Guardado.  Just like the modification of Sand the Valencian playmaker never appeared in the game as he barely touched the ball. At minute 80, Xisco Nadal was asking for a penalty after a play with Colotto, but referee Clos Gómez, highly protested by both sides due to his small errors, didn’t whistle anything.

The final minutes were intense; practically the ball was going directly from side to side as the midfielders weren’t holding the ball, though both teams were missing to create a clear scoring opportunity. Just Xisco Nadal gave some problems with a strong shot that was repealed by Aranzubia (87’). Levante was now happy with the point and was trying to waste some time, the visitors lost their two main attackers due to injury reasons as Montero had to leave due to a muscular problem, but curiously they scored the goal at this point on the game.

It was just when everything seemed resolved, Lopo committed a foul at the edge of the area and Rubén Suárez, who replaced Montero minutes before, threw the free-kick releasing a shot that drilled the wall and that went directly into the path of Aranzubia, but the keeper wasn’t expecting for the ball and it hit his chest after hitting the ground ending lying at the back of the net.

Depor tried to react, but it was too late. Only a cross of Lassad forced Munúa to appear (90+3’), while Levante was close to capitalise the lack of order at the stoppage time as Valdo collected a cross from the left, but Colotto cleared the danger. (90+3’).

AFTER THE GAME
Painful defeat for a Deportivo that was a simply disappointing; the Galician team never showed the ideas and neither the spirit to win the game. Lotina tried of everything, but nothing worked out. Levante always had the best chances and deserved the victory, though it was also lucky as the winning goal came until the final minute and in an unfortunate play for Aranzubia.

Now Depor is in deep problems, this game was appointed as crucial in the quest for salvation, but at the end of the matchday the Galicians are 16th at the standings, just two points above the pit. There are no liga matches on next weekend due to the international matches of the national teams, so the action returns in a fortnight as Depor host RCD Mallorca at the Riazor.

MATCH STATISTICS
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Laure, Colotto, Lopo, Manuel Pablo – Rubén Pérez (Saúl 70’), Antonio Tomás – Adrián (Sand 64’), Juan Rodríguez, Guardado (Michel 76’) – Lassad
Levante: (4-2-3-1) Munúa - Javi Venta, Ballestero, Nano, Juanfran - Xavi Torres, Iborra – Montero (Rubén Suárez 81’), Valdo, Juanlu (Xisco Nadal 76’) – Caicedo (Stuani 41’).
Goal: 0-1: (90´) Rubén Suárez.
Referee: Carlos Clos Gómez. He showed yellow card to Rubén Pérez (46’), Lopo (72’), Iborra (77’) and Xavi Torres (84’)
Venue: Riazor (18,000)
Other statistics: Ball possession (49% - 51%); Attempts to score (3 – 6); Total shots (10 - 20); Shots on target (3 - 6); Saves by the keepers (5 - 3); Corner-kicks  (5 - 7); Offsides (1 - 5); Fouls committed (14 - 8); Accuracy in the passes (76.38% - 78.90%)

* RESULTS & STANDINGS 

ARCHIVE NEWS MARCH/11

ZAPPING

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