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REVIEW: DEPORTIVO 2 – MALLORCA 1 (LIGA)

04 Apr 2011
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide: Depor shows its two faces. The entry of Valerón changed a game that seemed lost; the Canarian participated in both goals and helped Depor to clinch its first comeback win on the season plus three vital points.

BEFORE THE GAME
Lotina made two modifications to the expected lineup; the first was the continuity of Manuel Pablo at the left-back position leaving Morel on the bench. The other was the surprising appearance of Pablo Álvarez on the right wing, leaving Adrian also at the bench. The two players falling from the list of twenty men were Sand and Juan Dominguez.

The draw was still a 4-2-3-1, with Dani Aranzubia at the goal; Laure played at the right-back position, Manuel Pablo was at the left, while the central defenders were Lopo and Colotto. Juan Rodriguez and Ruben Pérez were the two pivotes, Pablo Álvarez performed at the right wing, Guardado attacked from the left flank, Lassad was the playmaker and Xisco the central striker.

At Mallorca, coach Laudrup was presenting the expected 4-2-3-1 lineup, with the only novelty of French Michael Pereira playing on the left wing taking the spot of Uruguayan Gonzalo Castro.  The main reference in attack was still Cameroonian veteran Pierre Webó. To mention that at least 2,000 fans were waiting for the team since four hours before the kick-off, it was a concentration organized by the Riazor Blues trying to cheer up the players at this complicate moment.

FIRST HALF
Dr. Jekyll. Deportivo left that same disturbing impression of past occasions as it was a soulless team on the pitch. It was supposed to be an offensive formation, but in the end it was just a fairy tale; because Deportivo never completed a shot on target and neither created a clear scoring opportunity throughout the first half. Actually, the team was dead and never demonstrated the commitment needed at this critical moment. Neither Mallorca did nothing from the other world, but at least was able to score the goal during its main opportunity.

The first ten minutes were equal; with Depor having a little advantage in terms of ball possession, but both teams missed to create any scoring opportunity. Mallorca was hurrying too much the plays, which caused inaccuracies in the passes. Meanwhile, Deportivo wasn’t reaching the area of the visitors, mainly because the connection between Lassad and Xisco was off, while Guardado and Pablo Álvarez were well marked at the sides.

The next ten minutes were more of the same; the game was boring as there weren’t clear scoring attempts. Depor was reduced to play through long throws coming from defense or long crosses of Manuel Pablo that ended in nowhere. The only approximation with some sort of danger was a cross of Laure from the right that Aouate had to clear with one hand (23’).

Neither Mallorca was doing too much; the visitors were well placed at defense and were practicing a fast and precise football at midfield, but since that point they were flat in attack, without depth and always missing the last pass to create any danger against Aranzubia.

And suddenly, without any warning, Mallorca scored the first goal in the game. Nsue found the ball at the edge of the area and passed it to Marti, who was alone enough on the right wing to end releasing a cross into the penalty spot, Pierre Webó anticipated both Lopo and Aranzubia to score the goal with a crossed header. It is the seventh goal on the season for him.

There was no reaction from the Galicians in the remaining eighteen minutes of the first part; Depor was still a disaster in attack and the team was unable create any scoring opportunity. It was pretty clear that the team was needing a guide at midfield. Meanwhile, Mallorca was now relying on the counterattack, which gave the ball possession to the locals, but they never knew what to do with it. The fans feared the worst as until this matchday Depor had never achieved a comeback in the scoresheet.

The only interesting plays came within the last five minutes, first a combination between Guardado and Manuel Pablo on the left wing ended with the Canarian releasing a drilling cross that Pablo Álvarez found inside the box, but the winger couldn’t shot on target as he fell down to the ground after been pulled by Ramis (40’), but the referee Teixeira Vitienes didn’t whistle anything.

In the last play of the half Laure released a cross from the right, but neither Xisco nor Lassad found the ball at the box (45’). The half ended with the public pretty upset with the referee for not coinciding the penalty, even Aranzubia and Guardado were booked for the protests.

SECOND HALF
Mr. Hide. And Depor resurrected in the second part as it was a hurricane that harassed Mallorca and that even deserved to score more than two goals. The changing factor was the entry of Juan Carlos Valerón, El Flaco was the missing link that Lotina’s team needed at midfield. His entry just plugged everybody else.

And it’s that Lotina was pretty upset with the performance of the team in the first part and he ordered the entry of the Canarian playmaker since the start claiming the place of a disappointing Pablo Álvarez. The change moved Lassad to the left wing, Guardado to the right leaving Valerón at the playmaking function.

It was the right call as the modification brought some impulse to the team, just one minute after the start of the half Ruben Pérez stole the ball at the edge of the area and ended throwing a volley that Xisco headed at the penalty spot, but his attempt went out.

Valerón was what Depor needed, because he was giving the so precious passes between the lines that were allowing the long runs of Guardado and the quick plays of Lassad and Xisco. The game became pretty as Mallorca was giving some problems in its counterattacks, like a shot of Nsue that Aranzubia stopped (52’).

But almost all the danger was created by Depor. At minute 54, a long play of the Galicians ended with Laure releasing a high cross from the right wing that Manuel Pablo found at the far post, but his final shot went wide. And just one minute later Deportivo found the deserved equalizer. And all thanks to Valerón, who stole the ball at midfield to Joao Victor to end drilling a perfect pass to Xisco, then the Majorcan bet Aouate with a drilling shot from the edge of the area. It is his first goal in liga since his return during the winter window.

The goal raised the spirit of Depor and now the Galicians looked like a re-born team, pretty dangerous with the attacks from the side defenders on the wings, the guidance of Valerón, plus the will of Guardado and Lassad. Then Lotina decided to replace Xisco with Riki.

And the second goal came just two minutes later; Guardado recovered the ball after throwing a free-kick and assisted Valerón, who again drilled a new perfect pass into the area, the ball went into the path of Riki, he couldn’t control the ball as Nunes cleared it with a sliding tackle, but the ball went into the path of Lassad, who scored with a drilling and crossed shot that beat Aouate. It is the fourth goal in liga for the Tunisian.

The goal didn’t change the script as Depor was still pushing for more; at minute 69, Ruben Pérez chipped the ball over the defensive wall of Mallorca, allowing Riki to face Aouate one-on-one, but the Madrilenian striker couldn’t control the ball properly and his final attempt went out. Two minutes later Guardado fired from the right corner of the box, but his shot was deflected.

At minute 75, Juan Rodriguez made a short pass to Lassad, who eluded four rivals to end chipping the ball, but Aouate cleared the danger. In the resulting corner-kick Lassad found again the ball inside the area, and again the Israeli keeper blocked his shot. The Tunisian, like everybody else, improved a lot in the second half, but ended exhausted, reason why Adrian replaced him to play the final ten minutes.

It must be also explained that the improvement of Deportivo was also a consequence of the distraction and parsimony of Mallorca, side that was lost on the pitch. A situation that was clearly demonstrated in the next attack from the locals: At minute 80, Laure sent a long throw from defense, it seemed to be nothing, but Mallorca’s players never reacted and in the end the long pass left Riki alone against Aouate, but again the ex-Depor goalie blocked the attempt. In the resulting corner-kick the Madrilenian didn’t find the cross of Guardado coming from the right.

At minute 86, there was a clear penalty of Ruben after a challenge over Guardado, but again the referee didn’t whistle anything. Three minutes later Riki assisted Adrian inside the area, and his drilling attempt hit the far post. The game ended with the expulsion of Webo after a fight against Colotto and Ruben Pérez.

AFTER THE GAME
Deportivo showed two opposite faces as it passed from a soulless team in the first part to a hurricane in the second, the decisive factor was the entry of Valerón, who lead the reaction thanks to his guidance at the edge of the area. Mallorca scored first, but later Depor scored twice allowing the first comeback on the liga season.

The win also means to clinch three vital points that leaves the pit five points below Deportivo. On next Sunday there’s a new final for the Galicians as Depor will visit La Rosaleda in order to face Malaga CF, one of the clubs that’s currently living insider the relegation zone.

MATCH STATISTICS
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Laure, Colotto, Lopo, Manuel Pablo – Juan Rodríguez, Rubén Pérez – Pablo Álvarez (Valerón 46’), Lassad (Adrián 79’), Guardado – Xisco (Riki 65’).
RCD Mallorca: (4-2-3-1) Aouate - Cendrós, Nunes, Ramis (Rubén 72’), Kevin -Martí, Joao Víctor - Nsue, Tejera (Gonzalo Castro 66’), Pereira (Victor Casadesus 77’) - Webó
Goals: 0-1: (27’) Webo, 1-1: (55’) Xisco, 2-1: (67’) Lassad
Referee: José Antonio Teixeira Vitienes. He showed yellow card to Aranzubia (45’), Guardado (45+2’), Lassad (63’) and Pereira (74’). Webo was sent off (90’).
Venue: Riazor (22,000)
Other statistics: Ball possession (54% - 46%); Attempts to score (13 – 3); Total shots (15 - 5); Shots on target (6 - 2); Saves by the keepers (2 - 2); Corner-kicks  (6 - 1); Offsides (1 - 5); Fouls committed (14 - 17); Accuracy in the passes (83.33% - 83.77%)

* RESULTS & STANDINGS

ARCHIVE NEWS APR/11

ZAPPING

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