Squad news

REVIEW: BARCELONA 0 – DEPORTIVO 0 (LIGA)

16 May 2011
A passive Depor clinched a golden draw during the title celebration of Barcelona at the Camp Nou; the other results were negative, but Depor still depending on itself.

BEFORE THE GAME
In the end Andrés Guardado wasn’t fit to play and Lotina chose a defensive 4-3-1-2 figure; with a trivote at midfield. Aranzubia was the starting goalkeeper; Laure covered the right-back position, Manuel Pablo played at the left side, while the central defenders were Lopo and Colotto.

At midfield, Aythami Artiles was joining Juan Dominguez and Rubén Pérez at the pivote positions. Juan Rodriguez was supposed to be a starter, but was left at the bench as he was dragging an ankle sprain; Valerón was performing as the playmaker in the formation and the two strikers were Lassad and Adrián López. Mexican Guardado was on the bench, also strikers Riki and Xisco.

Barcelona FC was celebrating the liga title and as it could be expected the major part of the normal starters were at the stands or at the bench, even Pedro and Iniesta were rested, the duo didn’t perform against Levante and it was said that both were going to be starters against Depor. There were three Barca B players at the starting eleven: right-back Marc Bartra plus midfielders Jonathan Dos Santos and Thiago Alcantara.

Other two recently promoted players, Bojan Krkic and Jeffren Suárez were also part of the starting team. Stars Xavi and Lionel Messi were sat on the bench. Before the kick-off, Depor’s players made the hall to Barca’s men, a tradition when any rival conquers a title in Spain.

FIRST HALF
Boring half between two teams with different problems; Barcelona was careless of the game, and despite it had the ball possession it never gave any problem to Aranzubia. Meanwhile, Deportivo was having the same anxiety saw in the past game with Athletic Bilbao, and instead of looking for the opposite goal through counterattacks, it preferred to hold on the initial 0-0.

Depor had the first approximation in the game, with Valerón assisting Adrian, the Asturian had an attempt to score, but it was saved by Valdés and later the home keeper saved the attempt from Lassad as the Tunisian attacker found the rebound of the first attempt(2’). Then Jeffren had the first opportunity for the locals in a direct free-kick, but he sent the ball over the crossbar.

It seemed that the Galicians were going out for the game, but the double occasion at the start was just a mirage, because Barca spent the whole first part having the ball possession and harassing the goal of Depor, though without having a clear chance against the goal of Aranzubia. Actually the Catalans just completed two shots on target throughout the ninety minutes, their lowest mark on the season.

Lotina’s team had a great chance at minute 17, a quick play between Valerón and Lassad ended with a drilling shot of El Flaco that missed the target. That was the most dangerous play in this half. This action didn’t change the course of the match as Barcelona was completely dominating the situation, but the Catalans had a clear opportunity until minute 33, Jeffren, received the ball at the box, eluded two rivals, but his final drilling attempt just went close to the near post of Aranzubia.

At minute 39, Afellay found a rebound at the edge of the area, but his final shot missed the target. Depor was really cautious in this first part. Barca had the ball possession, but it never found the cracks at Lotina’s defense, but neither the Galicians were searching for the opposite goal as in the counterattacks Adrian was too alone up front.

Valerón was once again the best player for Depor; the Canarian was the only one giving accurate passes that were creating some harm to the rival, but the lack of men in attack blocked any possibility of searching for a goal. At times Lassad was too opened on the left wing, and the Tunisian just appeared twice at the end of the half though without generating any clear attempt.

SECOND HALF
Deportivo suffered more for what was occurring in other games than for the plays of Barcelona at the Camp Nou, because Getafe and Zaragoza claimed the advantage in the second half of their matches and the visiting players knew that a defeat would put their team in relegation. Lotina moved the attacking line, but Depor barely disturbed Valdés.

Nothing changed at the start of the final forty-five minutes; Baca was having the initiative and the ball possession, but it was still having problems to surpass the deadlock of the Galicians. Meanwhile, Deportivo was patiently waiting to release a counterattack, but when it had the chance to release it, then the visitors never found enough men in attack to attempt anything.

Guardiola wasn’t happy at all with what he was watching and decided to replace Mascherano and Abidal with Alvés and Maxwell, two change related to the defensive line, but that were trying to add more depth to the attacks by the wings.

Depor first approximation in this half came at minute 56, it was a long-range shot of Juan Dominguez after an assist of Valerón, and Valdés made the save. Two minutes later Brazilian Alvés entered alone by the right side of the area, but miraculously his cross wasn’t connected by Bojan and neither by Jeffren. That was the most dangerous play for the Catalans in the whole game

Then Lotina decided to make the first change in the encounter allowing the entry of Guardado for Lassad. By this moment Zaragoza and Getafe were already winning their games and it seemed that Depor’s coach was conscious of what was going on.

At minute 78, Alvés threw a direct free-kick, but it was saved by Aranzubia. Within the last ten minutes Riki entered for Adrian. Lotina was trying to refresh his attacking line, but the Galicians kept a passive attitude.

Then, at the last minute of the game, Xisco replaced a Valerón that went out applauded by the public at the Camp Nou.  And the big chance for Depor came at the stoppage time, Guardado drilled the ball from midfield and left Xisco alone against Alvés, but the local keeper blocked the attempt, the rebound was found by Riki, but his attempt from close range was blocked by Fontas.

AFTER THE GAME
Deportivo couldn’t and Barcelona didn’t want it; the Galicians presented the same grey picture shown throughout the season playing away from the Riazor, while Barca reserved all their stars trying to give a chance to its youngest players; they tried, but never found the way to break the deadlock imposed by Lotina.

Golden point for a Deportivo that still depending on itself; there are a lot of possible combinations as six team will still trying to avoid Segunda División during the last matchday, but Depor knows that a victory over Valencia CF will secure the permanence without depending on anybody else.

MATCH STATISTICS
Barcelona: (4-3-3) Valdés -  Bartra, Mascherano (Alvés 52’), Fontas, Abidal (Maxwell 52’) – Dos Santos (Oriol Romeu 81’), Thiago, Keita – Afellay, Bojan, Jeffren.
Deportivo: (4-3-1-2) Aranzubia – Laure, Colotto, Lopo, Manuel Pablo – Juan Dominguez, Aythami, Rubén Pérez – Valerón (Xisco 89’) – Adrián (Riki 81’), Lassad (Guardado 64’).
Referee: Carlos Delgado Ferreiro. He showed yellow card to Aythami (42’) and Lopo (78’)
Venue: Camp Nou (70,049)
Other statistics: Ball possession (61% - 39%); Attempts to score (3 – 4); Total shots (9 - 8); Shots on target (2 - 4); Saves by the keepers (4 - 2); Corner-kicks  (5 - 7); Offsides (5 - 0); Fouls committed (1 - 0); Accuracy in the passes (92.41% - 71.62%)

* RESULTS AND STANDINGS

ARCHIVE NEWS MAY/11

ZAPPING

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