Competition news

PREVIEW: DEPORTIVO - GIRONA (COPA)

07 Sep 2011
A Deportivo squad full of casualties debuts in Copa Del Rey; the Galicians face the meeting with seven injured players. The rival is Catalan Girona FC, club that has made an impressive progression within the last four years.

STATISTICS: FIRST MEETING BETWEEN THESE TWO CLUBS
Girona FC is an old club, founded in 1930; however this is going to be its first official meeting against Deportivo, a club that already passed the mark of 100 years of history. The Catalans are a humble club that never reached the Primera División, and now they face one of the seventeen clubs that have achieved the trophy disputed since 1902. The farthest round for Girona on this competition has been the last-32 round; they never passed more than three rounds in one single Copa tournament.

To mention that this is a one-leg series, the draw determined that Deportivo should be the local team, and the Galicians already disputed three ties under these circumstances. They passed the round in the first two opportunities: 5-2 Vs. Osasuna (fifth round, season 1947/48) and 3-0 Vs. Racing de Ferrol (fourth round, season 1948/49). But they lost the third tie: 0-1 Vs. Valencia (sixth round, season 1948/49).

The meeting will also help to clarify the potential of both teams, Depor is considered the favourite at Segunda División, but Los Blanquiazules left more shadows than lights in its two liga meetings at the Riazor, confrontations where they only picked three points. Meanwhile, Girona has only added a point, though they did it away from home and playing with one less man at UD Almeria (2-2).

DEPORTIVO: THE INJURIES ARE BACK
This new season is awakening the old ghosts at Deportivo as the team coached by Jose Luis Oltra has been wiped off by a plague of injuries that’s sidelining seven players for today’s debut in Copa Del Rey. All started during the pre-season with the muscular problem that forced centre midfielder Juan Dominguez to remain out of action for three weeks, Saul was also out due to a hamstring injury and he was able to return until the past weekend.

Later, Bruno Gama sustained a groin problem that has prevented him to debut in liga, Borja Fernandez arrived injured to the club after a groin surgery and both men were the two casualties that Depor had for the opening matchday against Recreativo. The biggest problems arrived on the last week; first Diego Colotto sustained a hamstring problem during the last training before the match with Hércules.

And during the match the Galician suffered other four casualties: Riki just lasted 23 minutes after picking a Soleus injury, while Manuel Pablo didn’t pass the half-time mark due to a hamstring problem. Both players are not only out of this match, but also of the other two remaining games in September. Pablo Álvarez suffered a similar injury, though he was able to end the match, but the scans determined that he will be sidelined for at least one week.

The last casualty on this match was Xisco he suffered a blow and the player was hoping to be fit for today’s clash, but in the end he was sidelined from the team, though the Majorcan attacker should be ready for the visit to Barcelona B. The current status of the injured players can be checked at the injury room page.

For this reason there are several novelties at the list of picked players, no one from Fabril was picked, but Juan Carlos, who is alternating  between both teams, is ready to debut in an official match after his suspension. Other former players of Depor B that were picked are right-back Diego Seoane and central defender David Rochela. Meanwhile, Rodolfo Bodipo was also picked for the first time on the season after the club tried to get rid of him during the summer. At the same time Claudio Morel was left out of the team, he is the other player discarded during the pre-season.

There are a lot of questions related to the starting formation that Oltra will use; for now only four positions seem covered: German Lux will make his official debut defending Depor’s goal, Laureano Sanabria ‘Laure’ will replace Manuel Pablo at the right-back position, Saul will be the right winger and Lassad Nouioui the central attacker.

About the rest of positions, it seems that Rochela will have a chance at the centre of the defense, and the thing to define is who will be his partner: Aythami or Ze Castro. Ayoze could be covering the left side at defense, but Seoane has his options. Then Oltra could be tempted to play with the same couple at midfield, Jesús Vázquez or Álex Bergantiños, but Juan Carlos and Juan Dominguez might have a chance, this last youngster could even be the playmaker in the formation. Finally, it could be too much for Andres Guardado, who played twice with Mexico within the last five days, so all appoints that Salomão will stay covering the left wing.

Argentine Lux talked before the meeting regarding his feelings towards his official debut at Deportivo, “I feel no pressure before my debut, because I am a calmed person. I was taught that competition is a sane habit, and Dani [Aranzubia] knows it.”

 List of picked players (18): Aranzubía, Lux (goalkeepers); Ze Castro, Aythami, Laure, Ayoze, Seoane, Rochela (defenders); Alex, Saul, Jesús Vázquez, Guardado, Valerón, Salomão, Juan Domínguez, Juan Carlos (midfielders); Lassad and  Bodipo (strikers)

GIRONA: THE MIRACLE OF MONTILIVI
In the present times, full of stories with Arab millionaires, it’s always pleasant to notice cases of self-improvement, and that’s exactly the best explanation to describe the project of Girona CF. A Catalan club that for fifty years was lost between Tercera and Segunda División B. They achieved the promotion to Segunda for the season 2008/09 and for two straight campaigns they suffered a lot in order to clinch the permanence.

The finances were poor and then the club started a radical change, which took Ramón Vilaró to the presidency of the club. And in only two years he was able to put in practice a radical chance that erased the debt of the club through a clean increase in the club’s capital, plus a successful extension of the capacity at the Municipal de Montilivi stadium, now with a capacity of 9.282 spectators.

Los Albirrojos also found some stability in a sporting sense as they rescued coach Raul Agné, the same one that achieved the promotion just two years before. They also built up a competitive squad and as result of this Girona clinched a meritorious 11th spot at Segunda during the season 2010/11, their best position since the 9th place achieved back on the campaign 1957/58.

Girona was now even followed by other major clubs, and they sold Japanese youngster Ibusuki Hiroshi to Sevilla Atletico for €150,000, and just some weeks ago they sold Serbian striker Ranko Despotović to Urawa Red Diamonds for €700,000 –a record at the club- Now they want to keep growing, the start of season hasn’t been so great with only one point added in two games, but the draw achieved at Almeria, with ten men on the pitch and after been down 0-2, is just a new motivation for this Catalan club with ambitious ideas.

For the meeting with Depor, Agné is making five changes compared to the team that drew against UD Almeria. Starting with Dani Mallo, who is returning to the Riazor in order to defend the opposite goal. José Antonio Martínez will cover the right-back position, on-loan David Garcia will cover the left sector, while the central positions at defense will be for Ricardo Álvarez Puig ‘ Richy’ and Miguel Ángel González ‘ Migue’. To remember that both Richy and David Garcia were linked with Depor in the past.

At midfield, Albert Dorca and Asturian Alejandro Castro Fernández ‘Jandro’ will cover the pivote functions; ex-Tenerife Juan Luis Hens ‘Juanlu’ will attack from the right wing, Dani Nieto will do it from the left and the pair of strikers will be composed by a Basque duet: Gaizka Saizar and on-loan from Athletic Bilbao Ion Vélez

Saizar is the player that has scored two of the three goals scored by Girona on this season; he was commenting that, ”Copa Del Rey is a different competition to the league and we are hoping to achieve our first win on the season in Galicia; we have good feelings for it. Deportivo is a great team and surely it will be a tough rival, because they have a large squad, but anything can happen tomorrow.”

List of picked players (18): Dani Mallo, Santamaría (goalkeepers); Jose, Luso, David García, Richy, Migue, (defenders); Dorca, Tébar, Jandro, Moha, Juanlu, Padilla (midfielders); Corominas, Dani Nieto, Saizar, Ion Vélez and Benjamin (strikers)
 
PROBABLE LINEUPS
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Lux - Laure, Rochela, Aythami, Ayoze - Jesús Vázquez, Alex Bergantiños - Saúl, Juan Domínguez, Salomão - Lassad.
Girona: Dani Mallo - Jose, Richy, Migue, David García - Juanlu, Dorca, Jandro, Nieto – Gaizka, Ion Vélez.
Referee: Jose Ramón Piñeiro Crespo (5th year at Segunda División)
Kick-off: 20h00 CET (Riazor)

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