Squad news

REVIEW: LEVANTE 4 – DEPORTIVO 1 (COPA)

22 Dec 2011
Depor didn’t seize the advantage of the first-leg as its defensive errors, plus the twists of faith, cost three goals in the regular time; later the Galicians allowed a new goal in the extra-time and they’re falling from the Copa competition.

BEFORE THE GAME
Oltra was going to repeat the lineup of the first-leg. But during the warm-up striker Riki sustained a muscular problem (adductor) and was left out of the clash, so Rodolfo Bodipo claimed the role as starting striker with Lassad was the only option on the bench.

The 4-2-3-1 scheme meant to seeGerman Lux at the goal, Diego Seoane played at the right-back position, Manuel Pablo covered the left sector, while the central defenders were Aythami Artiles and David Rochela. The two pivotes were Jesús Vázquez and Borja Fernandez, Saul performed on the right wing, Salomăo was on the left, Pablo Álvarez was the playmaker in the formation and Bodipo was the central attacker.

At Levante, coach Juan Ignacio Martínez was mixing normal starters with substitutes; in the end Rubén Suarez was joining Ivorian Arouna Koné in attack; the other references up front were wingers José Javier Barkero  and El Zhar.

FIRST HALF
Unfortunate first part for Deportivo; two injuries, one before the kick-off, and one expulsion complicated the game as the team allowed two goals; and this taking in mind that Depor was looking comfortable during big part of the first half.

Bodipo had the first chance in the game as a cross of Salomăo was met by the African attacker at the penalty box, but his attempt missed the target (5’). The first approximation of the locals came at minute 10, Salomăo missed a pass and as result Cabral sent a long throw inside the box that El Zhar headed at the far post; his attempt turned into a volley that hit the crossbar and went out.

Then Manuel Pablo picked a muscular problem and he was replaced by Ayoze Diaz, later it was informed that it was thigh injury; and the problems continued at Depor as two minutes later the Valencians scored their first goal. It was a distraction at defense as Rochela tried to clear a cross coming from the left, but instead he assisted Barkero, who later put the ball at the penalty spot, just to see Moroccan Nabil El Zhar scoring the goal from the six-yard box.

Things were complicated for Depor; the Galicians have lost two men and had allowed an early goal, which gave hope to Levante, but Deportivo found the way to equalize the things. It was a counterattack for the visitors in which Pablo Álvarez made an spectacular play eluding five rivals to enter into the area, he sought for the left corner, and when he was trying to elude Cabral, then he was fouled by the defender. The referee whistled the penalty and Álvarez himself scored the goal sending Kelor Navas in the opposite way. It was the second goal in Copa for ‘The Shark’

The goal brought confidence to Depor as the Valencians were now needing two goals to take the game to extra-time, still Depor was committing some defensive mismatches that were giving some problems, in one of them Pablo Álvarez committed an unnecessary foul that ended with a drilling free-kick of Barkero that was stopped by Lux.

But again faith was against Depor, Saul was sent off after committing two fouls in matter of five minutes and Depor was forced to play the last hour, plus the extra-time, with one less man. The true is that it was a controversial call of José Luis Paradas as the major part of the time he was too rigorous with the fouls –he showed 13 yellow cards in a game without too many fouls-  Besides, he committed several mistakes that sometimes were favourable to Deportivo.

And just four minutes later Levante scored the second goal. Again the play came from the right flank; Barkero drilled a pass that was cleared by a defender, then the ball went into the edge of the area, just into the path of defender Sergio Ballesteros, who released a fortunate drilling shot that passed in the middle of the defenders hitting the far post of Lux and later it went in. Levante was even close to score the third goal before the rest, but Lux cleared the ball with the leg during a corner-kick (41’).

SECOND HALF
Bad luck was still chasing Deportivo in the second part; the Galicians were having things under control, then, when they were just completing their first attacks in the half they hit the post, and immediately Levante scored the third goal that was equalizing the aggregate score, and to make things worse Pablo Álvarez missed a penalty at the last minute, so faith forced the extra-times.

Levante started the second part pushing for the third goal, just one minute after the kick-off El Zhar headed a corner-kick when he was inside the area, but he sent the ball wide. It was pretty clear that Depor was going to be a defensive side searching for the counterattack, after all it was still leading in the aggregate score and was playing with one less man away from home. But the Galicians did nothing in attack, at least within the first half an hour.

Depor was bottled at its own side of the pitch, while Levante was pushing up front; the true is that the rivals were just creating danger through set-pieces, actually Levante never made a shot on target, at least within the first twenty-five minutes.

The most highlighted play in this part of the game was a hard tackle of Borja Fernandez over Juanlu, who sustained an ankle injury that sent him out of the game after just six minutes on the pitch. The true is that the Galician midfielder deserved the red card, but Paradas Romero continued with his personal show and just showed the yellow. Then Oltra moved his bench and Lassad replaced Bodipo, move that brought depth to Depor’s attacks.

At minute 66, Roger, the substitute of Juanlu, headed a cross from the left in a secondary play after a free-kick, but his attempt went wide. The true is that Depor was suffering more for the narrow advantage than for the efforts of Levante, this since the Valencians barely created a sense of danger before Lux.

But then Depor had two great chances to score the decisive goal; first Lassad found himself alone before Navas, but his shot went directly into the body of the Costa Rican keeper, one minute later Pablo Álvarez made a great play on the left and his accurate cross was found by Lassad, who completed a shot on target that was impossible forNavas, but it just hit the post.

And then Levante scored the third goal, it was a big error of the whole team; it was a counterattack in which the locals didn’t find the way to penetrate the defensive wall of Depor, but the play continued and nobody was able to clear the danger and Kone assisted Ruben Suarez, who crossed Lux to tie the aggregate score.

Depor had a great chance to secure the pass at the last minute of the game; Juan Carlos made a great play inside the area and drilled the ball into the path of Pablo Álvarez, who made a dive, the referee whistled the penalty –it wasn’t- but Álvarez hit the crossbar. Levante had the last change of the regular time, Iborra assisted Ruben Suarez at the edge of the area, but his shot what brilliantly cleared by Lux (90+2’)

EXTRA-TIME
Nothing happened within the first ten minutes of the extra-time; Levante was having the initiative, but it wasn’t having scoring chances. Depor was locked at its side of the pitch and waited for a chance in a counterattack, and that opportunity came at minute 98 as Lassad ran from midfield and was close to reach the ball, but he fell down before the pressure of keeper Keylor Navas; it seemed a foul, but the referee didn’t whistle anything, and he made the right call as there was no foul.

And again Levante scored after Deportivo had a clear chance to score, and again the defensive line was too passive. Ruben Suarez drilled a pass from the left wing, Ivorian Arouna Koné collected the ball when he was backwards the goal, and somehow the striker turned off before three defenders to cross Lux. Again no one was able to clear the danger.

The second extra-time was open, with Deportivo searching for the miracle with ten men on the pitch, while Levante was finding the cracks searching for the fifth goal through fast attacks. But Depor was tired and never had a clear chance, just the downward header of Jesús Vázquez that was too easy for Navas (109’) and the shot of Juan Carlos that hit a rival and that almost surprised Levante’s goalie (114’)

One minute later Kone could have sentenced the game, but his shot from inside the box went over the crossbar. And to kill Depor’s aspirations Borja Fernandez, who should have been sent off before for his nasty tackle over Juanlu, was finally expelled with two yellow cards with one minute remaining in the clock. The Galicians were reduced to nine men and Lux even had the chance to make a last save as he cleared a drilling attempt of Ruben after an assist of Barkero.

AFTER THE GAME
Deportivo wasted a two-goal advantage for the third time on its Copa history as faith, and mainly the defensive errors, cost three goals in the regular time, plus another one in the extra time. Referee José Luis Paradas Romero was a disaster as he committed all kind of errors, some of them were expensive for Deportivo. In this way the Galician side is eliminated from the competition with a 4-5 aggregate score.

Deportivo is now on the Christmas break and will return to train until January 2; the next liga meeting for Deportivo is on January 7 as Oltra’s team will host CD Xérez at the Riazor; the hour of the match still to be decided.

MATCH STATISTICS
Levante: (4-4-2) Keylor Navas - Javi Venta (Higon 77’), Ballesteros, Cabral, Pedro López – El Zhar, Pallardó (Juanlu 55’ Roger 63’), Iborra, Barkero - Ruben, Koné.
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Lux - Seoane, Rochela, Aythami, Manuel Pablo (Ayoze 12’) - Jesús Vázquez, Borja Fernández - Saúl, Pablo Álvarez, Salomăo (Juan Carlos 82’) – Bodipo (Lassad 60’)
Goals: 1-0: (13’) El Zhar, 1-1: (23’) Pablo Álvarez (penalty), 2-1: (37’) Ballesteros, 3-1: (79’) Rubén Suárez, 4-1: (100’) Kone
Referee: José Luis Paradas Romero. He showed yellow card to Pablo Álvarez (25’), Bodipo (40’), Ballesteros (40’), Lux (54’), Aythami (68’), Ruben Suarez (103’), Seoane (103’), Keylor Navas (108’), Juan Carlos (110’), El Zhar (117’) Saul (34’) and Borja (118’) were sent off.
Venue: Ciudat de Valencia (8,500)
Other statistics: Ball possession (60% - 40%); Attempts to score (13 – 9); Total shots (27 - 14); Shots on target (11 - 7); Saves by the keepers (6 - 7); Corner-kicks  (10 - 6); Offsides (3 - 0); Fouls committed (20 - 28); Accuracy in the passes (73.44% - 81.38%)

ARCHIVE NEWS DEC/11

ZAPPING

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