Squad news

PREVIEW: DEPORTIVO – FC CARTAGENA (LIGA)

29 Jan 2012
Depor defends the leadership as it faces relegation-troubled FC Cartagena; Riki is replacing Lassad and Ze Castro is fir to play at the centre of the defense. The Murcians arrive to the Riazor relying on their strong defense.

STATISTICS: SIX & SEVEN
Deportivo searches two important marks on this matchday: to clinch its sixth straight win on the Segunda competition, and to chain seven straight triumphs at the Riazor. The last time Depor had a similar rally of straight victories in a league competition was on the season 1999/2000, the one of the liga title, at the time Irureta’s team chained seven straight victories within matchdays 10 & 16, and that rally was the one that pushed the Galician team to the leadership and later into the title.

Meanwhile, Depor is also trying to add its seven straight win at the Riazor; the last time it happened was during the season 2007/08, the first one with Lotina; at the time the Galicians lost six of their first eleven home matches, only to turn things upside down in the second round with an impressive rally of seven straight wins at the Riazor: 2-0 Vs. RCD Espanyol, 2-1 Vs. Sevilla FC, 1-0 Vs. Real Madrid, 3-1 Vs. Real Murcia, 3-0 Vs. Athletic Bilbao, 2-0 Vs. FC Barcelona and 1-0 Vs. Levante UD.

But it won’t be easy to achieve the victory in this match, because FC Cartagena is the most in-form team among the last six places at the standings; the Murcians have only lost one of their last nine games in the competition, and what calls the attention is their solid record at defense as they clinched seven clean sheets in those nine meetings, including goalless draws at UD Almeria (matchday 14) and Vs. Vs. Real Valladolid (matchday 15).

That solid defense has a counterpart: a weak offensive line. And it’s that FC Cartagena is the worst scorer at Segunda with only fourteen goals in favour, actually; within the last nine meetings ,they just scored six times, three of those six goals came in the last match before direct rival Recreativo de Huelva, so they ended scoreless in six of the last nine games.

DEPORTIVO: RIKI RETURNS TO THE STARTING ELEVEN
Madrilenian Iván Sánchez Rico Soto ‘Riki’ will be the replacement of Lassad at the starting formation; it’s the first time in two months in which the Madrilenian takes part of the starting squad, the last time was on November 13 in the derby with RC Celta; he took part of first goal on that game and was replaced at minute 12 due to his most recent muscular problem, ironically his replacement was Lassad.

Since that day the ex-Getafe man has only been a replacement in liga, though he was a starter in the first-leg in Copa before Levante UD. The true is that, despite his three injury cases in half a season, it can’t be considered as a bad year for Riki, because he already conquered five goals for an average of one goal scored every 134 minutes, i.e. every one and a half game.

It might not look so impressive, but that’s the best average at Depor’s first team, even better than Lassad (one goal every 184 minutes) and Guardado (one goal every 193 minutes), the other two top-scorers at Deportivo. The true is that Riki adds mobility to the attacking line of Oltra, something that could be decisive before a solid defense as the one of FC Cartagena.

In another news Ze Castro passed a late test and he is staying at the starting eleven; so the expected team is the typical 4-2-3-1, with Dani Aranzubia at the goal, Laure performing at the right-back position, Ayoze Diaz will play on the left, while the partner of Ze Castro at the centre of the defense is Diego Colotto.

Álex Bergantiños will continue to be the only field player at the team that has been a starter in all the league matches, he will be joined by his team mate at Fabril Juan Dominguez, so the Galician duo will continue to direct the traffic of the ball at midfield. Meanwhile, Juan Carlos Valerón will be the playmaker in the formation.

Andrés Guardado will be attacking from the left wing, the Mexican is the current Pichichi at the team with eight goals added to his tally. Bruno Gama attacks from the right flank, and Riki is the central attacker,

Lassad is joining Manuel Pablo at the injury room; Saul Fernandez still part of the list after been on the bench for the past game against Villarreal B; in the end Oltra is covering the spot left by the Tunisian attacker with a centre midfielder: Jesús Vázquez.  The players staying out for tactical reasons are Seoane, Rochela and Pablo Álvarez, while Bodipo is taking part of the African Cup with Equatorial Guinea.

Álex talked before the game; for him things are pretty thigh at Segunda División, ”Things are really equal. There are teams like Celta or Valladolid that are practicing a pretty football, while others like Hércules or Elche are more effective teams and with experienced people in achieving narrow victories. But we must continue with our work; we’ve added 42 points so far, which is a good mark in order to achieve the goal.”

Juan Dominguez was saying that Deportivo isn’t thinking of revenging the defeat of the first round, but to continue adding points, ”Well, it would be pleasant to defeat a team that defeated you in the first round, but that isn’t the priority, because the goal is to add points and keep the line of previous matchdays.”

List of picked players (18); Aranzubia, Lux (goalkeepers); Laure, Ze Castro, Colotto, Aythami, Ayoze(defenders); Álex Bergantiños, Juan Dominguez, Borja Fernandez, Jesús Vázquez, Bruno Gama, Guardado, Salomão, Saul, Valerón (midfielders); Riki, and Xisco (strikers).

FC CARTAGENA: THE KEY IS THE DEFENSE
The Murcians arrive to the Riazor living outside the relegation zone for the first time on the season, a relief after a terrible start that lead to change the coach in three different opportunities. The team has faced a lot of problems in order to score the goals, therefore their latest improvement can only be explained by the solidity at defense, and it’s that Cartagena clinched seven clean sheets within its last nine liga meetings. This skill can lead them to achieve the permanence and represents the stronger point in the attempt to extract something positive from the visit to the Riazor.

So far the key has been the experience of the defensive line, led by the couple Abraham Paz- Jesús María Herrero. Paz is a 32-year-old veteran that played at Primera with both Cádiz CF and Hércules CF, while Herrero is 26 and played for three years at Real Zaragoza. Former Levante goalie Manuel Reina has also brought his experience, for the game with Depor he’s returning after been sent off in the clash with Villarreal B.

Cristian Urbistondo ‘Txitxi’ has been also a pleasant surprise performing at the right-back position, he’s 32 but never had the privilege to play at Primera División. Perhaps the only spark has been on the left side, and it clearly demonstrates the instability at the team. The season started with coach Paco López performing with former Malaga Manu Torres on that position.

But after been sacked his successor, Javi López, decided to trust in Real Sociedad formed man Gorka Kijera, it was then when the defense started to have a better performance, but López just lasted fourteen games in the job, and then he was replaced by Carlos Rios, who brought back Manu Torres for the last three liga meetings. It could be a factor on this game as the sides is precisely the stronger point of Deportivo.

That’s the defensive line expected at the Riazor, the rest of the draw has the couple at midfield composed by 33-year old Mariano Sánchez and 28-year-old Dimas Delgado. Mariano is a weird case, he just reached professional football in 2004 after signing for CD Alcoyano, this since he was studying architecture [his nickname is architect].

So, this is just his third year at Segunda División. Dimas, meanwhile, was a product of the rich school of Barcelona B that never had a real chance to succeed at Catalonia, so he spent the last three years at CD Numancia before joining Cartagena in the summer.

Former Granada Ander Lafuente attacks from the left wing, while Juan José Collantes does it from the right. Collantes arrived from Granada CF two years ago and is exploding on this season as he has scored five times at Liga Adelante, reason why he is the top-scorer at the team.

The big problem for the match against Depor is that ex-Valladolid Álvaro Antón is suspended and won’t be able to join Uruguayan Nicolás Raimondi up front. It was expected that Valencian Salvador Pérez Martínez ‘Salva Chamorro’ was going to play, but in the end he was discarded due to a muscular injury. So, the companion to Raimondi will be ex-Villarreal Héctor Font, who left Recreativo on the past week in order to join the Murcian side. This is his debut as Carlos Rios is switching into a 4-2-3-1 figure from the 4-4-2 used in the past two games.

To mention that Raimondi has been a sensation in Cartagena; he is a Taborda-type striker that scored a goal on the past meeting with Recreativo de Huelva, the Uruguayan joined the club just last week coming from Bulgarian PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv.

Chus Herrero was commenting the visit of Los Albinegros to the Riazor, It’s a complicate pitch, but we are going there with hope and willing to extract something positive. They already spent a bad time on here. At Segunda División all the games are very competitive. No one achieves easy wins, and if we match our recent level then we´ll surely put things difficult to them, this having in mind that’s difficult to extract something positive from this stadium.”

Winger Ander Lafuente was pretty optimistic towards the game, ”It’s a tough field, but if we aren’t traveling in order to win there, then we wouldn’t going to La Coruña, instead we would be staying here training. It’s a team of Segunda División and we defeated them on here; so why can’t we win there? We must take the ball possession from them. It’s a team that suffers a lot when it doesn’t have the ball, especially at home.”

Finally, striker Raimondi was also thinking of a victory in this game, ”It’s a beautiful stadium and we are facing a big rival, but we can win; though only if we are focused and knowing that history and the shield don’t count. We are two teams Segunda and we are forced to add the points; we can leave the pit with two straight wins, but could also return there with two straight losses.”

List of picked players (18): Reina, Juanma (goalkeepers); Manu Torres, Txiki, Chus Herrero, Josemi, Manolo Gaspar, Kijera, Abraham Paz (defenders); Cléber, Mariano, Dimas, Lafuente, Héctor Font, Toni Moral, Collantes, Marc Fernández (midfielders) and Raimondi (striker).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Laure, Colotto, Ze Castro, Ayoze – Álex Bergantiños, Juan Dominguez – Bruno Gama, Valerón, Guardado – Riki.
FC Cartagena: (4-2-3-1) Reina - Txiki, Chus Herrero, Abraham Paz, Manu Torres –Mariano Sánchez, Dimas – Collantes, Héctor Font, Lafuente – Raimondi.
Referee: Daniel Ocón Arráiz (12 matches on the season, only 3 wins for the local team)
Kick-off: 16h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs. FC Cartagena: 0 wins for Depor, 0 draws, 1 win for Cartagena (Segunda)

ARCHIVE NEWS JAN/11

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