Squad news

PREVIEW: DEPORTIVO – CORDOBA CF (LIGA)

25 Mar 2012
Depor continues on the road back to Primera; Oltra recovers Riki and Álex Bergantiños is fit to play; Manuel Pablo was also picked. Córdoba arrives to the Riazor trying to stay at the promotion zone, for it coach Paco Jémez is switching the system.

STATISTICS: NO WINS AT THE RIAZOR FOR CORDOBA
Córdoba CF already visited the Riazor in twelve opportunities playing between Primera and Segunda División, and it never achieved a victory there, just two draws on the season 1981/82 (1-1) and 1973/74 (0-0). And now they visit a Deportivo in a middle of a positive streak as the Galicians have clinched ten straight victories there; actually Oltra’s team has only dropped five points after fifteen matches disputed at the Riazor.

But Córdoba CF has demonstrated to be a solid team and a real candidate for the promotion spots, and the key for their performance is the work done at defense, because the Andalusians represent the second best defensive in the tournament with 25 goals allowed, only one more than Hércules CF.

And Deportivo is the second best offensive line in the tournament; the Galicians already scored 50 goals, five less than RC Celta, the leader in this department, so this duel can be understood as a confrontation between defense and offense. It’s also the second time that Depor faces one of the seven top teams in this second round; the previous one was the 4-1 over Hércules, and in the following month and a half Depor is going to face the other five aspirants for the promotion.

DEPORTIVO: TEST FOR THE DEFENSE
For the third time on the season Deportivo is going to face a liga meeting without the presence of Diego Colotto; the Argentine central defender picked his fifth yellow card of the season and is suspended for this meeting. Previously on the campaign he missed the home matches before Hércules CF and CD Guadalajara. Therefore the central positions at defense will be for Portuguese Ze Castro and Canarian Aythami Artiles, two players that together have only disputed seven matches in one and a half year; the last time the 4-0 win over CD Guadalajara (October 01).

It means a test for a defensive line that has only allowed nine goals within the last fifteen matchdays in the competition, but that now is facing one of the strongest rivals in the competition; in any case is important to have in mind that Córdoba CF is the worst scorer among the first twelve positions in the league (only 33 goals in favour).

At least Oltra is recovering several players that were off for the part meeting with CD Alcoyano, starting with striker Riki, the current Pichichi at the team, left winger Diogo Salomão and Ze Castro himself, who was suspended after been sent off before CD Guadalajara. Álex Bergantiños is also available after been doubtful throughout the week due to a thigh problem.

In the end the Valencian coach had twenty players available for the meeting, so he had to choose and leave two men out, and the ones sidelined were right-back Diego Seoane and right winger Saul Fernandez. Left-back Ayoze Diaz is a last-minute casualty due to flu, and the coach decided to pick Manuel Pablo instead of Seoane, the veteran defender hasn’t played yet in 2012 after been dragging a muscular problem. The other players at the injury room are striker Rodolfo Bodipo, right winger Pablo Álvarez and centre midfielder Jesús Vázquez.

The lineup will probably be the same one of the past match at the Riazor with the novelty of Ze Castro entering for Colotto, though there’s the doubt of who will be the central attacker. Daniel Aranzubia continues defending the goal, Laureano Sanabria ´Laure´ performs at the right-back position and Paraguayan Claudio Morel does it on the left.

Álex Bergantiños and Juan Dominguez cover the pivote positions; Portuguese Bruno Gama will be attacking from the right wing, Mexican Andrés Guardado covers the left flank, while Juan Carlos Valerón is the playmaker in the scheme.

The big doubt for the game is who will be the central attacker; Xisco made a great match before Alcoyano despite missing to score, but Riki is in great form after scoring four times within his last five games, and to make things more complicated Tunisian Lassad Nouioui is pushing strongly after scoring a great goal in the last game at the Riazor.

Before the game Aranzubia was asking to be careful, ”We knew it could happen to Real Madrid, and that it could happen to us. To be the first place doesn’t guarantee you anything if you don’t do the right things. It happened to Real Madrid and it should be a lesson to us. We don’t see us as the champions, because it will be a mistake to think that we already are the champions.”

List of picked players (18): Aranzubia, Lux; Laure, Ze Castro, Aythami, Rochela, Morel, Manuel Pablo (defenders); Juan Domínguez, Álex Bergantiños, Borja Fernández, Valerón, Guardado, Salomão, Bruno Gama (midfielders); Xisco, Riki and Lassad (strikers).

CORDOBA: THE UNINVITED GUEST
Before starting the season everybody was naming the six candidates for the promotions seats; the first three were the relegated clubs from Primera –Depor, Hércules CF and UD Almeria- and the other three were the club eliminated in last season’s playoff round –Real Valladolid, RC Celta and Elche CF- but throughout the season an uninvited guest appeared in the ´quinielas’, and that team is Córdoba CF.

Many people thought that this club was going to spend the year trying to find a playing style and subsequently was going to find a spot at mid-table, but the Andalusians have been living in promotion in 14 of the 29 matchdays of the season, so now they are considered as the seventh aspirant to Primera División, actually they are currently displacing Elche CF from the six top positions and will probably fight until the end in order to have a chance to play at Primera on next season, a division they don’t visit since 1972.

The key to understand their solid behavior on this season is located in two factors: its defense and the performance at home, because the team coached by former Depor man Paco Jémez is the second best defense in the league, though a month ago they were trashed visiting CD Numancia (0-5). They have also been strong playing at the Nuevo Arcángel, in this sense their only loss at home was the game before Depor during the first round (0-2).

But now they play on the road, condition in which they have only won one game in 2012 (2-1 at CD Xérez, March 03). Some journalists believe that the problem is the system as Jémez usually sends a 4-4-2, but recently he has been relying in the 4-1-4-1, a scheme that on this season has brought seven victories and two draws, and the Andalusian team was only defeated twice.

Ex-Real Murcia Alberto García will be at the goal; José Manuel Fernández performs at the right-back position, Juan Rafael Fuentes covers the left sector, while the central defenders are former Recreativo Joaquín Navarro ´Ximo’ and ex-Sevilla David Prieto, this last man is returning to the starting eleven after been suspended.

At midfield. Ex-Celta Aritz López Garai is performing as the only pivote in the formation; the two playmakers in the draw Segunda are Huelva-born José María López da Silva and Córdoba B promoted player Javier Hervás, this last man already scored three goals and have left a positive impression; actually it is pretty well know that Sevilla FC already secured his services ahead of next season.

Another of the sensations at the team is 21-year-old Borja García Freire, the former player of Rayo Vallecano is the Pichichi at the team with thirteen goals added to his tally; he has scored a goal within the last three matches in liga and will attack from the left flank; then Argentine Sebastián Rakan Dubarbier attacks from the left; and the central attacker will be Brazilian Charles Días de Oliveira; the former striker of Pontevedra CF is the third best scorer at the team with five goals in favour.

Before the trip to A Coruña; midfielder Borja Garcia talked to reporters, ”I think we can complete a good game there, because it is tasty; the game will be broadcasted by Canal Plus, we play at a stadium like the Riazor, a stadium of Primera and there will be a lot of people. We’ll try to make a pretty game and keep enjoying, just like we did until now.”

Finally, López Garai said that, “They have only lost one game at home and it was before Hércules at the beginning of the season. It’s also the only team that defeated us here and we have that thorn, but Depor plays good football and that style suits us, so I believe we are going to make a solid game and, if we have aim, then we can bring home the three points.”

List of picked players (18): Alberto García, Carlos Arias (goalkeepers); José Fernández, Fuentes, Ximo, Tena, David Prieto (defenders); Alberto Aguilar, López Garai, Javi Hervás, Federico Vico, López Silva, Borja García, Quero, Dubardier (midfielders); Airam, Charles and Patiño (strikers).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Laure, Aythami, Ze Castro, Morel – Juan Domínguez, Álex Bergantiños – Bruno Gama, Valerón, Guardado – Xisco.
Córdoba: (4-1-4-1) Alberto - Fernández, Ximo, Prieto, Fuentes – López Garai - Borja García, Hervás, López Silva, Dubarbier - Charles
Referee: Dámaso Arcediano Monescillo (5 games on the season, 3 wins for the local team)
Kick-off: 20h30 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs. Córdoba: 12 wins for Depor, 7 draws,  6 wins for Córdoba (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 10 wins for Depor, 2 draws. 0 wins for Córdoba (Primera & Segunda)

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