Squad news


23 Apr 2012
Big win for Deportivo before a combative rival; the Galicians took the lead in fourth opportunities, in the first three the visitors quickly scored the equalizers through set-pieces, and the decisive goal came at the end with Colotto.

Oltra chose to play with Lassad Nouioui at the centre of the attack, this despite the Tunisian attacker just completed one training session after picking an ankle sprain during the week. The rest of the lineup was the team that played the derby at Balaídos. Dani Aranzubia was at the goal; Laure performed at the right-back position, Morel covered the left side, while the central defenders were Colotto and Ze Castro.

Álex Bergantiños and Juan Dominguez were the two pivotes; Bruno Gama attacked from the right wing, Andrés Guardado did it from the left, Juan Carlos Valerón was the playmaker in the draw, and Lassad was the central attacker.

At Elche, coach Cesar Ferrando was presenting two novelties; the first one was to see Andalusian Pedro José Pinazo ´Perico' as one of the two pivotes at midfield; the other was that Ángel Luis Rodríguez was the central attacker, the Canarian was going to be crucial in the game, also winger Jordi Xumetra.

It was a rainy morning in A Coruña, still there was a good attendance to the Riazor as 26,000 spectators were watching the game. The grass was wet, which allowed watching a quick game. At half-time the LFP presented the award to the fans of Deportivo as they were chosen as the best ones on the present season. It was a symbolic shirt with the number 12 on it.

The match fulfilled the expectations, not by the pretty game displayed on the pitch or for the continuous scoring opportunities, but for the pressure of a rival that gave a lot of problems to Oltra’s Deportivo. And it’s that Depor barely disturbed Juan Carlos in this first part; neither Elche was approaching the goal of Aranzubia, though they stole the main asset of the Galicians: the ball possession.

As it was expected Elche was putting a lot of pressure since the kick-off; almost playing with a triple pivote figure as Generelo was joining the two centre midfielders in order to cut the traffic of the ball, but as it happened in the derby, Depor was able to score an early goal. It was a combination between Juan Dominguez and Bruno Gama that ended with the Portuguese drilling a cross that Valerón found at the six-yard-box to drill the ball between the legs of visiting goalie Juan Carlos Sánchez.

It is the fifth goal in liga for El Flaco and it brought calmness to the Riazor, but the advantage just lasted seven minutes as the Valencians scored the equalizer after a corner-kick coming from the left side. Generelo sent the ball into the area, then there were two headers on target that were saved by Aranzubia, but later he couldn’t stop the final shot of Ángel, who just had to push the ball in from the goal line and before the presence of Laure.

After this goal the game was at the point that Elche wanted, Los Ilicitanos were putting pressure at midfield and later were releasing counterattacks, mainly lead by Ángel, while Depor was jammed and facing big problems to create scoring opportunities. At some point the Galicians were abusing of the long throws, which made life easier for Elche.

In this sense the main danger was coming in set-pieces, and the main opportunity for the locals was the direct free-kick of Guardado that hit the crossbar (29’). In the first part Depor only had a 49% of the ball possession, a statistic that clearly describes what was happening in the game. Elche was having the ball, though without creating too many scoring opportunities, but the objective of this tactic was to avoid the attacks of Depor, and the visitors were succeeding on it.  Even Lassad had to retreat his position to midfield in order to be in touch with the ball.

Elche was also having its opportunities, always in set-pieces, like the corner-kick that Mantecón found at the edge of the area to release a drilling attempt that was stopped by Aranzubia (38’). The last attempt in the first part was for Deportivo; it was a cross of Laure from the right corner that Lassad headed out (43’)

The second part was quite enjoyable, again not by the football practiced by both teams, which continued to be stuck at midfield, but by the excitement of the goals. The punch of the Galicians and the offensive changes of Oltra, plus the effectiveness of Elche in set-pieces, transformed the clash into a memorable meeting that reaffirms the promotion intentions of Los Blanquiazules,

The script didn’t change for the second part: Depor was still jammed at midfield, while Elche was trying to hold on the ball and then release a fast attack. The big difference this time was that there were a few more opportunities and, especially, that both sides were seizing their chances.

Elche had the first chance in this half through a counterattack lead by Xumetra, the play ended with a cross that didn’t find any receiver inside the area (50’). The first attempt for Deportivo in the half came two minutes later, Juan Dominguez assisted Valerón inside the area and the playmaker tried to chip the ball over Juan Carlos, but the keeper blocked the attempt.

Depor was focusing  its offensive work on the right wing, and curiously the second goal of Deportivo came in the first attempt coming from the left. Guardado sent a high cross from his side and the ball went directly into the path of Bruno Gama, who scored the goal crossing the goalkeeper with a drilling shot from the right corner of the six-yard box.

And there was a déjà vu sensation at the Riazor as Elche scored the equalizer just two minutes later, and again after a corner-kick. Generelo threw the set-piece from the left, Mantecón ended the play sending the ball into the box, Ángel found the ball there and his attempt should have been easily caught by Aranzubia, but somehow the wet ball slipped from his hands.

Then Oltra ordered the first change in the game, it was the entry of Xisco replacing Juan Dominguez. The modification meant to switch the draw into a 4-4-2, with Valerón and Álex Bergantiños at midfield, while the couple Xisco-Lassad was playing up front. Dominguez barely touched the ball in the second part and clearly Depor’s trainer was betting now in the direct game in the quest for the victory.

Soon, Oltra had to make the second modification as Ze Castro sustained an ankle sprain after clearing an attack of Elche, Borja Fernandez entered for him and performed as a central defender. And just one minute later Deportivo scored the third goal, and it was a real cracker, a shot of Bruno Gama sending a powerful shot from the left side of the area, the assist was made by Lassad

And again Elche fought back and scored a quick equalizer, again in a set-piece. This time it was a perfect free-kick of Edu Álbacar that entered by the top-left corner of Aranzubia. To mention that the free-kick was possible after Valerón supposedly handled the ball at the edge of the area, reason why he picked his second yellow card on the season.

Deportivo had scored three goals, and in every goal the visitors were responding through an quick equalizer, it was an important fact as Elche was never forced to push in attack, something that would have been difficult for a team built up for the counterattack. In this sense the fatal error of the Valencians was to lose the constant pressure at midfield after minute 75.

Now Depor was regaining its main asset: the ball possession, something that allowed the final push. And it’s that Depor surrounded the area of Elche for the final fifteen minutes, and having four clear chances to break the tie, something unseen in the rest of the meeting. First Álex Bergantiños missed the target with a powerful shot from outside the area (75’). Oltra, known for his offensive chances when things aren’t working out, order a new substitution and Salomão entered for the Galician midfielder, which turned the draw into a weird 3-1-3-3 draw, now with Borja as the only pivote and a defensive line composed by three men.

It was invitation to Elche to attack, but the visitors were busier trying to hold on the draw. Lassad had the next attempt after a free-kick of Guardado, but he sent the ball out (84’), then Salomão had an attempt from inside the area and the ball was cleared to corner-kick, and the goal came from here, ironically Depor was scoring the winning goal in a set-piece, just after Elche scored three times in the same way.

The goal was scored by the specialist in the corner-kicks:Diego Colotto. The ball was sent into the area by Guardado, then it hit the back of a rival and somehow the Argentine defender scored after finding the loose ball inside the area. It’s his third goal in liga. There was time for more as both Elche and Depor had one more opportunity, but neither substitute Nicky Bille nor Lassad resolved their opportunities.

Rain of water and goals at the Riazor; everybody was expecting for a tough meeting, with an intense pressure at midfield territory, but no one was expecting to witness seven goals. The point is that both sides weren’t creating too any opportunities, but the goals came thanks to the punch of Deportivo, plus the incredible response of Elche in set-pieces.

This was the first 4-3 win of Depor at the Riazor in 23 years; the previous one was a 4-3 over Recreativo de Huelva on the Segunda season 1989/90.  Also, it’s the first time in one year that two different players score a brace at the Riazor; the previous opportunity was in January of 2011 in the 3-3 draw between Depor and Sevilla FC, with Negredo and Lassad scoring twice.

The most important stat is that this was the 13th straight victory of Deportivo playing at home, the Galicians maintain the eight-point gap over second place Real Valladolid, while it extends the distance over RC Celta to thirteen points. On next Saturday, Deportivo visits another rival anxiously trying to regain its place inside the promotion zone: UD Almeria (Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos, 18h00 CET)

Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Laure, Colotto, Ze Castro (Borja 67’), Morel – Álex Bergantiños (Salomão 83’), Juan Domínguez (Xisco 62’) – Bruno Gama, Valerón, Guardado – Lassad.
Elche: (4-2-3-1) Juan Carlos – Flaño, Etxeita, Héctor Rodas, Álbacar – Perico (Cristian 72’), Mantecón – Xumetra (Kike Mateo 83’), Generelo, Beranger – Ángel (Nicky Bille 77’)
Goals: 1-0: (4’) Valerón, 1-1: (11’) Ángel, 2-1: (54’) Bruno Gama, 2-2: (56’) Ángel, 3-2: (68’) Bruno Gama, 3-3: (70’) Álbacar, 4-3: (88’) Colotto
Referee Francisco Manuel Arias López. He showed yellow card to Ze Castro (26’), Xumetra (64’), Valerón (69’), Flaño (77’) and Generelo (88’).
Venue: Riazor (26,000)
Other statistics: Ball possession (56% - 44%); Attempts to score (10 – 8); Total shots (16 - 14); Shots on target (9 - 9); Saves by the keepers (6 - 5); Corner-kicks (4 - 5); Offsides (3 - 0); Fouls committed (11 - 13); Accuracy in the passes (84.34% - 81.35%)




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