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REVIEW: DEPORTIVO 4 – BARCELONA 5 (LIGA)

21 Oct 2012
Cracking and historic game at the Riazor; Depor was losing 0-3 by minute 17 and it was feared the worst, but the team reacted and never lost the faith against a powerful Barca. In the end nine goals to break several marks.

BEFORE THE GAME
The main modification for the game was the entry of Ayoze Diaz, who covered the left-back position claiming the spot of Evaldo Fabiano. Another surprise was to see Álex Bergantiños at midfield, just when Juan Dominguez was expected for the job. Dani Aranzubia was the starting goalie, Laure played at the right side of the defense, while Ze Castro and Marchena were the centre backs.

Abel Aguilar joined Álex at midfield, Juan Carlos Valerón was the playmaker in the scheme, Bruno Gama attacked from the right wing, Pizzi did it from the left and Riki was the central attacker in the 4-2-3-1 draw.

At Barcelona, coach Tito Vilanova didn’t make the so expected rotations, only Xavi Hernandez and Pedro were rested, while Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta, Jordi Alba, Cesc Fabregas and David Villa were all starters for the Catalans.

FIRST HALF
Two different sections in this first half; at the beginning Barcelona trashed a scared Depor that allowed three goals in a matter of 17 minutes, then the Galicians reacted and scored twice after Oltra switched the system into a 4-1-4-1. The locals were dreaming with the equalizer, but Fabregas, who gave three assists in this half, found Messi to score the fourth before the pause.

The script of the game was clear since the beginning: Barcelona were having the ball possession, while Depor were waiting at the back trying to surprise through a counterattack. But the Galicians were the ones surprised as they allowed two quick goals. Just two minutes after the kick-off Fabregas drilled a perfect pass between the centre backs to leave Jordi Alba alone against Aranzubia, and the left-back scored with a drilling attempt.

And five minutes later Messi chipped the ball at the edge of the area assisting Cristian Tello, who surpassed Ayoze to end scoring with a drilling shot past Aranzubia. And before the 10-minute-mark the Catalans could have scored two more, but Depor’s keeper made the saves before the attempts of Iniesta.

The problem against Barcelona was the tactic of Oltra, because Depor’s team was committing two big errors: the first was to try to play through the offside trap trying to put some pressure to the rival’s midfield, the other was to constantly lose the ball in its own side of the pitch, both issues combined killed Deportivo as Barcelona felt pretty comfortable finding the cracks at Oltra’s defense.

Deportivo was in shock and never knew how to react, so Barcelona kept pushing and scored the third goal in its third shot on target. Again Fabregas was the assistor and Messi netted with a strong shot from the edge of the area.

The Riazor protested and the public started to cheer up the players, and it was then when the reaction started. In the following minutes Depor was close to score twice, first with Riki hitting the woodwork with a header, though he was offside (20’), and later with Álex Bergantiños shooting from the edge of the area with Valdés clearing the ball over the crossbar (22’).

Barcelona was still looking dangerous, but Depor looked alive and it was going to score after a counterattack lead by Riki; the Madrilenian ran with the ball from midfield and after eluding two rivals he was fouled by Mascherano, though it looked outside the area, but referee Paradas Romero whistled the penalty and Pizzi seized the opportunity sending Valdés in the wrong way. At this point Mascherano already had a yellow card and could have been sent off.

Now Deportivo was looking more focused, losing by two and with Barca always looking dangerous, but the Galicians defending better and the most important thing: they were stealing the ball at midfield, which allowed them to release a couple of dangerous counterattacks.

The difference was that Oltra switched the system and now the Galicians were playing with a 4-1-4-1, Valerón delayed his position on the pitch and Álex Bergantiños got a more offensive role, which brought more balance to the team.

And the Riazor got excited as the Galicians scored again; it was a corner-kick of Pizzi that hit the back of Mascherano, then the ball went into the path of Álex Bergantiños, who fired a drilling shot from the edge of the area, Valdés should have stopped the ball, but it slipped from his hands and Depor dreamed with the equalizer. It was the first goal for the Galician midfielder on this season, and the 1,200 goal for Depor playing at the Riazor for Primera División.

The fans were also dreaming of the equalizer, but a new combination between Fabregas and Messi calmed the nerves of Barca; it was a quick free-kick in which the ex-Arsenal man assisted the Argentinean, who didn’t fail inside the area crossing Aranzubia.

SECOND HALF
With six goals in the first part things were looking unusual, Barca looked nervous at the end and things turned to be more exciting in the final part as three more goals were scored. The visiting side had the ball possession, but Depor never lost the faith and fought until the final minute in order to grab a point.

And the second half couldn’t start better as Deportivo scored after just two minutes; Riki was fouled at the edge of the area and Pizzi scored a sensational goal in the direct free-kick. To make things more interesting Mascherano was sent off at minute 49 after hitting Riki in the face in an involuntary action; perhaps it was too harsh, but the true is that the Argentine man was playing at the edge after been dragging a yellow card since the first part –he was the Barca’s player with more fouls committed at his team with three.

 Barcelona was playing with ten man for the final 40 minutes, but was still looking dangerous; at minute 53, Messi hit the post with a direct free-kick, and two minutes later substitute Pedro couldn’t resolve a one-on-one action before Aranzubia. But Depor was also creating scoring opportunities, Ze Castro headed a corner-kick on target (50’), while both Pizzi (59’) and Riki (62’) completed shots on target, the three of them saved by Valdés.

Then Oltra ordered a double substitution and Nélson Oliveira and Javier Camuñas replaced Bruno Gama and Valerón. Both players didn’t have a direct impact in the match, but the game continued to be wide open; with Depor pushing up front and with Barcelona looking dangerous through its quick attacks.

The response of Vilanova was to pull Xavi Hernandez from the bench and the visiting team was now defending having the ball possession, moving the ball over the grass and trying to find the cracks at Depor’s defensive line. It was the best medicine to fight back the pressure of Deportivo.

Depor lost stamina and Barcelona was going to score the fifth goal, and it was going to be Messi with one of his well-known solo-plays in which he broke Marchena and Laure to end beating Aranzubia with a crossed shot.

The game seemed over, but then Depor just needed one minute to put things in the same place after Oliveira released a cross from the left just into the path of Pizzi, who was trying to control it backward the goal, but left-back Jordi Alba deflected it trying to pass the ball to Valdés, instead he chipped the ball over his own keeper to score the fourth goal for the Galicians.

It was shocking for Barca, the Catalans were brilliant, but still hadn’t secured the three points, perhaps that was the reason why they looked so nervous within the final ten minutes. Depor pushed and Oltra allowed the debut of Salomão at Primera replacing Riki, but the locals didn’t find the equalizer despite Aranzubia tried to head on target a last-minute corner-kick for his side.

AFTER THE GAME
Few defeats can be so encouraging like this one; Barca was a steamroller, Fabregas provided three assists and Messi scored a hat-trick, but Depor, despite its well now issues at defense, responded after every knock and never lost the hope of dragging a point from this game, all of this after been down 0-3 by minute 17. Without doubt a motivation ahead of the derby.

In any case Deportivo remain in relegation after suffering a fourth straight defeat in la liga. Riazor saw nine or more goals for the first time since the 10-1 win over UD Lleida 60 years ago (05/Nov/1950). Also, this is the first time in which the Galician outfit loses a Primera game after scoring four or more goals at the Riazor.  The only precedent was a 4-4 draw against Real Sociedad on the season 1949/50. Oltra’s men will now prepare the Galician derby, which will be played on Saturday (Balaídos, 20h00 CET)

MATCH STATISTICS
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Laure, Marchena, Ze Castro, Ayoze – Álex Bergantiños, Abel Aguilar – Bruno Gama (Oliveira 60’), Valerón (Camuñas 60’), Pizzi – Riki (Salomão 78’).
Barcelona: (4-3-3) Valdés – Montoya, Mascherano, Song. Jordi Alba – Busquets, Fabregas (Xavi 60’), Iniesta – Tello (Pedro 55’), Messi, Villa (Adriano 53’).
Goals: Goals: 0-1: (3’) Jordi Alba, 0-2: (7’) Tello, 0-3: (17’) Messi, 1-3: (26’) Pizzi (penalty), 2-3 (37’) Álex, 2-4: (43’) Messi, 3-4: (47’) Pizzi, 3-5: (76’) Messi, 4-5: (78’) Jordi Alba (o.g.)
Referee: José Luis Parada Romero. He showed yellow card to Iniesta (34’), Álex Bergantiños (40’), Ayoze (51’), Valeron (56’), Laure (60’), Fabregas (77’) and Messi (85’). Mascherano was sent off (49’)
Venue: Riazor (33,000)
Other statistics: Ball possession (37% - 63%); Attempts to score (10 – 8); Total shots (13 - 10); Shots on target (8 - 7); Saves by the keepers (1 - 5); Corner-kicks  (5 - 1); Offsides (4 - 1); Fouls committed (12 - 13); Passing accuracy (85.25% - 91.32%)

* RESULTS & STANDINGS

ARCHIVE NEWS OCT/12

ZAPPING

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