Squad news


27 Oct 2012
The Galician derby returns to Primera División; Oltra present a midfield sector born at the youth teams of the club and relies in almost the same squad that lost before Barca. Celta arrive to the meeting proud of its youth system.

The Galician derby returns to Primera División after five years; in the previous 60 editions played at the elite of Spanish football Depor have had the advantage with 23 victories against 21 of Celta plus 16 draws. Counting all the league meetings –Primera, Segunda & Segunda B- this is the edition number 107 of the derby, and the balance is equal with 41 triumphs for Celta against 40 of Deportivo plus 25 draws.

Celta arrive to the derby being one of the three teams in the league without adding points playing away from home –the others are Real Sociedad and CA Osasuna- but at Balaídos they’re strong and have chained three straight victories. The only loss at home for Los Celestes was in the opening matchday against Malaga CF (0-1).

Deportivo, meanwhile, arrives to this meeting after suffering four straight losses in the league. To mention that the last time Depor lost five liga games in a row occurred 41 years ago as Depor was about to suffer the relegation to Tercera during the season 1973/74 losing against Gimnástic (0-2), Real Betis (0-1), San Andrés (0-1), Mallorca (0-2) and Rayo Vallecano (0-2).

The positive news for Depor is that the Blanquiazul outfit has won four of the last six derbies disputed at Balaídos, including the 0-5 of the season 2003/04. An interesting note: Celta is only one of the three teams in la liga that hasn’t scored yet any goal at home during the first half –the others are Getafe and Real Sociedad- meanwhile 4 of the 6 away goals scored by Depor have been netted in the first part (67% of the total)

Finally, to remember that Deportivo have been unable to win any of its last fourteen away matches in la liga (7 draws and 7 defeats). The last time Depor won playing away from the Riazor was at San Mamés (1-2 at Athletic Bilbao; Jan 2, 2011). The previous negative streak is 17 away matches without a victory at Primera (between seasons 2009/10 & 2010/11).

Celta presume of having a large number of Galician players at the first team, while Depor only have three. But it turns out that two of them usually appear for the derbies: Álex Bergantiños and Juan Dominguez. Last season Oltra was playing with Álex and Jesús Vázquez as the normal two pivotes in his 4-2-3-1 draw, but Jesús got suspended for the derby played at the Riazor and Dominguez claimed the spot.

His performance alongside Álex was so good that Deportivo not even won the match, but also changed Oltra’s priorities as both Galician players, formed at the youth system of the club, became into the normal starters for the rest of the season. Now something similar is happening. Colombian Abel Aguilar has been an undisputed starter, even being one of the two players at the team playing all the possible minutes in liga, but at the beginning of the week he sustained a externus muscle injury on his right hip and was ruled out of the meeting. Now Dominguez claims the spot and wants to repeat the situation lived last year.

After the last training session, the Pontedeume-born midfielder talked at the press room of Abegondo and explained the importance of a derby, ”It’s different. I already played many derbies, including the ones at the youth teams. It’s special, but the important thing is the three points, so we must go out in order to earn the points. Everybody knows the importance of the game. All the players at the team know that this game is special.”

The rest of the team should be the same one of the defeat against FC Barcelona,, with Dani Aranzubia at the goal, Ayoze Díaz playing for the second straight time as a starter and covering the left-back position, Laureano Sanabria ´Laure´ playing on the right, while the central spots are for Portuguese Ze Castro and Carlos Marchena.

Bruno Gama will perform on the right wing, the Portuguese player is having a slow start on this season; last year he  scored eight goals and provided eight assists at Segunda, and for now his tally is zero after eight matchdays at Primera. More productive has been the work of Luís Miguel Afonso Fernandes ´Pizzi’, who scored a brace against Barca and is the new Pichichi at the team with four goals in favour plus providing two assists; he’ll perform at the left wing.

Juan Carlos Valerón will continue to be the guide as he performs on the playmaking function; then Iván Sánchez-Rico Soto ‘Riki’ will be the central attacker trying to increase his tally of 40 goals at Primera. On this season he has scored twice, and also scored a goal in each derby of the past Segunda tournament.

The other player joining Abel Aguilar at the injury room is left winger Diogo Salomão.  Right-back Manuel Pablo is already recovered from a hamstring strain injury, but he hasn’t received yet the medical okay. Two novelties in the list of picked players are left-back Tiago Pinto and centre midfielder André Santos. It’s the first time Pinto is picked for an official game on this season. The players out for tactical reasons are right winger Saul Fernández, right-back Diego Seoane, centre back Roderick Miranda, centre midfielder Jesús Vázquez and striker Rodolfo Bodipo.

Ze Castro talked before the derby; he was saying that Depor need more calm during the matches, ”We must improve in both senses, as individuals and as a team. We must understand that we cannot go out searching for the rival in all the games, instead we need more calm. As soon as we have a clearer idea and speak to each other on the pitch, then things will work out. In any case I´m sure that at the end of la liga we are going to be fine; we all believe it inside the changing room.”

Meanwhile, Ayoze stated that the players didn’t know by Friday the starting lineup for the game, “Everyone likes to play, but the coach is who decides. I’ll love to play, but must wait until tomorrow. He releases the lineup until the day of the game, but must wait. Surely I would love to play. All the players have a chance to play, and you just need to be prepared. We’re all professionals and must understand that sometimes you must go out of the team. It would be important to add the three points in this game; a derby is always special, but above all we want to start adding points.”

Finally, Valerón admitted to Radio Marca that the team is feeling the pressure, “We need to cut the negative streak of four straight defeats; it’s important for us in order to add the points. There’s pressure, but this is football and we’re prepared for this. The derbies are pretty equal, and I believe it’s going to be an attractive game, so we are going to see a lot of game at both areas and these plays are going to define the match. The action at both areas will determine the game.”

List of picked players (18): Aranzubia, Lux (goalkeepers); Laure, Ze Castro, Marchena, Aythami, Ayoze, Tiago Pinto, Evaldo (defenders);  Álex Bergantiños, Juan Domínguez, André Santos, Bruno Gama, Pizzi, Camuñas, Valerón (midfielders); Riki & Nélson Oliveira (strikers).

If RC Celta is proud of something it is of its youth system and their youngsters, aka canteranos. The five years at Segunda forced this club to search for other ways to get good players and there’s no more accessible road than to form them from the base. They lasted half a decade, but they are finally back at Primera División and want to give continuity to the project.

On the past weekend they performed at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium with seven players coming out from Celta B, and in past matchdays they even played with eight. In recent years only FC Barcelona, CA Osasuna, Athletic Bilbao or Real Sociedad can presume of have used the same number of 'homegrown product' at the elite of Spanish football ,so the mission is to continue doing it, but they need to survive in this league too. Therefore, and in order to fill the gaps, the club hired veterans coming from the outside in order to clinch the goal of the permanence; it still to be known if this formula is going to work or not.

Totally, Celta have twelve Galician players at the first team, while Deportivo only have three. For the derby against the Galician nemesis it’s expected that coach Paco Herrera will play with half of the canteranos at the first team, though always keeping the 4-2-3-1 draw.

On-loan player Javier Varas is already recovered from the gastric problem that sidelined him from the meeting against Real Madrid and he should return to defend the goal. Hugo Mallo covers the right-back position, Roberto Lago does the same on the left, while Venezuelan Andrés Tuñez joins Argentine Gustavo Cabral at the centre of the defense, the former River Plate is one of the signings for this season.

Captain Borja Oubiña and Álex López performs at the centre of midfield, while the wings are covered by new signings: Argentine Augusto Matías Fernández on the right and Danish Michael Krohn-Dehli on the left.

Meanwhile, the two more followed players by the media appear in the attacking line: Iago Aspas and Ju Young Park. South Korean Park is dragging the attention in his home country and already scored once, been the first South Korean player to score a goal in la liga. At the other side Aspas has netted three goals and is the Pichichi at the team, though he still has the pending issue of shining in a derby.

Before the game Borja Oubiña commented that, ”The key is to be focused during the entire game. The atmosphere must be stimulating and we can’t lose the concentration. We need to play the derby as calmed as possible; it’s important to keep the head in the game. For us, since we play at home, it isn’t useful the draw. The youngsters of the club are aware that this is a special game, but the ones coming from the outside too, because they played derbies in their countries. We are aware of the importance of winning this game, both for the fans and for our self-esteem.”

Meanwhile, defender Hugo Mallo was admitting that he hasn’t watched Depor on this season, ”The true is that I know nothing of Depor, because I haven’t watched them yet. What I know is that I’m pretty motivated ahead of the clash, because this is an important game for the Galicians. I respect Depor, but they aren’t Real Madrid.”

Finally, Argentine Augusto Fernández confessed to La Voz de Galicia that everything he knows of the derby was learn from his compatriot ‘Turu’ Flores, ”I know him, because he was an assistant at Vélez [Sarfield] and he played a lot with Depor, for that reason I already knew a lot about the derby.”

List of picked players (18): Javi Varas, Sergio Álvarez (goalkeepers); Hugo Mallo, Roberto Lago, Túñez, Cabral, Bellvís, Samuel Llorca (defenders); Oubiña, Álex López, Bustos, De Lucas, Krohn-Dehli, Augusto Fernández (midfielders); Bermejo, Aspas, Park and Toni (strikers).

Celta: (4-2-3-1) Varas - Hugo Mallo, Cabral, Túñez, Roberto Lago - Borja Oubiña, Álex López - Augusto Fernández, Park, Krohn-Dehli - Iago Aspas.
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Laure, Marchena, Ze Castro, Ayoze – Juan Dominguez, Álex Bergantiños – Bruno Gama, Valerón, Pizzi – Riki.
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco
Kick-off: 20h00 CET (Balaídos)
Head-to-head Vs. Celta: 40 wins for Depor, 25 draws, 41 wins for Celta (Primera, Segunda & Segunda B)
Record at Balaídos:  8 wins for Depor, 15 draws, 30 wins for Celta (Primera, Segunda & Segunda B)



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