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REVIEW: ESPANYOL 2 – DEPORTIVO 0 (LIGA)

21 Dec 2012
A soulless Deportivo ended the year 2012 with a new defeat and probably with its worst game of the year. Only some flashes in the first part and a terrible presentation in the second. The Galicians will start the new year as the last place at Primera.

BEFORE THE GAME
Big surprise in the lineup as Valerón was on the bench, instead Oltra put a line of three Portuguese players behind the central attacker: Salomão, Bruno Gama and Pizzi, this last one was the playmaker in the scheme. Lux was the starting goalie, Manuel Pablo played at the right-back position after Laure turned to be a last-minute casualty. Evaldo played on the left, while the centre backs were Aythami and Marchena.

Álex Bergantiños and Abel Aguilar were the two centre midfielders, Bruno Gama attacked from the right wing, Salomão did it from the left flank, Pizzi was the playmaker and Riki the central attacker.

At RCD Espanyol, coach Javier Aguirre sent the expected 4-2-3-1 formation with the only novelty of ex-Depor Joan Capdevila covering the left side of the defense.  The other two former players of Deportivo, Joan Verdú and Diego Colotto, were also starters. Sergio García was the reference up front.

FIRST HALF
Changes in the lineup for Deportivo, but the fate was the same. The Galicians had the ball possession, the best chances and faced a rival that had one of the worst passing accuracy ratios on the league season (only 69.38% in the first part), but still Oltra’s team was in disadvantage at the end of the first half after another distraction in a set-piece, more specifically in a corner-kick.

Depor had a strong start with two straight corner-kicks –it enjoyed six in the entire first half- but the side that had the first chance to score was Espanyol as Sergio García got the ball inside the area, but his final shot from close range just hit the net by the outside (3’). The ex-Zaragoza man looked pretty dangerous each time he got the ball.

The Galicians missed accuracy within the first minutes; they were trying to play on the counterattack, but they were losing the ball at midfield. The situation was worse for the locals; they were missing a lot of passes and never completed a shot on target. The first attempt on goal was a header of Riki after a cross of Manuel Pablo, but it was stopped by local goalie Francisco Casilla

Casilla appeared again at minute 15 in order to clear with the fists a strong shot of Pizzi. The game was intense, The Galicians had the ball possession in the entire game (63% in the first part) and relied in fast attacks, but neither Salomão nor Bruno Gama found the needed depth. Pizzi also had a grey performance and Riki barely had a chance.

At minute 21, a counterattack for Depor ended with Evaldo assisting Riki, but his mid-distance shot was blocked by a rival. Four minutes later Álex Bergantiños attempted from long-range, but he missed the target.

The first shot on target for the locals came at minute 28, Wakaso found a loose ball at the edge of the area and his strong shot was stopped by Lux. And the Catalans were going to score two minutes later; it was a corner-kick for them; Lux cleared the danger, but the ball went into the path of Simão Sabrosa, who headed the ball turning it into a perfect volley that passed over the Argentine goalie and Abel Aguilar. It gave the impression that that whole defensive line could have reacted quicker in order to clear the ball.

The goal stunned Depor; the Galicians were still having the ball possession, but didn’t create any scoring opportunity within the next ten minutes. It was until Riki was assisted by Bruno Gama that the visitors had the chance to tie the game, but the Madrilenian attacker missed the target (40’). One minute later Sergio Garcia missed a great in a counterattack, his final attempt was cleared by Lux.

The final two opportunities in this half were for Depor. The first was a free-kick of Pizzi that Marchena headed out (42’), then Riki attempted a header ’after a cross of Pizzi, but it was blocked (43’).

Deportivo left the impression of been the better team in this half; it had the ball possession and some clear chances; perhaps it missed the expected dynamism from the combination between Pizzi, Bruno Gama and Salomão. But still the rival, with a couple of chances, was leading in the scoresheet, and that taking in mind that they only had a passing ratio of 69.38%. One of the worst on this season.

SECOND HALF
Any Depor’s fan waiting for a reaction in the second part should have felt annoyed after the final whistle, because Depor didn’t do anything in the final half, no shots on target and no ideas to try to revert its disastrous present. Espanyol didn’t even improve its poor passing ratio and just needed a single chance at the end of the match to sentence a team that’s on its way back to Segunda.

The beginning of the second part didn’t bring hope to the fans, because the attacking line seemed totally disconnected. Oltra’s players never completed a combinative play and the only positive thing is that they earned a lot of corner-kicks, but they never seized these opportunities, just as it happened in Monday’s match against Real Sociedad. And it’s that Depor had 11 corners in favour on this clash (it had 10 against Real Sociedad).

Meanwhile, Espanyol seemed tranquil and just spent the time waiting to release a counterattack, like the play in which Sergio Garcia missed the target from the edge of the area (60’). Still, the Catalans were a poor team that continued missing a lot of passes. Luckily for them a harmless rival was in front of them.

The first modification of Oltra was the entry of Nélson Oliveira replacing Riki. In this way there was a quarter of Portuguese players in attack, but it didn’t work. There were no ideas, no confidence and neither individual skills to change the scoresheet.

The second substitution meant to put a new Portuguese player on the field; in this sense André Santos replaced Álex Bergantiños. Neither was the solution as Deportivo still was a soulless team that seemed broken. The first chance to score for the Galicians came until minute 75 and it was a shot of Abel Aguilar that missed the target.

Two minutes later Pizzi attempted from the edge of the area, but he missed the target too.  Twelve minutes before the end Valerón replaced Salomão, which moved Pizzi to the left wing, while the Canarian was now the playmaker. Zero effect as the only ‘contribution’ of El Flaco was to lose the ball in one opportunity.

The best chance in this half came at minute 83, Nélson Oliveira ended a counterattack for the Galicians, but he lasted too match and his crossed attempt was cleared to corner-kick by Casilla. And five minutes later Cristian Stuani, who was close to join Depor during the summer and who entered in the second part, scored the second goal firing from the penalty spot and after collecting a pass of another substitute, Baena.

Ironic end for Deportivo: been killed by the striker that should have joined the team and just minutes after enjoying the best chance in the game. The Galicians wasted a great opportunity to pick up the first away win on the season, after all the passing accuracy of the Catalans (69.14%) was the worst of any rival facing Depor in 2012. The defeat has a double effect as Espanyol is a direct rival in the quest for the permanence.

AFTER THE GAME
Deportivo played its worst game of the year and, just when it needed a reaction to leave the drop zone, it showed nothing against a direct rival to end the year 2012 at the bottom of the standings. No ideas and no game after Oltra sought for speed and accuracy. Espanyol only needed to seize two opportunities to punish Depor.

This is the first time since 1964 in which the Galicians will spend Christmas at the bottom of Primera División. It’s also the third straight time that Depor end scoreless, something unseen since the era of Lotina (January 2011) The players are now on vacations with the uncertainty of the future ahead and if Oltra will continue on board. The team returns to train on December 31 and on January 05 they host Malaga CF at the Riazor (20h00 CET).

MATCH STATISTICS
RCD Espanyol: (4-2-3-1) Casilla – Javi López, Colotto, Héctor Moreno, Capdevila – Víctor Sánchez (Baena 46’), Forlín – Wakaso (Stuani 76’), Verdú (Albin 90’), Simão – Sergio García
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Lux – Manuel Pablo, Marchena, Aythami, Evaldo – Abel Aguilar, Álex Bergantiños (André Santos 70’) – Salomão (Valerón 77’), Bruno Gama, Pizzi – Riki (Oliveira 60’)
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo. He showed yellow card to Víctor Sánchez (26’), Aythami (36’), Baena (84’) and Pizzi (90+3’)
Goals: 1-0: (30’) Simão, 2-0: (88’) Stuani
Venue: Cornellà-El Prat (19,000)
Other statistics: Ball possession (39% - 61%); Attempts to score (4 – 4); Total shots (9 - 16); Shots on target (5 - 4); Saves by the keepers (3 - 3); Corner-kicks  (3 - 11); Offsides (1 - 1); Fouls committed (14 - 8); Passing accuracy (69.14% - 77.43%)

* RESULTS & STANDINGS 

ARCHIVE NEWS DEC/12

ZAPPING

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