Squad news


26 May 2013
Depor search for the salvation at La Rosaleda; a victory combined with the defeat of Real Zaragoza will secure the permanence. Fernando Vázquez recovers Salomão, but loses Manuel Pablo. The rival says good-bye to Pellegrini.

This new version of Malaga, founded in 1994, has been a favourable rival in the past two decades, because Deportivo have only lost once against the Andalusians after 21 meetings playing for Primera División, and that lonely loss came 13 years ago in a 1-0 result at La Rosaleda. But if something has characterized the visits to this stadium are the draws. And it’s that 7 of the 10 matches played there at the top-flight ended in a tie, the last six visits there meant a point for each side, including two straight 0-0 scores.

But this Malaga is, since last year, more concern of bigger goals and it’s turning to be a more powerful team when it plays at home. And it’s that Los Boquerenses have only lost four home meetings on this season playing in this condition: 1-2 Vs. Rayo Vallecano (matchday 10), 1-2 Vs. Real Sociedad (matchday 11), 1-3 Vs. FC Barcelona (matchday 19) and 0-2 Vs. RCD Espanyol (matchday 27).

Also, within the last six home meetings, the Andalusians have only allowed three goals clinching four clean sheets in the process. Meanwhile, at some point on this season, Depor were the worst visiting team in la liga, but now the numbers are much more positive as the Galicians have only suffered one defeat within the last four visits, clinching two victories in the process.

A curiosity is that Depor are ending the Primera season as the fifth best scorer on the road, and it’s that the Galicians have netted 23 goals after 18 visits, mark only below FC Barcelona (50), Real Madrid (33), Real Sociedad (28) and Real Betis (28)

The referee for the game is Carlos Delgado Ferreiro, who’s whistling Deportivo for the first time on the season; curiously the last time that the Basque man was the main referee in a game of Depor was also the penultimate game in a league season, it was two years ago as the Galicians grabbed a point visiting FC Barcelona (0-0).

If there’s something that has been criticized to this Deportivo during the present season it is the defense, after all the Galicians have allowed 60 or more goals for the first time since the 1980’s (60 on the Segunda season 1984/85). It was always said that the frailty to fit goals was among the main reasons why the team has suffered so much to stay alive in the league.

But it’s also true that, at this important stage on the season with the team at the edge of clinching the permanence, the defense is stronger, the team feels more comfortable at the moment of covering the gaps at the back zone, and as result of this Depor have only allowed three goals in the previous six Primera matches clinching three clean sheets in the process, just when the Blanquiazul outfit had only clinched five clean sheets in the previous 30 matchdays.

And this improvement was possible no matter that coach Fernando Vázquez  has lost Carlos Marchena, the leader of the defense and one of the four players that had participated in all the victories of the season before the last win over RCD Espanyol.

Now, there’s a new challenge for this game as Vázquez is losing captain Manuel Pablo, who’s suspended. The exit of the Canarian defender will be covered with Sílvio Azevedo switching his position to the right side of the defense, while Ayoze Díaz enters into the formation performing at the left. The rest of the defensive sector is the usual one, with Dani Aranzubia covering the goal, while Aythami Artiles and Ze Castro are the centre backs.

It’s an important meeting for Depor as it, combined with a defeat of Real Zaragoza, it could mean to secure the permanence at Primera División. The good news for Vázquez is that at midfield and attack he’s able to present his normal 4-2-3-1 figure. Abel Aguilar and Juan Dominguez are the centre midfielders in the match.

Bruno Gama attacks from the right flank; the Portuguese is the most inform player at the team scoring four goals plus providing two assists within the last seven meeting. More discrete has been the lately contribution of Pizzi and Riki, duo that has remained scoreless within the last three meetings. The Portuguese covers the left wing, the Madrilenian is the centre attacker. Juan Carlos Valerón completes the lineup under recent rumours of his exit at the end of the season.

The club decided to travel to Andalusia with the full squad; only one player remains at the injury room: centre-back Carlos Marchena, while right-back Manuel Pablo is suspended. Left winger Diogo Salomão received the medical discharge on Saturday and is available for the meeting. The remaining 21 players are also available and Vázquez will have to make a final list of 18 minutes before the kick-off.

Aythami Artiles talked during the week; the Canarian is convinced that the permanence will be resolved in the last matchday, "If the results are combined, perhaps we could be saved on Sunday, but it has been a hard season and I believe that things will be defined until the last matchday. Let's hope it will be on Sunday, but it will be difficult. It’s our dream and we are fighting in order to get it. The season has been tough, we always perceived a dark present, but now we see the light and must grab to it. We didn’t expect for this last stretch and let’s hope we can secure the salvation.”

Aranzubia commented that, “Any word is insufficient to describe the importance of this game. It’s hard to think that, in a long league like this one, everything could be decided in one or two games, let’s hope it will be in this one. We’re thinking in doing the right things and pull the game forward, then to enjoy in the last matchday, but before we must win a complicate game and wait for other results. We face the game with more need, but this is the last home game in a special season for them; in any case it must be noticed the need that we have.”

List of available players (22): Aranzubia, Lux (goalkeepers); Sílvio, Laure, Evaldo, Ayoze, Kaká, Aythami, Ze Castro (defenders); Álex Bergantiños, Abel Aguilar, Juan Dominguez, Jesús Vázquez, André Santos, Assunção, Bruno Gama, Pizzi, Salomão, Camuñas, Valerón (midfielders); Riki & Nélson Oliveira (strikers).

The best year ever for Malaga CF; the new ‘rich boy’ of Spanish football spent the major part of the season among the first six teams in la liga and, especially, it reached the quarterfinals in the UEFA Champions League always leaving a grateful impression, and in Copa Del Rey they were eliminated by FC Barcelona also in the quarterfinals.

But surprisingly, the owner of the club, Abdullah ben Nasser Al Thani, had faced problems to manage the financial situation of the club, which led to instability at the beginning of the season and also to suffer a ban from the UEFA as they didn’t match the standards according to the new financial rules, reason why they still don’t know if they will be able to play in Europe next year despite the Andalusians will probably end among the first seven places.

For this reason Al Thani is ready to make a severe cut in the budget, passing from €150 million to only €40 million in just one year; and the first cut is the wages of the players, in this sense a lot of exits are expected, at this point coach Manuel Pellegrini -the real soul of the team- already announced his exit, and in these days it was known that Real Madrid are already negotiating the transfer of ”Isco" Alarcón, one of the golden gems of Spain.

So, uncertainty is what prevails at this moment in the city of Malaga, beyond being focused in securing the European spot it gives the impression that the players are more concern on what will happen with them, and it’s that, after been eliminated by Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, Los Boquerones have only won two of six games, both of them performing at home and suffering before inferior rivals (CA Osasuna & Getafe CF).

For the game Pellegrini is almost having a full squad available, this since centre-back Martin Demichelis and also Paraguayan striker Roque Santa Cruz, one of the Pichichis at the team with eight goals scored, joined the trainings on Friday and are going directly into the starting lineup. But Chilean winger Pedro Morales is out injured. Goalkeeper Willy Caballero is coming back after missing the last game due to an ankle sprain, the Argentine is one of the best goalies in la liga and also impressed in the latter stages of the Champions League.

The draw for the game will be a 4-2-3-1, with Jesús Gámez performing at the right-back position, Portuguese Eliseu Pereira has been performing lately as the improvised left-back, while the central positions are for Argentine Demichelis and Brazilian Weligton de Oliveira.

Former Atlético Madrid Ignacio Camacho joins Chilean Manuel Iturra at midfield territory. Ex-Betis Joaquin Sánchez attacks from the right wing; the Andalusian has scored four goals and has provided four assists in the league tournament.

Isco will move his position to the left wing; it has been a year of growth for him, being one of the top-scorers at the team (8) and the six best assistor in the Champions League tournament (4). In recent games, as Santa Cruz was injured, Pellegrini opted in giving the striker’s role to Brazilian Julio Baptista, but now he delays his position in order to perform as the playmaker.

“The beast” is just playing his tenth game after returning from a serious injury, and he already netted three goals. Santa Cruz is the central attacker as he passed a late test, so Javier Saviola will be on the bench.  The Argentine man has netted seven goals in eighteen presentations with the team.

The players have been trying to transmit a message of unity and insisted that they consider the game as a final. Defender Diego Lugano talked before the game and said that he wants a victory as this is the last home meeting for Malaga, ”The game is special, because it’s the last one at home, it’s the good-bye after an special year for both the club and the city. We know we can close the year in a great way, and we cannot miss that great finale in front of our people. We must be prepared for a tough games before a team playing for its life and we must secure to ticket to Europe.”

Meanwhile, Weligtonexplained the intentions of Malaga for the game, ”We wanted to be in Champions League, but the Europa League is also a great result. The game against Depor will be pretty, surely it will be a party for the fans. We need a last effort in order to close the sixth place and secure the Europa League ticket. They play for a lot, but so do we. We must forget of Depor’s situation and focus in ourselves, because we need to make a solid game.”

Finally, another defender, Sergio Sánchez described the meeting as very important for Malaga, ”This weekend’s game is fundamental. To be able to close the year living at the European places it’s a matter of life or death. It would be important for the club and for we, the players that are staying. Besides this is the farewell match of Pellegrini, we play at home and want to dedicate the victory to him. It’s going to be an emotive weekend for everybody.”

List of picked players (22): Kameni, Caballero (goalkeepers); Jesús Gámez, Weligton, Lugano, Demichelis, Sergio Sánchez, Onyewu, Antunes (defenders); Camacho, Joaquin, Toulalan, Baptista, Lucas Piazon, Iturra, Duda, Eliseu, Francisco Portillo, Isco (midfielders); Saviola, Seba Fernández & Roque Santa Cruz  (strikers)

Malaga: (4-2-3-1) Caballero -  Jesús Gámez, Demichelis, Weligton, Eliseu – Camacho, Iturra – Joaquín, Baptista, Isco – Santa Cruz.
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Sílvio, Aythami, Ze Castro, Ayoze – Abel Aguilar, Juan Dominguez – Bruno Gama, Valerón, Pizzi – Riki.
Referee: Carlos Delgado Ferreiro
Kick-off: 20h00 CET (La Rosaleda)
Head-to-head Vs. Malaga: 12 wins for Depor, 8 draws, 1 win for Malaga (Primera)
Record in La Rosaleda: 2 wins for Depor, 7 draws, 1 win for Malaga (Primera)



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