Competition news

PREVIEW: DEPORTIVO – LUGO (LIGA)

30 Nov 2013
The solid defense of Deportivo will face a tough exam as it faces one of the most offensive teams at Segunda; Insua is dragging an Achilles problems, but Fernando Vázquez will be able to repeat the lineup for the third straight opportunity.

STATISTICS: GALICIANS VISITING THE RIAZOR
Deportivo have become into the leader at Segunda División despite presenting a poor scoring mark: only 16 goals in favour after 15 matchdays. It’s the second lowest mark on this century for a leader in this league after the first 15 encounters. The lowest mark was Hércules CF during the campaign 2011/12 (15).

Off course the base of Depor on the season is the defense, after all the Galicians have only allowed eight goals so far; only other two clubs had the same mark at this height of the competition during the 2000’s; curiously it was the last two leaders: Hércules CF (2011/12) & Elche CF (2012/13).

CD Lugo, meanwhile, arrive to the Riazor living a solid moment, though they just broke a positive streak of six straight matches without losing, their best ever mark in their short career at Segunda. For many people this is a derby, though the real Galician derby will always be the meeting with RC Celta, apart from this club, Depor already faced seven Galician outfits playing in a league competition: SD Compostela, Club Lemos, CD Lugo, CD Ourense, Pontevedra CF, Racing de Ferrol & Union Sporting.

These seven clubs made 35 visits to the Riazor and Depor won 26 of those matches. The last time a Galician team, apart from Celta, clinched a win at the Riazor was on matchday 37 of the Primera season 1997/98: a painful 2-6 loss hosting SD Compostela.

This is the third league meeting between Depor and CD Lugo, though both teams already collided in ten opportunities playing for Copa Del Rey. CD Lugo have never won in A Coruña after six visits to the Riazor; their biggest achievement was a goalless draw in the Copa tournament of the season 1976/77, while they suffered a devastating 1-8 in the same tournament of the campaign 1981/82, in that game Depor’s Francisco Garcia scored a hat-trick and provided an assist.

DEPORTIVO: THE KEY IS THE DEFENSE
It’s a well-known fact that Depor’s defense is the key to understand why the Galician outfit is the most in-form team in the league with four victories in a row, it’s also a strong reason to explain why they reached the top of the standings on last Sunday. After 15 matchdays the team has only allowed eight goals, clinching nine clean sheets in the process.

It’s the best mark at the club since the campaign 1996/97; at the time Los Blanquiazules were competing at Primera only allowing eight goals in the first 17 matchdays and clinching nine clean sheets in the process. The best part is that the defense has been solid throughout the tournament, never allowing more than two goals and only showing some signs of weakness at the moment of defending the set-pieces, after all it is the way in which six of the eight goals were leaked (3 in a free-kick, 2 in a corner-kick and 1 penalty-kick)

Now it faces a big challenge as the rival is CD Lugo, perhaps the most praised team for its attractive and offensive football. The Galician neighbors are the fifth team at Segunda in terms of shots: 193 (average of 13 per game) and it’s also the second team in the league in terms of more passes: 7,888 (526 per game). Without doubt a demanding exam for a team that’s exhibiting for the first time its condition of leader.

Despite the recent injury cases coach Fernando Vázquez is able to repeat the lineup for the third straight opportunity. German Lux defends the goal, Diego Seoane performs at the right side of the defense, Pablo Insua and Carlos Marchena cover the central positions at defense, while Manuel Pablo plays at the left side.

Álex Bergantiños and Juan Dominguez are the centre midfielders, Madrilenian Javier Arizmendi attacks from the right wing, Argentine Juan Culio is the playmaker, Portuguese Luisinho attacks from the left flank and Luis Fernández is the central attacker.

Right-back Laureano Sanabria ‘Laure’ received the medical okay to play and was included in the list for the game, but he will be on the bench. Centre-back Kaká joined the trainings on Friday, but it’s too soon for him and was left out of the meeting; the other three players at the injury room are wingers Álvaro Lemos and Antonio Núñez plus centre midfielder Cezary Wilk.

Centre-back Pablo Insua is dragging an Achilles injury; he didn’t train on Friday, but the doctors expect that he will be fit to play. In any case Vázquez picked Uxío Marcos in case his presence is needed. Centre midfielder Paulo Teles is the other players from Fabril that has been included in the list for the match. Both players could end performing for Depor B during the weekend, because the Tercera match against UD Somozas takes place until Sunday. Who wasn’t picked for this meeting is playmaker Bicho, who’s going directly to Fabril.

Depor’s players are aware of the rival’s quality, as Álex Bergantiños commented it, ”They are a daring rival, plenty of confidence in order to have the ball possession; their coach insists on this and they will be motivated, because the stadium will be full, Together with Recreativo de Huelva, at the beginning of the season, they are among the more attractive teams in the league, because they have the ball possession and like to assume risks.”

Striker Luis Fernández was having a similar opinion, ”They built up a serious team and all the players have a clear idea of what they’re doing. Maybe the idea at the beginning is to clinch the permanence, but their game is great and the results are good too, so I believe they will be up there. I would love to see them fighting to reach Primera.”

List of picked players (18): Lux, Fabricio (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Laure, Seoane, Luisinho, Insua, Uxío, Marchena (defenders); Álex Bergantiños, Juan Domínguez, Juan Carlos, Teles, Culio (midfielders); Luis Fernández, Rudy, Arizmendi & Borja Bastón (strikers).

LUGO: THE POWER OF ORDER
Seven years ago CD Lugo were facing Deportivo B at Tercera División, just the story of any club in Galicia, region that within the last two decades was already used to only see Depor & Celta at the top flight. Now things are changing as Los Albivermellos are living the best moment in their sexagenarian history. They are playing their third year at Segunda and a fortnight ago reached the second place at the standings for the first time, though the last defeat against Sporting Gijón pulled them down to the fifth position.

What no one can deny is that this is an example to follow; their football is highly praised by the other coaches and their business model is an exception to the highly indebted Spanish football situation (their debt is only €70,000). The current president of the club, José Bouso, explained in a recent interview the two key aspects for the current success, ”The secret is to attempt in any possible way to guess right with the signings and then work hard day after day. It’s also very important to keep the payments up to date, something primordial. From there, there are many small details that are influencing.”

Despite the sweet moment lived at Segunda, the coaches, officials and players prefer to keep both feet on the ground affirming that the only goal is the permanence and solidify the position of the club in the league. Bouso explained it during his interview, ”Everyone has the right to dream, but our reality and the important thing is to clinch the permanence on this season and until we can. Segunda A is a wonderful place for Lugo. If later we are lucky and win the lottery of Primera, then it’s great, but it’s impossible to think that it’s a target.”

Within the last month coach Quique Setién has faced many problems with the injuries, from the physical problems of Pablo Álvarez to the inopportune injury of his top scorer, Vincenzo Rennella, but for the meeting at the Riazor everybody is okay and there’s only one casualty as left-back Victor Marco –used as a centre-back on this season- is suspended.

The expected formation is a 4-2-3-1 figure with two former Depor’s players on it. Ex-Granada José Juan is the starting goalie, former Cádiz man David de Coz covers the right-back position, while captain Manu Rodríguez performs at the left, then ex-Murcia Jorge García enters into the formation in order to join ex-Numancia Manuel Pavón at the central positions.

Ex-Fabril Carlos Pita and Fernando Seoane direct the traffic at midfield, Pablo Álvarez won’t be a starter as he is just returning from an injury, so ex-Cadiz man Pablo Sánchez attacks from the right wing. He’s the second best scorer at his team with four goals added to his tally. Álvaro Peña is the playmaker in the formation, then ex-Deportivo Iván Pérez Maceiras attacks from the left.

Vincenzo Rennella was expected to start up front, but the Frenchman, who has scored six goals in twelve games, didn’t train within the last three days and will now be on the bench, so the starter at the centre of the attack will be former Rangers man Francisco Sandaza, who has scored three goals so far (the last one in October against Córdoba CF). The fourth former player of Depor at the team is Dani Mallo, who’s the reserve keeper for the match.

Ex-Depor Pita talked before the game about his feelings, ”No one thought that we were going to face them, for their history and because we were at Segunda B two years ago, and now fighting for a dream that we are now living. But for us it must be one more game, though it is hopeful for everybody, because we are Galician and also because of the scenario, which is spectacular.”

He also admitted that Depor contacted him in the summer in order to return to the Riazor, ”I’m playing football for the money; I won’t fool anyone, but had renewed with Lugo and later Depor contacted Lugo. There’s nothing more to say about it. I signed a renewal with its consequences and it happened what it happened.”

Captain Manu talked of the difficulty of this task, ”It’s going to be complicated to win at the Riazor. Depor is a reliable team, they only allow a few goals, so it’s going to be really complicate to beat them, but we have enough resources. They’re also dangerous upfront and it’s going to be a highly disputed game that will be decided by small details.”

Finally, full-back Víctor Díaz was optimistic about the chances of his team on this game, ”It has been demonstrated that Lugo are already used to this league; we don’t shrink at any field; we have a solid team and are playing with the style that the coach always wanted, so I think we can do a nice game there. I believe we are going to have the ball possession. We are going to practice our game, as always, it doesn’t matter it is the Riazor. They’ve a pretty solid defense, so I guess they will be waiting for us.”

List of picked players (20): José Juan, Dani Mallo (goalkeepers); Víctor Díaz, David de Coz, Lolo Pavón, Miguel Tena,  Jorge, Manu (defenders); Carlos Pita, Fernando Seoane, Rafa García, Iván Pérez, Álvaro Peña, Pablo Sánchez, Pablo Álvarez, Iago Díaz, Ernesto (midfielders); Enzo Rennella, Fran Sandaza & Juanjo (strikers).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Lux – Seoane, Insua, Marchena, Manuel Pablo – Álex Bergantiños, Juan Domínguez – Arizmendi, Culio, Luisinho – Luis.
Lugo: (4-2-3-1) José Juan -  De Coz, Pavón, Jorge García, Manu - Carlos Pita, Fernando Seoane - Pablo Sánchez, Álvaro Peña, Iván Pérez - Sandaza.
Referee: Santiago Jaime Latre
Kick-off: 18h15 CET  (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs. Lugo: 7 wins for Depor, 2 draws, 3 wins for Lugo (Tercera & Copa)
Record Vs. Galician teams (apart from Celta): 35 wins, 15 draws, 20 defeats (Primera, Segunda, Segunda B & Tercera).
Record at the Riazor Vs. Galician teams (apart from Celta): 26 wins, 3 draws, 6 defeats (Primera, Segunda, Segunda B & Tercera).

ARCHIVE NEWS NOV/13

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