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REVIEW: ESPANYOL 0 – DEPORTIVO 0 (LIGA)

27 Oct 2014
Depor picked a point in Barcelona after a poor game in which Espanyol forgave too much. Fabricio was the figure of the game with his five key saves. Second straight clean sheet and third on the whole league season.

BEFORE THE GAME
As it was expected coach Víctor Fernández repeated the lineup of the past game against Valencia CF. Even Pablo Insua repeated as the captain of the team. Since there were twenty players in the roster, two of them were left out of the bench and once again it was Manuel Pablo and Albert Lopo the ones stepping out.

The draw was a 4-2-3-1, Fabricio Agosto was at the goal, Juanfran played as a right-back Luisinho performed on the left, the central positions in defense were for Insua and Sidnei. Medunjanin and Wilk were the centre midfielders. Lucas Pérez attacked from the left wing, Cuenca did it from the right. Fariña was the playmaker and Cavaleiro the centre forward.

At RCD Espanyol, coach Sergio González switched the draw into a 4-2-3-1. Felipe Caicedo was on the bench, so ex-Real Madrid Castilla Álex Fernández stepped into midfield. The references in attack were Francisco Montañes, Lucas Vázquez and Christian Stuani. Ex-Depor Diego Colotto was a starter in the game.

FIRST HALF
Espanyol owed the first half, having the ball possession and harassing the visiting area, but they were only able to create danger in set-pieces after four of their best five chances were created after free-kicks. Depor was a flat team up front, but solid at defense. The set-back was that Lucas Pérez left the game injured.

The match started with the locals pushing up front, Depor had problems to clear the ball within the first five minutes, but there were no shots on target in this frame of the meeting, actually there were only two shots on goal in the first part –plus one that hit the woodwork- Little by little the Galicians started to step into the rival’s area, mainly insisting on the right wing, but it never left a sense of danger before local goalie Kiko Casilla.

The first chance in the game came at minute 9, Lucas Pérez lost the ball at the edge of the area after a free-kick action, luckily Luisinho cleared the ball before it reached the path of Víctor Sánchez (10’). One minute later, Stuani was fouled at the edge of the area and in the resulting free-kick Lucas Vázquez hit the crossbar. The A-Coruña player was the main threat throughout the game, elusive but at the same time erratic.

At this point in the game, with only fifteen minutes played, it was clear that Depor wasn’t going to have the same performance of the previous game at the Riazor, and to make things worse Lucas Pérez got injured as he was trying to steal the ball at midfield. He was replaced by José Rodríguez. The club informed later that he suffered a knee concussion.

The move didn’t switch the 4-2-3-1 draw, but José Rodriguez was now the playmaker with Fariña performing on the left wing. Espanyol was the side that was still having the best chances. At minute 22, Colotto picked the ball after a lateral free-kick and his scissor-kick attempt missed the target by inches.

Depor’s problem was that the team was searching for the counterattack, but in order to succeed it was needed to steal the ball and have accuracy with the passes, and the team missed both things; actually the visiting side was losing the ball pretty easily –the accuracy of the passes was only 65% in the game-

At minute 31, Fabricio made a great save, it was the first shot on target in the game. Montañes picked the ball at the right corner of the area and unleashed a low shot that was searching for the bottom corner and the Canarian keeper cleared the ball to corner-kick. The Canarian goalie was going to be very important in the second part.

Depor’s first opportunity in the game came until minute 33; Juanfran got the ball at midfield and ran five meters before firing a strong shot that went into the path of Casilla. It was the first and lonely shot on target for the visiting team during the whole meeting.

The next chance for Espanyol came at minute 37, it was another lateral free-kick. Lucas Vázquez released the cross from the right, Fabricio missed the ball and luckily it hit the back of Colotto to end out. That was going to be the only error of the keeper in this match.

The half ended with a great chance for los Periquitos, Lucas Vázquez picked the ball after a cross from the left and somehow he missed the target from the penalty spot as he was alone before Fabricio (45+1’). It was a picture that was going to be repeated a lot of times.

SECOND HALF
Espanyol continued dominating and harassing Depor’s area, this time there were errors at the back zone and the cracks could only be cleared by Fabricio, the best player in the game with five saves and some important interventions anticipating the rival.

The second part started in the same way: Espanyol were pushing up front, having the ball possession and looking dangerous in set-pieces. There were two differences at Depor; the first is that José Rodriguez and Fariña switched the positions. Now the Argentine man was the playmaker. The second is that Depor’s defenders, solid in the first part, were now committing expensive errors and only the performance of Fabricio saved the game.

Depor’s first approximation in the half was a direct free-kick of Medunjanin in which he missed the target (52’). Three minutes later Insua committed a big mistake as he tried to assist Fabricio with the head, but Stuani was coming from behind and the Uruguayan couldn’t score with his chipping attempt before the desperation of the keeper. Luck also played in favour of Depor and this action was a demonstration of this.

The second modification at Depor was the entry of Hélder Postiga replacing Isaac Cuenca. The winger barely appeared in the game, but neither the Portuguese striker was active on the pitch. He only touched the ball in twelve opportunities.

Espanyol were still having clear chances to score the goal. At minute 61, Stuani headed a cross coming from the left, but his attempt missed the target. In the next two minutes Lucas Vázquez missed twice the chance to score, both collecting the ball inside the area and in both he sent the ball wide. Luck appeared again in favour of Depor.

At minute 70, substitute Caicedo collected a cross coming from the left, his heading attempt was going in, but Fabricio miraculously made the save, later Montañes couldn’t push the ball n from inside the box. In this way the Canarian became into the best player in the game as this save was followed by other two solid interventions.

The sin of Espanyol was to miss so many opportunities, because they had four chances to only push the ball in from close range, but unexplainably they sent the ball wide. They also focused the offense in penetrating by the sides and their 41 crosses and 11 corner-kicks were never materialized in a goal. As a way of comparison Depor didn’t have a corner-kick and only completed eight corsses.

The final modification at Depor was the entry of Álex Bergantiños replacing Medunjanin. The draw was still a 4-2-3-1, but now with Postiga playing behind Cavaleiro. The Galician midfielder brought more stability to the team, though it’s also true that Espanyol were already losing will after running across the pitch for 80 minutes.

At minute 83, Depor had their second approximation in the half, Cavaleiro released a free-kick from the left wing, but neither Postiga nor Wilk were able to shot on target as they were backwards the goal. Nothing more occurred within the five minutes, the locals were already tired and Depor finally stepped into the rival’s area, but without creating any opportunity.

AFTER THE GAME
Coach Víctor Fernández said in past weeks that luck was going to show in the near future in order to help Deportivo to add victories. In this game it finally showed up and, together with Fabricio, it helped to add a valuable point on the road and the second straight clean sheet.

The point is helping Depor to move into the sixteenth position, three points above the relegation zone. The next week will be short as the Galician outfit host Getafe CF on Friday (Riazor, 20h45 CET).

MATCH STATISTICS
Espanyol: (4-2-3-1) Casilla – Javi López, Colotto, Álvaro González, Fuentes – Cañas, Álex Fernández (Caicedo 62’) – Lucas Vázquez, Víctor Sánchez, Montañes – Stuani
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Fabricio – Juanfran, Insua, Sidnei, Luisinho – Wilk, Medunjanin (Álex Bergantiños 73’) – Cuenca (Postiga 58’), Fariña, Lucas (José Rodríguez 18’) - Cavaleiro
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo. He showed yellow card to Luisinho (37’), Víctor Sánchez (52’), Medunjanin (53’), Postiga (69’), Álvaro (79’) & Insua (80’)
Venue: Cornellà-El Prat/Power8 stadium (22,732)
Other statistics: Ball possession (60% - 40%); Attempts to score (8 – 2); Total shots (16 - 5); Shots on target (5 - 1); Saves by the keepers (1 - 5); Corner-kicks (11 - 0); Offsides (0 - 0); Fouls committed (11 - 17); Passing accuracy (77% - 65%)

* RESULTS & STANDINGS

ARCHIVE NEWS OCT/14

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