Squad news


19 Mar 2016
First final for a Deportivo that still searching for its first victory in 2016. Lucas returns, while Arribas is fit and available. Levante want to win two straight games for the first time on the season and approach to salvation.

No one has lived more problems at Primera during this season than Levante UD, and it’s that they have lived as the bottom club in 17 of 29 matchdays played so far, same position they are occupying before landing at the Riazor. Besides, they have been in relegation since matchday 06. The main explanations are their offensive record and their poor away performance.

The Valencians are tied with Getafe CF and Real Betis as the worst offenses in la liga with 27 goals scored and are the second worst away team in the competition with only 6 points added after 14 visits. Their lonely away victory was a 0-3 at Sporting Gijón (November 22).

Meanwhile, Deportivo arrive to this meeting with a streak of 13 straight games without adding the three points, only one game away from the record at the club witnessed on last season.  The Galicians are also the worst team in 2016 with only six points added in 12 league appearances; Levante UD is 13th in this virtual table with 13 points.

Levante UD always suffered in their visits to the Riazor after only winning once in the first thirteen opportunities, but the Valencians won two of the last three games in A Coruña. Last season they lost 0-2 in the penultimate matchday.

The particular calendar of Deportivo, with the remaining away games against the top teams, and the home matches been clashes with direct rivals for the permanence, is causing the strong impression that Saturday’s game against Levante UD is the first of three finals to secure the permanence (the other two are the home games against UD Las Palmas and Getafe CF). And the anxiety is bigger inside the team after spending 13 straight matches without winning.

Not all players are admitting that this is a final, Celso Borges said it on Thursday that this is one of many finals, “We are taking the game with the highest concentration. We are conscious that from now own all the games are finals. It’s a vital game, we want to reach the pause for the national teams with a good result. We have spent a lot of matchdays without winning and the victory would be great to us.”

One day later Cani didn’t describe the game as a final, but at the same time said that it is vital, “Nobody will tell us that this is a vital game, we already know, we know that we need to win no matter how. This is an important game, but not a final, because later we know there are more matches, but we are focused in winning.”

For the occasion coach Víctor Sánchez will switch the draw into a 4-4-2 for the game, German Lux is the starting goalie, Juanfran Moreno covers the right side in defence, Luisinho plays at the left sector, Alejandro Arribas passed a late test and performs alongside Fernando Navarro at the central positions in defence.

Celso Borges and Pedro Mosquera are the centre midfielders, Cani returns after been out a month and covers the right wing, Fayçal Fajr plays at the left flank, then Luis Alberto and Lucas Pérez are the centre-backs.

Albert Lopo was surprisingly included into the roster despite it was commented that he was going to miss the clash due to a knock. So, the four players staying at the injury room are Fabricio Agosto, Manuel Pablo Stipe Pletikosa and Sidnei Rechel. The coach also picked Fabricio Agosto from Fabril as Lux was dragging issues, though the Argentine will start in the game. Juan Dominguez was available, but the coach didn’t pick him for the meeting, the other player out for tactical reasons is Jonás Gutiérrez

List of picked players (19): Lux, Manu, David Gómez (goalkeepers); Laure, Lopo, Arribas, Juanfran, Navarro (defenders); Álex Bergantiños, Celso Borges, Mosquera, Luisinho, Cartabia, Cani, Fayçal Fajr (midfielders); Oriol Riera, Lucas Pérez, Jonathan Rodriguez & Luis Alberto (attackers).

Things are turning to be dramatic at Levante UD after spending so many time in relegation (since matchday 06), but the fact of adding 4 of the last 6 points in dispute allowed them to tie the mark of points made by Sporting Gijón (three points under salvation) and is making the whole city of Levante believing that a comeback is possible, and the upcoming calendar facing Deportivo, Sporting Gijón, Real Betis, RCD Espanyol and Granada CF is now their last opportunity.

The board of directors has negotiated incentives for winning games and coach Rubi already made some internal moves like ruling out players that aren’t committed like defender Ángel Trujillo and attacker Nabil Ghilas and instead he relies in winter signings like ex-Depor Joan Verdú and Giuseppe Rossi

It’s expected that Rubi is going to present the same 4-4-2 draw of the Valencian derby, Diego Mariño is the starting goalie, Jefferson Lerma covers the right side in defence, veteran Juanfran García performs at the left, then Algerian Carl Medjani and Moroccan Zouhair Feddal are the centre-backs.

Mozambican Simão Mate and José Antonio García ‘Verza’ are the centre midfielders, Verdú attacks from the right wing, José Luis Morales does it from the left, while Rossi and Brazilian Deyverson Silva are the centre forwards.

Despite been one of the worst offensive teams in la liga, there are interesting players in attack.  Deyverson is the top-scorer with nine goals added to his tally, Madrilenian Morales is the most consistent player after scoring six times and providing four assists, while Italian Rossi has added three goals and two assists in his nine appearances at the team.

Ex-Depor Joan Verdú is also considered as a good addition in attack, he was talking of the meeting and his past, ”They are forced to get something positive, but don’t have more things to win than ourselves. Believe me the Riazor is a tough stadium. The good thing on this year is that, if you win two straight games, then you leave the pit really quickly. I spent three very good years there. I had the chance to be with a coach like Lotina, and a group of fans that trusted me, they were always at my side. Over there I grew up as a player and as a person.”

List of called players (19): Mariño, Rubén Martínez (goalkeepers); David Navarro, Juanfran García, Medjani, Orbán, Feddal (defenders); Camarasa, Simão, Verza, Lerma, Rubén García, Morales, Pedro López, Joan Verdú (midfielders); Mauricio Cuero, Víctor Casadesús, Deyverson & Rossi (attackers)

Deportivo: (4-4-2) Lux – Juanfran, Arribas, Navarro, Luisinho – Cani, Borges, Mosquera, Fajr. Lucas, Luis Alberto.
Levante:(4-4-2) Mariño – Lerma, Medjani, Feddal, Juanfran García – Verdú, Simão, Verza, Morales – Rossi, Deyverson.
Referee: Iñaki Vicandi Garrido
Kick-off: 20h30 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs. Levante: 16 wins for Depor, 3 draws, 12 wins for Levante (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 11 wins for Depor, 1 draw, 3 wins for Levante (Primera & Segunda)



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