Squad news


22 Dec 2016
Deportivo reached the last-16 round in Copa after an exciting game in which both sides had the chance to pass the tie, in the end the Galicians seized their punch in what was the last game of Ryan Babel at Depor.

Coach Gaizka Garitano presented novelties at the team, as it was expected he was making rotations, though some normal starters like Juanfran and Sidnei started from the beginning. Fayçal Fajr and Alejandro Arribas returned after not playing in the past month.

Rubén Martínez was the starting goalie, Juanfran Moreno covered the right side in defence, Luisinho played on the left, Sidnei and Arribas were the centre-backs. Pedro Mosquera and Guilherme were the centre midfielders, Fajr attacked from the right wing, Ryan Babel did it from the left, then Marlos Moreno played behind Joselu in attack.

At Real Betis, Víctor Sánchez opted in continuing using the system with three centre-backs and made some rotations, but the references in attack, as it was expected, were Toni Sanabria and Álex Alegría.

Photo: La Liga

Deportivo dominated within the first 23 minutes, it scored a goal and had chances to extend the lead, later Betis improved and had three clear chances to score. It was an entertaining half with both sides deserving something, in the end the series was tied.

The game was loose at the start, Betis didn’t have any hurry and neither Deportivo. The first opportunity came at minute 6, Babel collected the ball at the edge of the area after a steal by Joselu, but he sent the ball wide.

Betis put a line of five men at the back, but it seemed insecure as they were losing the ball constantly and in compromised positions on the field, which allowed the counterattack of Deportivo. And this lack of secureness was also transmitted in the play of the first goal.

It was a lateral free-kick at the left wing, Fajr released a perfect cross, Pezella lost the mark of Alejandro Arribas, who entered from behind to drill the ball into the near post of visiting goalie Dani Giménez.

Depor continued pushing and one minute later Fajr was fouled at the edge of the area in what could have been a penalty. At minute 16, Juanfran released a perfect cross from the right and the header of Marlos Moreno was going in, but this time Dani Gimenez deflected the ball.

Ryan Donk had the first chance for Betis in a long run on the left wing, he eluded Rubén Martínez and tried to drill the ball into the goal, but Sidnei was well placed to clear the danger. Depor were clearly dominating before a soft defence that was conceding a lot, and the picture changed soon.

Because Betis had the next three chances with Rubén Martínez making two key saves, in the first Piccini collected a cross from the left when he was at the right side of the box, but his strong shot hit the chest of Depor’s goalie (23’). One minute later the same Rubén deflected the ball in a one-on-one action before Álex Alegria.

At minute 29, a cross from Durmisi was found by Álex Alegria inside the area, somehow the defence was static and somehow the attacker headed the ball out when the goal seemed done. At this point the game seemed in favour of Betis and Depor weren’t having arrivals, but later the pace was low within the last fifteen minutes and there were no more scoring chances.

Photo: La Liga

The final part was also entertaining; Depor had the pass secured twice, first after scoring two goals without response, and later after earning a penalty. In the end Los Blanquiazules had to suffer until the end and reached the next round after Real Betis were unable to seize their opportunities.

The second half started with a lateral free-kick in which Babel missed the target (47’). Depor were putting pressure up front and earned two more lateral free-kick, the third was going to be the second goal for the locals.

Fajr started the play again with the cross, this time a defender cleared the danger with a header, but the ball went directly into the path of Luisinho, who didn’t hesitate in releasing a rocket that entered at the near post of Dani Giménez.

The second goal meant that the extra time wasn’t necessary and Depor secured the tie just a couple of minutes later, Juanfran released a high cross from the right, the ball went into the far post and Ryan Babel was there to, after eluding a rival, score with a shot that hit the ground first.

The game seemed resolved, but Betis pulled a goal in a weird play. A run by Dani Ceballos ended with Sanabria releasing a cross from the left, the ball hit a rival and after a series of rebounds Piccini scored pushing the ball at the far post.

The visiting goal changed the tide, Víctor made the changes at Betis, Rubén Castro entered the field and the draw was switched into a 4-3-3. The Andalusians claimed the ball possession and Depor started to defend the narrow advantage. At minute 74, Bruno González headed the ball out in a lateral free-kick of Dani Ceballos. A goal for Betis would have meant death for Deportivo, because the Galicians would have needed two more goals and there was no time for it.

And Depor had the chance to define the tie in a penalty, Marlos Moreno was erratic in the whole game, but in this play he brilliantly eluded two rivals inside the area and assisted Juanfran, who released a cross searching for Babel, and the Dutchman was pushed by Piccini. The referee whistled the penalty and Joselu missed the chance from the spot sending the ball wide.

Bruno Gama replaced Marlos Moreno and Depor started to suffer. Betis had the chance to score twice. In the first Rubén Martínez made the save before the low shot by Rubén Castro (86’), one minute later it was Sidnei who cleared the danger before the low attempt of substitute Jonas Martin.

Depor tried to release the pressure with the entries of Emre Çolak and Celso Borges and the true is that Betis didn’t have more opportunities within the last three minutes plus the added time.  The note was that one of the men that was replaced by Babel and he said good-bye to the fans when he was leaving the pitch.

Another big game for Depor, despite the changes at the lineup the team showed the same offensive attitude of recent games and scored three times, enough to pass the round as Betis missed too many opportunities. Depor reach the last-16 round with a 3-2 aggregate score.

Depor are now in vacation. The team will return to train until December 29. The draw for the next round in Copa is taking place on Friday. The first game in 2017 will be the league visit to RCD Espanyol (January 6, 20h45 CET). 

Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Rubén Martínez –Juanfran, Arribas, Sidnei, Luisinho –Guilherme, Mosquera (Borges 89’) - Fajr, Marlos Moreno (Bruno Gama 77’), Babel (Çolak 87’) - Joselu.
Betis: (5-3-2) Dani Giménez – Piccini, Bruno, Mandi (Rubén Castro 66’), Pezzela, Durmisi –Petros (Jonas Martín 66’), Donk (Felipe Gutiérrez 82’), Dani Ceballos – Sanabria, Álex Alegría
Goals: 1-0: (11’) Arribas, 2-0: (53’) Luisinho, 3-0: (59’) Babel, 3-1: (66’) Piccini
Referee: José Luis González González. He showed yellow card to Bruno González (57’), Piccini (76’), Dani Ceballos (77’), Joselu (79’) & Jonas Martin (89’)
Venue: Riazor (17,270)
Other statistics: Ball possession (44% - 56%); Attempts to score (8 – 6); Total shots (10 - 9); Shots on target (5- 4); Saves by the keepers (3 - 2); Corner-kicks (5 - 5); Offsides (3 - 4); Fouls committed (13 - 18); Passing accuracy (64% - 71%)



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