Squad news


13 Mar 2017
Marvellous victory for Deportivo, Barcelona simply didn’t match its best level and a very serious Depor could have even scored more goals. The Galicians remain undefeated with Pepe Mel.

Joselu was fit to play and went directly into the starting eleven, coach Pepe Mel presented the expected 4-2-3-1 draw. German Lux was the goalkeeper, Juanfran Moreno defended the right side, Fernando Navarro covered the left side, while the centre-backs were Raúl Albentosa and Alejandro Arribas

Celso Borges and Álex Bergantiños were the centre midfielders, Bruno Gama returned and attacked from the right wing, Carles Gil was the unusual playmaker, Fayçal Fajr played on the left wing and Joselu was the centre forward.

At FC Barcelona, Javier Mascherano was a starter as Samuel Umtiti was rested. Luis Enrique was relying in Arda Turan as the replacement of Neymar, while Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez were the other references up front.

Great first part by Deportivo, Barcelona had the ball (70% ball possession by half-time), but the Catalans, despite some punctual errors by Depor’s defence, only completed one shot on target. Meanwhile, the Galicians bear the situation and later Joselu had two big chances, in one of them he scored the goal.

The game started as it was expected: with Barcelona having the ball possession and with Deportivo locked at their side of the pitch. The first shot on target came at minute 8, Bruno Gama made the play at midfield and ended assisting Joselu, who attempted a low shot from the right that was blocked by visiting goalie Ter Stegen.

Barcelona continued having the possession, though the Catalans weren’t ending the plays, mainly as they were missing the last pass before a concentrated defence. Depor were pushing on the right wing, but the crosses of Juanfran weren’t meeting the target.

Messi and Luis Suárez combined for the first time until minute 20, but Arribas was there to clear the ball to corner-kick. In the middle of the heavy rain, Depor responded with a cross by Fajr that was searching for Borges, but Piqué cleared the danger (26’).

One minute later Barcelona completed its first shot on target, it was a header of Luis Suárez in a lateral free-kick that was caught by Lux. At minute 29 André Gomes attempted from the left side of the area, but he missed the target.

Since minute 30 the pressure of Barcelona became higher, Depor were easily losing the ball and was forced to rely in long balls that just made easier the things for the Catalans. At minute 35, Denis Suárez made a solo-play on the left side of the area and his dangerous cross was cleared by Lux.

Despite the pressure, the Catalans only completed one shot on target in the first half, and Depor were going to surprise scoring the first goal in the game. First, Joselu connected the ball inside the area when he was backwards the goal, his attempt was going in and Ter Stegen made a big save.

And in the resulting corner-kick Depor scored. The ball was never cleared after the cross by Fajr and, after the pressure by Arribas, Joselu arrived at the near post to fire a rocket before Ter Stegen. Barcelona tried to respond before the pause, but the great play of Denis Suárez was cleared by Arribas (42’).

Character, Deportivo showed a strong character in the final half as, despite the early equalizer, the Galicians were always the better team on the pitch, having more chances to score and deserving a result that approaches the permanence and at the same time complicates the fight for the title.

The final part started in the worse possible way for Deportivo, after only 58 seconds a cross into the area was never cleared properly, Albentosa lost the mark and Arribas couldn’t clear the danger and Luis Suárez found the loose ball at the left corner of the box to score with a low and strong shot into the far post of Lux.

Despite the circumstances, Deportivo responded well to the hit, the Galicians were close to score after a cross by Joselu wasn’t collected by Álex Bergantiños, Far got the ball at the far post, but his shot went over the crossbar (52’).

Luis Enrique didn’t like what he was watching and ordered the entry of Rakitić and Andrés Iniesta. Pepe Mel responded with the entry of Emre Çolak. These changes just made the game faster as both teams were quickly completing the transition defence-attack, and Depor always looked more dangerous.
At minute 62, Joselu appeared again; it was a counterattack in which Çolak sent a volley, the Galician attacker collected the ball at the edge of the area and his low and strong shot was blocked by Ter Stegen. This was his fourth shot on target in the game (Depor completed nine), the Galician was also the player with more touches in the match (52).

The second substitution at Depor was the entry of Gaël Kakuta replacing Bruno Gama. This change brought freshness to the team, because the Portuguese was tired after a great work in the first part, and the Frenchman added speed to a team that was looking dangerous before a distracted rival.

And Depor were going to claim the lead again, and again after a corner-kick. First, a corner from the left was connected by Arribas and Ter Stegen made a miraculous save clearing the ball out, but Deportivo scored in the second corner. This time Çolak released the cross from the right and Álex Bergantiños found the ball at the far post and scored through a downward header.

Riazor was a party after the goal and the game became exciting, because Barcelona searched for the equalizer, but Depor were closer to the third. At minute 81, Ter Stegen blocked a shot by Kakuta and, in the counterattack, it was Lux who made the save before the low attempt of Messi, that was going to be the lonely shot on target for the Argentine attacker. Lux was key with his saves, mainly one if front of Luis Suárez.

The game continued to be exciting, the cracks at Barcelona’s back line were never seized by Depor, at minute 83, Juanfran didn’t seize a chance in a counterattack and his shot was blocked by Ter Stegen, later the right-back got injured and had to be replaced by Laure. Later neither Kakuta nor Çolak seized a back clearance by Ter Stegen.

The drama continued during the stoppage time, first Messi missed the target in a free-kick from the edge of the area after a foul by Fajr (90’), then Barcelona had two straight corner-kicks and in the counterattack Depor incredibly missed the chance to score the third despite that Çolak and Fajr were alone before Barcelona’s goalie (90+1’).

Refreshing victory for Deportivo. The Galicians were simply better and, despite the tiredness for been facing four games in ten days, it was simply the best team facing the most in-form team in Europe. Not even the quick equalizer at the start of the second part affected a team that has added 8 of the last 12 points in dispute.

With this victory Depor are now 15th at the standings, eight points above the pit. The team will now return to normal mood after the busy calendar, but the next game is special as RC Celta visit the Riazor on next Sunday (18h30 CET). Navarro will miss that game after picking the fifth yellow card on the season.

Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Lux – Juanfran (Laure 85’), Arribas, Sidnei, Navarro – Borges, Álex Bergantiños – Bruno Gama (Kakuta 70’), Fajr, Carles Gil (Çolak 62’) – Joselu.
Barcelona: (3-4-3) Ter Stegen – Mascherano, Piqué, Jordi Alba – Sergi Roberto, André Gomes (Rakitić 57’), Busquets, Denis Suárez (Paco Álcacer 76’) – Messi, Luis Suárez, Arda Turan (Iniesta 57’).
Goals: 1-0: (39’) Joselu, 1-1: (46’) Luis Suárez, 2-1: (73’) Álex Bergantiños
Referee: David Fernández Borbalán. He showed yellow card to Navarro (13’) & Joselu (35’)
Venue: Riazor (28,473)
Other statistics: Ball possession (29% - 71%); Attempts to score (10 – 6); Total shots (14 - 16); Shots on target (9- 5); Saves by the keepers (4 - 7); Corner-kicks (4 - 8); Offsides (4 - 4); Fouls committed (7 - 8); Passing accuracy (73% - 87%)



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