Competition news


19 May 2008
The papers praised the good season of Villarreal and also the one made by Deportivo. The qualification for the Intertoto was so much celebrated by the papers as the fans did at the Riazor. About the game, the lack of depth by the wings was appointed as the main reason why Depor missed the chance to create more occasions to score a goal.

La Voz de Galicia: Rarely a defeat had a taste as sweet as this one, because Deportivo, despite falling at home against Villarreal, certified yesterday a great thing: to become the first team in la liga to enter into a European competition after ending the first half in relegation. Sevilla didn't fail in its stadium and surpassed Athletic, who was forced to win in order to snatch the spot to the Galician team. The Intertoto is finally rewarding the excellent second round of Lotina's team, and the public celebrated the achievement at the end of the meeting.

Neither a celebration for the second place nor bachelor party to Cani. It was assumed that Villarreal was physically impaired by the understandable excesses of last week, but the Valencian squad demonstrated at the Riazor something very important for those who love this sport: that football remains a game of skill, combination and imagination, above that athletic discipline that some strive to convert.

Manuel Pellegrini's team are runners-up in la liga because they play football really well. Nothing more. And it doesn't care they haven't trained throughout the week nor they left on the bench some indisputable starters as Senna, Pires or Nihat. During some moments, they danced over Deportivo because they moved the ball with precision, they were associated, vertical and possess goal. In other words, the main keys for offensive football, without neglecting the defensive tasks.

The best example is the goal from Matias Fernandez, after several changes of direction against a well-placed defence, although perhaps too much wrapped. Deportivo, which was contagious with the overly relaxed pace marked by its rival, took 70 minutes to find the access door to the rival's area, apart from the offensive strategic plays, very dangerous, as always.

Perhaps the team missed a strongest reference up front, with Xisco lost, Depor only attacked when the yellow squad lowered the piston and was delivered speculating with the counterattack, it was then when appeared the more vertical game of Depor, especially on the hands of Filipe Luis. And it was the entry of Riki and Guardado what ended to be the final boost for Deportivo, and the occasions appeared, with a scissors-kick of Lafita or a shot of Riki that grazed the post, and with Deportivo's central defenders added to the moves in attack. But this time, the prize didn't want to come. Even Villarreal scored the second in a counterattack. Alfonso Andrade.

La Opini??n A Coru?±a: Miguel ?ngel Lotina raised the game with a fundamental premise: Do not speculate with the result. His players only listened to him for half of the way because it took longer than expected to gain a complete control over the clash. Villarreal, even at half velocity and with several reserves in its starting eleven, moved the ball quickly and with more discretion. That's why Depor suffered to generate chances to score. It didn't have the ball, and it paid for it.

At the back, the line of defenders was very well placed, just at the level of the entire second round, with the solvency always represented by players like Coloccini, Amo and Lopo. The Catalan was again an starter despite the inconvenience of the lumbar problems he dragged throughout the week. His sacrifice is honoured because he leaves everything on the pitch, same case than De Guzman. The Canadian played in front of the defence, more delayed than Sergio, he tried to combine in order to see the Catalan leading the team in the wide area.

Villarreal arrived with its head elsewhere, but since the beginning, it was putting the things very uphill to its adversary. Manuel Pellegrini's team opened the field and forced the Galician team to retreat with a defensive line of five men, with another one in midfield composed by four players and with Xisco alone up front. Wilhelmsson and Lafita were almost at the same position than Sergio and De Guzman when the team was defending. The result was that both, the Swedish and the Aragonian, were too far from the goal each time Deportivo was stealing the ball. Even so, Wilhelmsson had a couple of wide shots from the edge of the area. Lotina missed the wings, especially in the first act of the meeting.

Xisco, too alone and unassisted, had to go back to midfield in order to come into play. He gave oxygen to his team mates when he was backwards to the opposite goal, but he didn't receive too much balls at the border of the area. Mainly for the lack of depth on the wings, Depor appealed to the strategic actions in order to put fear into the body of the submarine, which were gradually losing ground in order to stop the domination of the Galician team. However, it was Villarreal who opened the score. Following the goal of Mati Fernandez, Depor searched the comeback and forced the Valencian players to use the counterattack as the only offensive weapon. Eugenio Cobas.

AS: Villarreal was near to destroy Depor's European dreams. Pellegrini's men, already on holidays, played a good game at the Riazor and only the defeat of Athletic Bilbao in Seville prevented Deportivo to see itself out of the Intertoto. In the end, the results were positive, Riazor was a party and Villarreal left with the intact pride of been a great an strengthened runner-up.

Since the first minute, it was clear that Villarreal wasn't arriving in order to prolong the festivities of the week. Pellegrini made rotations, yes, but this is a submarine with character and with enough squad to give trouble to anyone, although you are playing for Europe and living a good moment with seven consecutive victories at home. The yellow team had its most precious possession: the ball. And from there, it put Deportivo inside a quagmire. Tomasson warned at minute 23 by sending a ball to the post, and twelve minutes later after Matias Fernandez showed his quality drilling a shot that defeated Aouate. Depor tried with Sergio and the runs of Wilhelmsson, but the danger, and it was not too much, just came through set pieces.

With the scoresheet against Deportivo, the Galician squad was launched to search the goals during the second half, thus opened the field and the match. Speed, an encounter with excitement in both sides until the emotion fell down with the goals of Sevilla. In the end, the quality of the submarine ended tilting the balance with a precision move of Guille Franco, action that resumes the season of Villarreal. Los Blanquiazules put courage until the last minute, but Pellegrini's men closed la liga with its sixth consecutive victory. The return to work for the Valencias will be called Champions League and the one of Deportivo, Intertoto. Thus, everybody happy on holidays. Luis De La Cruz.

El Periodico Mediterraneo (Valencia): The last meeting of the season began with the festive spirit that has prevailed during the last week in Vila-Real. The speaker at the stadium sang Depor's starting eleven to the rhythm of 'Chiki Chiki', Capdevila heard an ovation by the fans with whom he shared the last seven years, and Pellegrini changed its scheme to pay homage to Matias Fernandez, putting him as playmaker. The Chilean said thanks with a great goal, which may be the harbinger that next campaign will definitely be for him.

Villarreal wasn't playing for anything in A Coru?±a, but this submarine is a winning machine. With yesterday's victory, now it accumulates six consecutive wins. It didn't accuse, at any time, the hangover by the recent bachelor party of Cani. Villarreal closed the best league in its history in a large way. Their numbers are the ones of a champion. Only Real Madrid has been able to overcome Pellegrini's men.

Meanwhile, Deportivo was playing for the Intertoto, a lower prize compared with the permanence that was comfortably achieved with a dreamed second round, thanks to which it dashed the ghosts of relegation that lurked the Galicians in the first part of the season. Miguel Angel Lotina's team needed more the points than Villarreal, but it didn't demonstrated it. Nevertheless, the defeat earned them to enter into Europe via the Intertoto, this was possible after the defeat of Athletic.

The new tactic used by Pellegrini - with Bruno on the left and Matias with more freedom of movement - was effective. So much that Cazorla was on the verge to inaugurate his new internationalism with a goal in the first minute. Tomasson warned with a shot to the post: Villarreal didn't know how to play just walking on the pitch. The first goal came after a great move for Matias, who eluded a rival on the side of the area and beat the local keeper with an astounding ease.

In the second half, most of the same. Depor tried, but with a block so well armed as the yellow one, any team faces a very difficult task. It crashed again and again with the orderly defensive line until at the last minute, Guille put the icing taking advantage of a pass of Capdevila. The meeting also served to say good bye to Cygan, who has always fulfilled his job during his two seasons of service. The clash was one more excuse to finish the party. Congratulations champion.

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