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REVIEW: DEPORTIVO 0 – HAJDUK SPLIT 0 (UEFA)

14 Aug 2008
A dark Deportivo wasn’t able to beat Hajduk split at home although having a ball possession of 63%. The Croatians defended well while some times they abused of the physical game. The Galicians only had chances through set-pieces and mid-distance shots. Now Depor must travel to Croatia with a scoreless draw and with a tough challenge ahead.

BEFORE THE GAME
Lotina had to make an emergency change as Angel Lafita was operated of appendicitis a few hours before the match started; his place in the starting line-up was taken by Andr?©s Guardado. The rest of the squad was the expected one with Aranzubia making his debut in an official game and with Valer??n and Riki as the main references up front. In Hajduk, coach Goran Vucevic chose Danijel Subasic as the starting keeper while the main references up front were Josip Skoko and Nicola Kalinic. Only 13,000 spectators visited the Riazor, including 200 Croatians that traveled with their team.

FIRST HALF
Deportivo searched the goal since the first minutes but it found a tough defensive wall that blocked its attempts in any possible way, including committing several fouls in the process. In just four minutes, Sergio and Guardado were fouled near to penalty area, but both free-kicks were fruitless. It was clear that Hajduk was speculating with counterattacks, while Depor tried to have and protect the ball.

The Croatians had the first clear attempt at minute 10, a long ball was sent to Depor’s area and Aranzubia had to hand the ball when he was over the line, no call was made by the referee. It the following play Manuel Pablo was fouled on the right wing, the resulting free-kick was taken by Guardado who sent a cross to the box, after a couple of rebounds, the ball went to corner.

This action was followed by a new foul that Depor couldn’t capitalise, later a new foul over Riki was committed and referee C??neyt Cakir booked Mirko Oremus. Once again the free-kick ended in a corner-kick, Valer??n sent a dangerous cross to Lopo’s and Juan Rodr?­guez’s path, but both missed the ball (18’). Two minutes later, Depor was one more time close to score through a set-piece, this time it was Guardado who take a free-kick and Riki who fired over the crossbar.

Deportivo continued dominating the actions, at 25th minute a series of rebounds at the edge of Hajduk’s area allowed Sergio to reach the ball and sent a shot that was again repealed by the Croatian defensive line. The Galicians were having the control over the match, but the occasions to score were just a few, Hajduk was defending well and sometimes abusing of the fouls. That’s why Depor was only having chances in the stationary actions.

The next chance for Lotina’s team arrived at minute 28, it was a foul at the edge of the penalty zone that Riki smashed into the wall, the ball ended in the arms of Subasic. As it could be expected, the following opportunity arrived in a new set-piece action. This time Sergio took the free-kick and his cross was headed by Z?© Castro inside the box, the Portuguese was alone but his effort went over the crossbar. This was the last chance for Depor in the first half.

Deportivo dominated the game during the first part, but with a rival that was defending well, the chances to score only arrived in set-pieces actions. Hajduk was happy with the scoreless draw and they spent the time in their own zone, reason why Aranzubia was just a spectator in the game. Maybe the key thing missed by Lotina’s side was Valer??n’s brilliance; the Canarian wasn’t finding the needed spaces and the squad suffered with his inaccurate passes. Guardado and Filipe Luis were very active on the left side.

SECOND HALF
The first five minutes were tedious, with both sides having enormous difficulties to create chances. But then both teams had a clear chance, First it was Deportivo at the 54th minute. A cross from Valer??n was near to be headed by Guardado inside the box, but keeper Subasic arrived first. Then the visitors had their best chance of the night, winger Mirko Oremus fired on target and Aranzubia made a great save sending the ball to corner.

Depor responded with a mid-distance shot from Riki, Subasic saved his team and the ball went to corner (58’), occasion that Depor almost capitalise as the ball couldn’t be cleared by the defenders, but nobody was there to push it in. Lotina realised he needed more men up front, that’s why he transformed his 5-2-2-1 scheme into a 4-4-2, this with the entrance of striker Omar Bravo for central defender Piscu. Immediately, the Mexican had his first chance after a cross from Valer??n, but his effort went to the keeper’s arms.

Then a disappeared Valer??n left the pitch and his place was taken by Xisco. Now Deportivo was playing with three strikers on aboard: Omar Bravo who was covering the left wing, Riki who moved to the right, and the same Xisco who was on the centre. The move game more presence to Depor in Hajduk’s zone, but the Galicians continues missing some clarity in their actions. The game of the visitors blocked the mind of Deportivo as the home team barely created complex attacks.

Lotina’s side continued insisting, at minute 69 Omar Bravo sent a cross that Riki found inside the box, but he couldn’t connect the ball properly and it went near to the post, one minute later Xisco sent a drilling shot from the edge of the area, but it hit a defender and went to corner. Then coach Vucevic took precautious measures as defender Ivan Strinic entered for offensive player Mario Ticinovic. Depor also made a change in defence, Z?© Castro hurt himself when he jumped for a ball and couldn’t continue, since Lotina didn’t have any central defender on the bench, Canadian De Guzm??n entered for him.

Deportivo became desperate during the ten final minutes while the Croatians did everything they could in order to waste time. At minute 84, Juan Rodr?­guez proved from mid-distance and his shot went out. Two minutes later Omar Bravo headed a cross from Riki, but his effort was easily caught by Subasic. Deportivo had two chances within minute 90 and the final whistle, first Guardado fired on target and when Omar Bravo was to reach the rebound, the referee indicated an off-side. The final opportunity was a shot of Sergio that Subasic sent to corner.

AFTER THE MATCH
Once again Deportivo faced big difficulties in order to surpass a rival that was locked in its area, the Croatians came to Riazor only worried about not leaking any goal, and they fulfilled the mission thanks to their concentration at the back and also to their rude game. Lotina’s side was incapable to beat Subasic as its best chances came through set-pieces and mid-distance shots.

Now Deportivo will face the Teresa Herrera tournament –Sunday against Cruz Azul- with the uncertainty of its European future. The second-leg will take place on August 28, just three days before the start in liga against Real Madrid. At least the Galicians didn’t leak any goal, meaning an away conquer could be decisive in this complicate series.
 
MATCH STATISTICS
Deportivo: Aranzubia - Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Z?© Castro (De Guzman 76’), Adri??n L??pez â€?Piscu’ (Omar Bravo 58’), Filipe - Sergio, Juan Rodr?­guez – Valer??n (Xisco 67’), Guardado, Riki
Hajduk Split: Subasic - Zivkovic, Ibricic (Jurica Buljat 90’), Andric, Gabric – Rubil, Oremus (Linic 62’), Skoko, Maloca – Ticinovic (Strinic 72’), Kalinic.
Referee: C??neyt Cakir (TUR). He showed yellow card to Mirko Oremus (17’), Rubil (41’), Skoko (62’), Ibricic (69’), Gabric (78’), Subasic (90+2’)
Venue: Riazor (13,000).

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