Competition news


21 Feb 2009
Important game for Depor’s European aspirations, but Lotina faces the challenge with important casualties. Actually he had to pick Chirri from Fabril in order to complete the list. Valencia also arrives with important absentees in defence, but with a powerful team in attack.

The present liga season has meant the return to the solidity at home for Depor, and it’s that Osasuna was just the fourth liga rival that was able to pick some points from La Coru?a (the other 3 were Mallorca, Sporting and Sevilla), this after eleven liga games played there. But now the Riazor hosts the Spanish squad that has gave more troubles to Depor during the 64 years within Riazor’s existence: Valencia FC.

The Valencians have won 16 times after 42 matches played at the Riazor (38% of the total), this between Primera and Segunda Divisi??n. That’s the highest mark for any Spanish club, including Real Madrid (10 wins in La Coru?a) and Barcelona (12). Besides, Valencia has won five of the last six liga matches played at the Riazor, and is also the rival that has scored the highest number of goals at that stadium within the last six seasons (15)

Valencia, however, is living its worst moment on the season, with just five points added in the last six matches. Despite the problems, the team coached by Unai Emery still living in the Champions League zone, though they are only three points above Depor, meaning that a victory will put the Galicians at the same height than the Valencians. To emphasise that Valencia’s main problem is occurring outside home, and it’s that the squad doesn’t win an away match since November of the past year (3-0 at Getafe). After that, Valencia has played six liga games outside of Mestalla and has only picked a point in those encounters.

Another interesting thing is that Alfonso P?rez Burrull will be the referee for the game, the Cantabrian official has been persecuted by the media in the last month after been the main referee in the game Real Madrid-Osasuna, match in which he swallowed two penalties in favour of Osasuna. He was banned by la liga and this is his first game since the incident.

This is an important match for Depor, it’s played at home and against a direct rival for a European spot. Valencia is currently fourth in la liga and is just three points above Lotina’s team. However, the Basque coach is facing the encounter with several casualties at his squad, actually he only had 17 men available for the occasion (without counting the discards –Fabricio and Barrag??n-). That’s why the coach decided to complete the list with Bodipo and Chirri.

Rodolfo Bodipo already surpassed the hamstring strain that left him out of action during the last three weeks, doctor Barral confessed on Friday that the Guinean is not ready to play yet, but Lotina decided to include him no matter he will probably end outside the bench (only seven players can be sited on the bench and Lotina has called eight plus the eleven starters for the game). Meanwhile, together with Lassad, Lotina called an additional player from Fabril in order to complete his list, and the chosen one is Carlos Monje Serrano ?Chirri’, a 18-year-old right winger that’s making his debut at Depor B during the present season. The Merida-born player has been one of the pleasant surprises at Fabril’s season and Lotina is rewarding his work.

Chirri talked at Abegondo’s press room and showed his surprise after been picked for the game, ?The true is that it has been a surprise, because I was not expecting this, but if the coach gives me some minutes, I will have to take advantage of the occasion. The coach has told me that I must play as I do it at Fabril, that if I lose the ball, I should not be worried and that I should bring intensity. I must thank Tito (Ramallo), because thanks to him I am here, and also at the national squad (U-19).?

The list of casualties at Depor became bigger on Saturday as it was confirmed that Cristian was not ready to play due to a back problem, in this way the Catalan became the seventh player at the injury room: Pablo Amo (knee), Miguel Angel Ferrer ?Mista’ (pubalgy), Rodolfo Bodipo (Hamstring strain), Riki (thigh/adductor), Andr?s Guardado (stress fracture) and Manuel Pablo (knee). Besides, central defender Z? Castro is missing the game for suspension.

At least Filipe Luis surpassed a muscular problem picked in the UEFA clash with Aalborg, therefore the Brazilian is fit to play on Sunday. No matter the casualties, Lotina is just completing two modifications compared to the squad that drew with Osasuna on the last weekend. The first one is occurring in defence as Adri??n L??pez ?Piscu’ is replacing Z? Castro at the centre of the defence.

The Galician youngster confessed to La Voz de Galicia that Aalborg’s game, match in which he performed as a right-back, was his worst presentation with the shirt of Depor, ?I couldn’t sleep that night. After the game you always think about it, but I must forget it as soon as possible and work in order to surpass the situation.?

Defence will be completed with Dani Aranzubia at the goal, Laure, who is replacing injured Manuel Pablo, at the right back position, Lopo joining Piscu at the centre of the defence, and Filipe Luis on the left. The second modification in the lineup is taking place in midfield, because Antonio Tom??s is returning from suspension taking the place of De Guzm??n in the triple pivote figure. His two partners will be Juan Rodr?guez and Joan Verd??.

In attack, Lotina is keeping the same triangle of the past weekend no matter they weren’t able to break the deadlock of Osasuna. Juan Carlos Valer??n and Angel Lafita will be the two playmakers in the formation, while Lassad Nouioui will be the lonely striker, the French-Tunisian attacker is completing his second appearance as the starting choice of the first squad.

Albert Lopo was talking about the importance of a victory, ?To win, besides to remove that bad taste of mouth, will give us morale and we will continue at the top. Right now we have to face a tough game against Valencia, which is neither fine. We have only lost a few games at home and we must continue like this in order to defeat a direct rival, that’s what we have to do if we want to be at the top.? He also rested importance to the financial problems at Valencia, ?They are professionals, and for what I have read, they are focused and what they want is to play and win. We must be worried for what occurs on the pitch, not if they are paid or not.?

List of called players (19): Aranzubia, Mun??a (goalkeepers); Laure, Lopo, Adri??n L??pez ?Piscu’, Colotto, Filipe (defenders); Antonio Tom??s, Sergio, Juan Rodr?guez, De Guzm??n, Verd??, Chirri, Valer??n, Lafita, Pablo ?lvarez (midfielders), Omar Bravo, Bodipo and Lassad (strikers).

This is the worst moment for Valencia in recent decades, it is true the squad is living inside the Champions League zone, but is losing gas as it has only added 5 of the last 18 points in dispute. But the most serious things are occurring outside the pitch. And all is related to the money. Valencia’s debt has reached the €300 million, €15 million are owed to the players due to January’s wages and the unpaid debt due the construction of the new Mestalla has also reached the €15 million. There was even a menace of a strike in the construction of the new stadium, but the club arranged an extension of the deadline to make the payments.

The main hope for the club is to find a buyer for the old Mestalla, the club is asking €300 million for it (the same amount of the debt), but the world financial crisis is complicating the appearance of any interest person or corporation. As immediate solutions, the president of the club, Vicente Soriano, is trying to negotiate a new television contract with Mediapro and with the sponsor Kappa, and is also negotiating a bank loan for €100 million, but according to the media in Valencia, the rate of the loan will reach the 20%, something that will just kill all the future incomes of the club. Therefore, if a buyer for the Mestalla doesn’t show up, the upcoming future looks very black for Valencia, because the emergency solution will be to sell the stars at the squad, something that has been avoided until the moment.

And the crisis already started to create divisions inside the organization. Before the travel to Ukraine in order to face Dynamo Kiev (1-1), the players were hoping to meet president Soriano in order to analyse the problems with the wages payment, but instead, vice-president Fernando G??mez Colomer showed up to give the explanations, the media reported the players were unhappy and that they were accusing the president of been hiding from the situation. Besides, some papers reported that in the plane to Ukraine, nobody from the squad wanted to talk with the club’s officials.

Also, during a press conference, coach Unai Emery accused everybody at the squad of been ?lacking competitiveness’, this after the poor 1-1 draw against Malaga on the last weekend. According to the media, some of the players asked the coach to explain this during Monday’s training, and Emery just answered the phrase was also including him. Therefore, the cracks at Valencia are appearing everywhere: inside and outside the squad.

In a sporting sense, the problems at Valencia are passing through the large list of casualties, especially in defence. Goalkeeper C?sar S??nchez sustained a knee injury in the UEFA clash against Dynamo Kiev, but he fought hard during the week and he’s already recovered. He will be a starter though he is not at 100% and since Renan still out with a thigh injury. Besides, Ra??l Albiol is suspended, while Emiliano Moretti (knee sprain) and Miguel (abductor) are both out due to injury reasons. Alexis S??nchez (knee ligaments) is not yet fit to play, but Emery picked him for the game in order to complete the list, just like the case of Bodipo at Depor. In midfield, David Albelda is suspended for the game, while Edu is again injured (knee). In order to cover all this casualties, the coach is traveling with two members of the reserve team, M?chel and Carlos David, this last one is a central defender who is joining the first squad for the first time.

But in attack Emery has a full squad to choose from, starting with David Villa, El Guaje has been one of the major threats faced by Depor in recent seasons, and it’s that the ex-Zaragoza marksman already scored nine times against Depor, including two goals in the game of the first round and seven goals within his last last meetings with Deportivo.

Emery will keep playing with a 4-4-2 formation, C?sar S??nchez will be at the goal, Hedwiges Maduro, who replaced Miguel at the right-back position during the game with Malaga, is now moving his position to the centre in order to join Carlos Marchena, it’s an emergency solution since Alexis S??nchez is not fit to play. Besides Emery doesn’t want to risk with youngster Carlos David while new signing, Brazilian Thiago Carleto, was not picked for the match . An emergency solution is also to put striker Miguel ?ngel Angulo at the right-back position. The defensive formation is completed with Asier Del Horno on the left, the ex-Chelsea has barely played on the season.

In midfield, Manuel Henriques Fernandes is taking the place of Albelda and is joining Rub?n Baraja in the defensive functions. And the fact that Depor must fear the most is the quartet that will be responsible of been scoring the goals: Joaqu?n on the right wing, Juan Manuel Mata on the left, David Silva as second striker and David Villa up front. Emery could even chose to play with Vicente in the position of Mata.

List of called players (18): C?sar, Guaita (goalkeepers); Maduro, Carlos David, Marchena, Alexis, Asier del Horno (defenders); Fernandes, Baraja, Joaqu?n, Angulo, Vicente, M?chel, Pablo, Mata (midfielders); Silva, Morientes and Villa (strikers).

Deportivo: Aranzubia - Laure, Lopo, Piscu, Filipe - Antonio Tom??s, Juan Rodr?guez, Verd?? - Lafita, Valer??n - Lassad.
Valencia: C?sar – Angulo, Marchena, Maduro, Del Horno - Joaqu?n, Fernandes, Baraja, Mata – Silva, Villa
Referee: Alfonso P?rez Burrul (10 games on the season, 5 wins for the local team and 4 draws)
Kick-off: 21h00 CET (Riazor)
Record Vs Valencia: 26 wins for Depor, 16 draws, 43 wins for Valencia (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 17 wins for Depor, 9 draws, 16 wins for Valencia (Primera & Segunda)



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