Competition news


21 Apr 2009
Depor hurries up its European chances against Almeria, team that’s the second worst visitor in liga but that has Negredo as a threat for the Riazor. For the game, Lotina is playing with Sergio and Bodipo, while Valer??n might replace Verd??.

UD Almeria is currently living a comfortable situation, seven points above the drop zone and just six points away from the mathematical permanence. And there’s an interesting stat related to the performance of the team during the liga season: Its opposite behaviour depending of the stadium in which it plays the games.

And it’s that Almeria is the fourth best home team in the competition with 31 points achieved in 16 matches played at the Estadio De Los Juegos Mediterr??neos, only giants Barcelona (41), Real Madrid (41) and Valencia (33) have added more. At the same time, the Andalusian club is the second worst visiting team in the league with only 6 points added after 15 visits. Only Numancia (4) has added less points playing in this condition.

This strange behaviour explains why the squad has spent almost the entire season at mid-table, and it’s that Almeria hasn’t added yet two straight victories on the liga campaign. Their lonely victory away from home was the 1-3 upset at San Mam?s in the opening matchday of the campaign (August 31). Since that day, the squad now coached by Hugo S??nchez has lost 12 of its 14 visits clinching only two draws: 2-2 at Getafe (matchday 06) and 2-2 at Espanyol (matchday 18). Also, they have leaked at least one goal in each one of their visits.

Meanwhile, Deportivo still a strong team at home, the Galicians have clinched 28 points in 15 games played at the Riazor, record that represents the seventh best mark at Primera Divisi??n. But the true is that the home power of Depor is fading away as the squad has only added nine of the last eighteen points disputed at the Riazor.

Coach Miguel Angel Lotina is ready to make a change in the squad that won at San Mam?s, and that modification is the return of Rodolfo Bodipo, the most effective men at the squad with one goal scored every 150 minutes. The Guinean hasn’t been a starter in liga since matchday 20 against Real Madrid (January 25), game in which he was replaced at minute 37 due to an injury. He came back one month later to start the UEFA second-leg match with AaB, but he only lasted nine minutes over the pitch. Since that day, he has only played for 16 minutes.

The reasons why Lotina is picking him as the starting choice are related to the technical characteristics of the ex-Alav?s man, because Depor’s coach is convinced that Bodipo is the ?perfect weapon’ to break a defensive line that has gave too many facilities playing away from home (Almeria hasn’t achieved a clean sheet in all its 15 visits on the liga season).

Bodipo was telling to reporters that he is hoping to regain his recent form after his latest injury, "The spark is taken based on the minutes during the games. I've worked a lot after the injury, this in order to not lose that spark. If I have to play, then I will be delighted, because after two months out, more minutes are what you want, and if I have a spot in the starting eleven, then it would be great.?

There is another change at the starting formation that played at San Mam?s: the return of Sergio. The Catalan is replacing Antonio Tom??s, player that suffered a stress fracture in his right thigh just six minutes after the kick-off against Athletic Bilbao. The other nine men will be the same ones that defeated Caparr??s’ squad.

Dani Aranzubia will stay at the goal, and his defensive line will continue to be for Laure at the right-back position, Filipe Luis on the left side, and the duo Z? Castro-Diego Colotto teaming up at the centre. Portuguese Z? Castro is dragging with a problem in the ankle, but he’s fit to play and will start the game.

In midfield, Juan Rodr?guez will keep adding minutes and will join Sergio trying to control the traffic of the ball. Angel Lafita still out with a knee sprain and wasn’t picked for the game, reason why Pablo Alvarez will still performing on the right wing. ?The Shark’ was the hero against Athletic as he scored the winning goal just three minutes before the final whistle. Meanwhile, Andr?s Guardado will keep playing on the left wing.

The main doubt at the squad of Lotina is who will be the playmaker, it is expected that Joan Verd?? will keep the spot, but Juan Carlos Valer??n also has his chances according to what was saw in the trainings, Lotina didn’t want to confirm who of both will start the game.

Lafita and Antonio Tom??s are joining Riki and Albert Lopo at the injury room. Of this short list, only Riki and Lafita have chances to be ready for Saturday’s clash against Malaga FC. Mista is also out as his pubalgy problem hasn’t improved; he could miss the rest of the season. But Manuel Pablo has finally surpassed his Soleus injury and has entered into a list of picked players for the first time in three months. Canadian De Guzm??n is also returning to the list after been discarded by Lotina for the game at San Mam?s.

The defensive solidity shown against Athletic was one of the main things emphasised by the papers, and Diego Colotto believes it is giving more secureness to the squad, ?We already needed to achieve a clean sheet and see the team feeling more secure and loose. We needed to cut the bad streak; we are in a key week because we want these six points. If we add a good number, we can approach to the top of the table.? The Argentine said.

List of called players (18): Aranzubia, Mun??a (goalkeepers); Laure, Manuel Pablo, Pablo Amo, Adri??n L??pez ?Piscu’, Z? Castro, Filipe (defenders); Verd??, Cristian, De Guzm??n, Guardado, Juan Rodr?guez, Pablo ?lvarez, Sergio, Valer??n (midfielders); Bodipo and Lassad (strikers).

After surprisingly ending seventh on the past liga season, Almeria is now living a more discrete campaign. At mid-table, far from Europe but almost saved. The main reason for this is the poor performance of the squad playing away from home, and it’s that the Andalusian squad has lost in twelve of its fifteen visits played so far. However there’s a factor calling everybody’s attention: Alvaro Negredo

The ex-Real Madrid marksman has scored 19 of the 38 goals conquered by Almeria on the liga season, this means a 50% percentage of participation in the goals of the team, something that only Marco Di Vaio can match in the rest of European leagues (58% of the goals conquered by Bologna at Serie A). Besides, only top-class players as Eto’o (26), David Villa (23), Forl??n (21) and Messi (20) have scored more goals at Primera Divisi??n. To increase his legend, Negredo has scored 50 goals in the 104 matches he has took part within the last three seasons (Almeria and Real Madrid B), this means an incredible average of 0.48 goals per game.

Lotina’s squad must be alert with him, because the Vallecas-born man is good in both styles, aerial and terrestrial game, and its’ that of his nineteen goals, eight were conquered with the foot, seven with the head and four came through a penalty kick. The striker prefers to not think too much of his personal record and emphasises that the main thing is to achieve the permanence, as he recently told to reporters, ?Let’s hope that soon we will be able to do the same things outside home. The true is that it is getting difficult to do it, things aren’t good for us away from home, but someday things will change. I want to keep scoring goals for Almeria and to see the squad achieving the permanence.?

During the past season, Almeria debuted at Primera Divisi??n with an impressive 3-0 win at the Riazor, now the Andalusians want to repeat the outcome and for this, coach Hugo S??nchez is sending Albert Crusat to join Negredo in attack, the Catalan left winger was a real nightmare for Depor on the past season and is returning to the starting lineup after missing the match with Osasuna due to suspension.

Another expected modification is the return of Argentine Hern??n Pellerano to the centre of the defence after he also missed the last game due to suspension. The rest should be the same 4-2-3-1 lineup that defeated Osasuna. Diego Alves is already recovered from a long-term injury, but it is expected that Esteb??n will keep his place at the goal.

In defence, Jos? Manuel Jim?nez ?Mane’ will perform on the left-back position, Pellerano joining Peruvian Santiago Acasiete at the centre of the defense and Bruno Saltor at the right side. There is a doubt with this last player since he picked an ankle problem in the last training, that’s why Hugo  Sanchez traveled with 19 men to La Coru?a. In case Bruno is not fit to play, Jos? Manuel Flores ?Chico’ will be taking his place.

In midfield, ex-Celta Iriney Santos and Aragonian Fernando Soriano will perform in the two pivote functions, while Juanma Ortiz will cover the right wing. Crusat will be replacing Argentine Pablo Piatti on the left wing  and Kalu Uche will be playmaker. Finally, Negredo will be the main reference in attack.

List of called players (19): Esteban, Diego Alves (goalkeepers); Bruno, Acasiete, Carlos Garc?a, Pellerano, Chico, Man? (defenders); Juanito, Iriney, Soriano, Corona, Juanma Ortiz, Nieto (midfielders); Jos? Ortiz, Negredo, Kalu Uche, Crusat and Piatti (strikers).

Deportivo: Aranzubia - Laure, Z? Castro, Colotto, Filipe Luis - Sergio, Juan Rodr?guez - Pablo ?lvarez, Valer??n or Verd??, Guardado - Bodipo
Almeria: Esteban - Bruno, Pellerano, Acasiete, Man? - Soriano, Iriney - Juanma Ortiz, Kalu Uche, Crusat - Negredo.
Referee: Eduardo Iturralde Gonz??lez (14 matches on the season, 9 wins for the local team)
Kick-off: 20h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs Almeria: 1 win for Depor, 0 draws, 2 wins for Almeria (Primera)
Record at the Riazor: 0 wins for Depor, 0 draws, 1 win for Almeria (Primera)



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