Squad news


30 Nov 2009
New 1-0 win for a Deportivo that’s knocking at the door of the Champions League; it was a tough match against a rival that gave a hard battle, but that never attacked. Again a goal from a defender, Lopo, is giving three points to Depor.

Coach Miguel Angel Lotina said before the game that he was indecisive between playing with Lassad or Mista, in the end he decided to play with both of them joining Riki in attack, and Guardado was the one left sited on the bench after spending the week under suspicion of carrying the H1N1 flu.

It was a 4-3-2-1 figure, with Aranzubia at the goal, Manuel Pablo at the right-back position, Filipe Luis on the left; the couple Lopo-Colotto on the centre and the trivote Sergio-Juan Rodriguez-Antonio Tomás at midfield. Mista and Lassad were acting as playmakers, just behind Riki, who was the central attacker.

At Racing, coach Portugal left Oriol on the bench, reason why Morris was at the right-back position while Moratón joined Torrejón at the centre of the defence. The so expected appearance of Sergio Canales as starter didn’t occur, therefore Colsa and Lahcen were at midfield. Munitis was at the starting eleven and Geijo was the chosen one in order to play alongside Tchite in attack.

Racing Santander slightly dominated the first part, but without creating clear opportunities. Depor was more cautious than in previous presentations and spent the time waiting at its zone. The defensive line was solid as is a constant on the liga season, while the trio in midfield was obstructing the game of the rival, the problem was that the combination in attack was not working at all, simply because there was no connection between Riki, Lassad and Mista, three attackers that were stuck trying to attack only from the centre.

Nothing important occurred within the first twenty minutes, it was necessary to wait until the 21st minute to see an attempt to score, and it was a counterattack for Depor in which Riki hit the net by the outside after a long run of Filipe Luis. The Madrilenian was the only attacker of Deportivo that was appearing from time to time, while Mista was diluted at the centre, same thing than Lassad.

At the other side, Racing seemed to be well placed on the pitch, but it never created a sense of danger against Aranzubia, actually the Basque keeper never touched the ball during the first part, because the main  two approximations of the locals ended in crossed shots that went out. The first one was for Morris from the edge of the area (30’), and the second was for Moratón from long distance (36’).

Just one minute after this last action, Lassad was replaced after sustaining a new hamstring injury, the Tunisian was replaced by Andrés Guardado. The 4-3-3 system didn’t change, but there were some internal movements, because now the two playmakers on this strategy were more attached to the wings, Guardado did it on the left, while Juan Rodriguez was the one entering by the right flank. Mista was behind Riki, and a little more advanced than Sergio and Antonio Tomás.

But the change didn’t modify the script of the game as both teams continued lacking ideas on the pitch, Depor had two more opportunities, firstly at the 38th minute, Sergio tried to drill a free-kick into the barrier, but Toño stopped the ball. Four minutes later Filipe Luis and Guardado combined on the left, but the resulting cross didn’t find a receiver despite the efforts of Riki and Juan Rodriguez. The half ended with polemic after Geijo reclaimed a penalty after a contact with Lopo.

It was a grey first pat between two teams that seemed more scared to lose than motivated to win the game. The defensive line of Depor was working as always, but the lack of ideas was obstructing the way to the goal and Depor missed the needed clarity to score. Neither Racing did something important trying to clinch its first home win of the season.

The pace was higher during the second part, and in a matter of just four minutes both teams already had an attempt to score. The first one was for Geijo with a strong shot form inside the area, Aranzubia deflected the effort and then controlled the ball (46’). Three minutes later a great move of Riki ended with a cross of Filipe that Juan Rodriguez missed.

The game improved in the second half basically because both teams lost the “fear” and were open minded in attack, Depor was once again very active on the left, with Guardado and Filipe combined to bring the best opportunities from that side. At minute 57, a fast counterattack of Racing ended with a shot of Geijo from inside the area, but Aranzubia blocked the shot. Then Lotina made his second substitution as Pablo Alvarez entered for Mista, this time the Murcian had a grey appearance and never was on the spotlight during the game.

Just seconds after his entrance, ‘The Shark’ appeared in one of the best opportunities for the visitors, Sergio threw a free-kick near to midfield, the Catalan sent a perfect pass that was headed by Riki at the penalty spot, then the ball went to the left and Pablo Alvarez drilled a cross to the six-yards box, Lopo tried to push the ball in, but Toño made the save, then Colotto tried the same and this time it was Torrejón who saved Racing from the goal line.

Then Sergio Canales and Xisco entered to the pitch for Racing, but it was Deportivo who was going to score the goal. It happened after a corner-kick taken by Sergio, the Cantabrians cleared the danger sending the ball to the left, but Filipe was there to make a short pass to Guardado, then the Mexican run a couple of meters and sent a low cross to the box, Riki was at the near post and attempted to give a pass with the heel, luckily the ball hit the ground and it found Albert Lopo, who beat two rivals pushing the ball in when the Catalan was in front of Toño.

Fourteen minutes were remaining in the clock and it turned to be an exciting end, because both sides had a clear opportunity to score. Firstly, Racing missed the chance to tie the game as Colsa hit the wood. The play was made by Xisco, the ex-Depor attacker received a drilling pass inside the area and brilliantly eluded three Depor’s defenders releasing a new drilling pass that left Colsa alone against Aranzubia, but the Cantabrian could only hit the left post from close range.

Three minutes later Depor released a fast counterattack that left four attackers against three defenders, the ball was sent to the left and Guardado sent the ball to the far post, Juan Rodriguez was there to control the ball and sent a shot on target, but Toño was well placed and stopped the effort coming from the Andalusian midfielder. Two minutes before the final whistle, Lotina refreshed the attacking zone with the entry of Adrian for Riki, but nothing more happened on the match.

Sixth 1-0 win for Deportivo after twelve matchdays in la liga; the Galicians had a discrete game in attack, but it was once again solid in defence, though the rival was also clueless each time that attempted to reach the opposite goal. Once again a defender, Lopo, was the one that scored the decisive goal. The best man on the pitch was Filipe, who was very active running on the left side throughout the encounter.

This new victory keeps Depor at the fifth place, but this time tied in points with Valencia, and just separated from second place Real Madrid by a minimal difference of three points. Numbers that demonstrate the outstanding season made so far by Deportivo. The important thing is that the difference with sixth place Mallorca has been extended to four points, while seventh place Sporting and eighth place Athletic Bilbao remains five points below Depor. A hard exam arrives on the next weekend as FC Barcelona visits the Riazor on next Saturday (22h00 CET).

Racing: Toño - Morris, Moratón, Torrejón, Christian - Munitis (Luis García 46’), Colsa, Lacen, Serrano (Canales 67’) - Geijo (Xisco 75’), Tchité.
Deportivo: Aranzubía - Manuel Pablo, Colotto, Lopo, Filipe - Sergio, Antonio Tomás, Juan Rodríguez - Mista (Pablo Álvarez 63’), Lassad (Guardado 37’), Riki (Adrián 88’).
Goal: 0-1: (76’) Lopo.
Referee: Javier Turienzo Álvarez. He showed yellow card to Antonio Tomás (3’), Juan Rodríguez (31’), Sergio (62’), Geijo (27’), Christian (75’) and Colsa (76’).
Venue: El Sardinero (15,542)
Other statistics: Ball possession (51% - 49%); Total shots (12 - 11); Shots on target (4 - 6); Saves by the keepers (3 - 2); Corner-kicks  (12 - 13); Offsides (0 - 1); Fouls committed (18 - 13); Accuracy in the passes (81.80% - 78.50%)




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