Competition news


13 Dec 2009
Deportivo travels to Andalusia dreaming of the Champions League, but with important casualties at the squad. Lotina will even play with youngster Juan Dominguez as starter, while Almeria needs the points and losses Crusat for the occasion.

UD Almeria is living a complicate situation with five defeats within its last six matches in la liga. Besides, within the same period the Andalusians were eliminated in Copa Del Rey by Segunda club Hercules FC. For this reason coach Hugo Sánchez is at the eye of the storm and could be sacked if his team losses again, though some sources claim that his ‘credit’ will end if he doesn’t achieve a triumph in either of the last two games of the year (next week they visit RCD Espanyol). Currently the team is separated from the relegation zone by just two points.

On these days the most criticised thing of the squad is its defence, currently it represents the sixth worst defensive line at Primera División with 24 goals allowed, to emphasise that the 46% (11 of 24) of those goals have been leaked within the last three matchdays: 1-3 at Mallorca (matchday 11), 1-4 Vs Athletic Bilbao (matchday 12) and 2-4 at Real Madrid (matchday 13).

Meanwhile and despite the defeat against Barcelona FC, Deportivo is still living a solid season, occupying the fifth sport in the table and targeting the Champions League zone. Depor is also the third best visitor at Primera División with twelve points added after six visits, until this point the Galicians have only lost in the always difficult Santiago Bernabéu (2-3 Vs Real Madrid) and in the huge setback at Real Valladolid (0-4).

‘Desperate situations need desperate measures’ - it seems to be the slogan that coach Miguel Angel Lotina has chosen for the visit to Almeria, this due to the long list of important casualties at the Galician team. The injury room has been pretty bust within the last fortnight, last week it was Lassad Nouioui the player sidelined from action after sustaining a stress fracture injury in the game against Racing, then Riki suffered a similar problem in the last training before facing Barcelona, later Juca suffered an injury in the game against the Catalans (ankle sprain), and the last victim was Guardado, who will be rested after been dragging muscular injuries at both thighs. The fifth player out is Brayan Angulo (knee ligaments), he should be back in three or four months.

For this reason the Basque coach was only counting with eighteen players at the first team, late on Friday the club announced that Lotina had decided to call Fabril’s midfielder Juan Manuel Dominguez Lamas for Saturday’s training; it’s usual to see the Pontedeume-born player working with the first team, but he never had the chance to debut at Primera División; and on Saturday, Lotina himself surprised as he put the 19-year-old youngster in the starting lineup tested for the game, later the same coach confirmed at the press room that the boy will be a starter in the liga visit. It will be the first Fabril’s player that performs for the first squad during an official game of this season.

No matter the casualties, Lotina had a clear idea about the lineup to use at Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos, the only doubt was who was going to replace Guardado, all eyes were on Valerón, Pablo Alvarez and Iván Pérez as the possible alternatives, but in the end the coach has decided to play with Juan Dominguez, which means to keep the 4-3-2-1 system, with Fabril’s midfielder joining Mista in the line of playmakers, both will perform behind striker Adrián, who wants to repeat his goal scored in the last matchday against Barcelona FC.

The defensive line will be the same one used since matchday 04, with Daniel Aranzubia at the goal, Filipe Luis at the left-back position, Manuel Pablo covering the right side, and Albert Lopo and Diego Colotto playing at the centre. In midfield Lotina will put the three available pivotes that he has for the game: Antonio Tomás, Juan Rodriguez and Sergio.

In the end Lotina is traveling to Andalusia with eighteen players and not with nineteen, because Rodolfo Bodipo was left in La Coruña. The Equatoguinean striker is at the door out and he already played four games on the season; if he plays one more, then he won’t be able to be transferred to another Spanish club, reason why the club decided to keep him out of the clash despite the casualties, this means that Lotina won’t have any striker available on the bench.

List pf picked players (18): Aranzubia, Manu (goalkeepers); Laure, Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Colotto, Zé Castro, Adrián López “Piscu”, Filipe Luis (defenders); Sergio, Antonio Tomás, Juan Rodríguez, Juan Domínguez, Valerón, Iván Pérez, Pablo Álvarez (midfielders); Mista and Adrián (strikers).

Things are reaching an unacceptable point at little Almeria, the team of Hugo Sánchez started somewhat well after it only suffered one defeat within the first five matches of la liga, but in the next eight confrontations the squad suffered six defeats, which has left the Andalusians at the border of the abysm and the Mexican coach at the edge of the destitution.

As it was appointed before, the defensive line has been under fire after allowing eleven goals within the last three liga matches, keeper Diego Alves was expressing his worries about this subject, “We were matching the numbers of a Champions League campaign, and now we are receiving too many goals. It is a thing that upsets us and we must work harder in order to revert the situation and to not leak so many goals. The defensive line is working fine, but there are moments in which the team seems to be falling apart and the rival, that for some reason is playing at Primera, takes advantage of it.”

That’s why the situation at Almeria is turning desperate, something that could be noticed in the words of the Brazilian keeper, “We must defeat Depor at any cost. A draw isn’t worthy, only a win will put us far from relegation. I hope the fans will respond and that they will be alongside us in order to carry out with this situation. I do believe that with the football that we are practicing, we will soon leave the bottom places. We always bounced back after living tough moments.”

To make things worse, winger Albert Crusat will miss the clash due to pharyngitis, he is one of the most dangerous men at the squad and is fifth in terms of minutes on the liga season (1,085). Before the confrontation, the Barcelona-born player was saying that the game is a final for them, “It’s a final, Depor is a team that right now is doing the right things, occupying a UEFA spot and playing quite well. They did well against Barca, but it’s Barca. They will put things difficult, because they want to give a new step forward and climb up some positions; we need to be careful because they have dangerous players. If we win, we will climb a few positions. But I don’t think that we should be looking at the standings but to ourselves, this in order to now feel pressure or anxiety.” 

The absence of Crusat means that Pablo Piatti will be a starter in the game, the Argentine left-winger/striker still trying to prove why Almeria paid €7 million to Estudiantes La Plata in order to sign him, on this season he has made some solid presentations, but still far from matching the expectations, so far he has scored twice.

About the rest of the lineup, it should be the same 4-2-3-1 scheme that gave a positive impression against Real Madrid. Brazilian Diego Alves will be at the goal, Brazilian Michel Macedo will play at the right-back position, José Manuel Flores ‘Chico’ and Peruvian Santiago Acasiete will perform at the centre of the defence, while Domingo Cisma will cover the left sector.

Argentine Hernán Bernardillo should be one of the defensive midfielders, but he could miss the game due to gastroenteritis, if he’s not fit to play on Sunday, then José Ortiz will be taking his place alongside Cameroonian Modeste M'Bami. Juanma Ortiz should be attacking from the right wing and Piatti from the left. Finally, Fernando Soriano should be playing behind Nigerian Kalu Uche, the brother of Ikechukwu and that’s the current Pichichi at the team with four goals scored so far. Argentine defender Hernán Pellerano surpassed a late groin problem, but will start the game on the bench.

Defender Chico was praising the level of Deportivo, “It’s a team with great quality and with pretty good people in attack. We believe that this in an important game for us, especially taking in mind that in the coming weeks we are going to face another two tough rivals like Sevilla and Villarreal.”

List of picked players (19): Diego Alves, Esteban (goalkeepers); Michel, Chico, Acasiete, Pellerano, Cisma (defenders); Bernardello, M'bami, Soriano, Corona, Juanma Ortiz, Nieto, José Ortiz (midfielders); Piatti, Kalu Uche, David Rodríguez and Goitom (strikers).

Almeria: (4-2-3-1) Diego Alves - Michel, Chico, Acasiete, Cisma - Bernardello, M'bami - Juanma Ortiz, Soriano, Piatti - Kalu Uche.
Deportivo: (4-3-2-1) Aranzubia - Manuel Pablo, Colotto, Lopo, Filipe - Juan Rodríguez, Antonio Tomás, Sergio - Juan Domínguez, Mista - Adrián.
Referee: César Muñiz Fernández.
Kick-off: 17h00 CET (Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos)
Head-to-head Vs Almeria: 2 wins for Depor, 0 draws, 2 wins for Almeria (Primera)
Record at Almeria: 1 win for Depor, 0 draws, 1 win for Almeria (Primera)



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