Competition news


20 Mar 2010
A Deportivo struck again by the injuries searches revenge and the Champions League places as it hosts Real Valladolid, another rival in relegation that arrives to the Riazor searching for a miracle.

Real Valladolid is the worst Spanish team since the start of the year 2010; the Violet squad has only added four points within the last eleven matchdays and is currently living in relegation. The last victory of Valladolid occurred three months ago (December 20) as they defeated Sporting Gijón at the Nuevo José Zorilla (2-1, matchday 15). Actually, within the last twelve months, Valladolid has only won four liga encounters.

Also, to mention that within the year 2010 Valladolid has only scored two goals playing away from home, which converts them into the team with lesser goals as a visitor since the new year started. In a global sense, Los Pucelanos are the fifth worst visiting team on the season with only eight points after twelve visits, just above Villarreal (6), Espanyol (6), Xérez (6) and Tenerife (2).

Meanwhile, Deportivo La Coruña is the fifth best home team in la liga with twenty-six points added after thirteen matches disputed at the Riazor. Only Real Madrid (39), Barcelona (34), Mallorca (33) and Villarreal (27) are surpassing this mark.

About the record of Real Valladolid playing at the Riazor, Los Pucelanos have only won five times in La Coruña, the last occasion was on the season 2000/01. Since then Depor has won four of the last five matches played there. It’s the third straight home match for Depor against a team living inside the relegation zone. A last stat: the referee for the game, Undiano Mallenco, has whistled in ten games on this season and nine of those encounters ended in a victory for the home side, this means 90% success for the locals, which is the highest percentage among the 21 referees at Primera División.  

The continuous problems to cover the left-back position are forcing coach Miguel Angel Lotina to allow the debut of Fabril’s Diego Seoane at Primera División. In the recent past, the injuries of Filipe and Angulo have moved the Basque man to improvise with Laure on that position, and now that the Madrilenian defender is suspended for this game, which is forcing Lotina to once again search for an alternative solution.

And that solution is to pull a player from Deportivo B; Seoane already played an official match with the first squad, it was in Copa against Sevilla and this is going to be his debut in la liga. In this way the Ourense-born defender will become the fourth Fabril’s player that will debut at Primera during this season, the other three were Iván Pérez, Juan Domínguez and David Añón. Also, since his arrival to Depor, Lotina has allowed the debut in liga of other five players that were at Fabril: Piscu, Chapi, Fabricio, Lassad and the same Laure. Without forgetting that Manu, Rochela and Dani Rodriguez also debuted with the first team playing for Copa Del Rey.

The club has tried to protect the defender and only allowed a press conference with him until Friday, he told to reporters that, “I think I was fine in Copa and it gave me confidence. Now it’s time of la liga and known what I have to do. It is a complicate game, because they come after losing against Madrid in a violent game and should feel screwed.”

But there are more problems for Lotina, starting with the fact that Andrés Guardado suffered a thigh injury on Friday and he is doubtful for the game. The Mexican entered into the list of picked players, but it isn’t probable that he will play. Besides, Antonio Tomás is suspended, while Riki (knee) and Sergio (muscular) weren’t picked for the game despite they already surpassed their injuries, the reason is that it’s too soon for them they barely have completed a couple of training sessions.

In the end the coach is planning to repeat the “pyramidal” 4-3-2-1 system that gave good result at Sevilla, but there are three modifications caused by the suspensions and injuries: Seoane playing for Laure at the left side of the defence, Zé Castro performing for Antonio Tomás at midfield and Lassad entering for Guardado at the left sector.

At defence, Dani Aranzubia will be at the goal trying to clinch a clean sheet, something that doesn’t occur since matchday 21 (0-0 at Malaga). Manuel Pablo will perform at the right-back position, while Argentine Diego Colotto and Catalan Albert Lopo will play at the centre. The line is completed with the mentioned debut of the 21-years-old defender Seoane at the left.

The line of three pivotes will have the big novelty of Zé Castro performing at the central position, on this season the Portuguese has only performed during four liga encounters (275 minutes) and now is the emergency solution to replace suspended Antonio Tomás. The ex-Atletico already played there on the past campaign during the visit to RCD Espanyol. The line is completed with Juan Rodriguez performing towards the right and youngster Juan Dominguez towards the left.

The mentioned problem of Guardado is forcing Lotina to introduce Lassad Nouioui in the starting eleven, the Tunisian will be a starter for the first time in four months and will perform in one of the playmakers roles, the other spot if for Juan Carlos Valerón. Finally, Adrián will be the central attacker.

Mista is finally returning to the list of picked players, the Murcian attacker surpassed a groin problem one month ago, but this his first appearance since then. Together with Angulo and Filipe, the other player at the injury room is Juca, the Brazilian still dealing with muscular problems and it’s waiting to know if he will have the permission to go to Brazil in order to continue with his recovery process.

Before the game Juan Rodriguez was talking of the rival, “Every day there are less matchdays, they want to leave the hole and will try to take advantage of all the opportunities. They will go out for everything and will show intensity. But we aren’t afraid, on these days all the teams go out with intensity. Some of them pass the limits, but for that reason we have the referee. We just need to take care of our game.”
Finally, Juan Domínguez said during the week that Depor should try to reach the Champions League positions, “I, in a personal sense, prefer to go game by game. But we must seize the chances of the Champions League; we are only two points away!. It will be something pretty. We must go step by step, game by game, adding the highest number of points and when the end of season approaches we will see where we are, if in Europa League or Champions. We don’t discard anything, but must go step by step.”

List of picked players (19): Aranzubía, Manu (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Adrián López "Piscu", Colotto, Seoane, Raúl (defenders); Iván Pérez, Juan Domínguez, Juan Rodríguez, Valerón, Pablo Álvarez, Guardado (midfielders); Bodipo, Mista, Adrián and Lassad (strikers)

Real Valladolid arrives to the Riazor singing the same old song already heard in the past meetings with Xérez and Tenerife: it’s a team that plays better than what the results can say. And it’s that since coach Onesimo Sánchez replaced José Luis Mendilibar the performance of the team has been, at least, slightly better, though the new coach has missed to add a victory after the first five games.

The first match of Onesimo was a 0-2 at Valencia that was resolved in 28 minutes, but later the Violet team conquered two hard worked points against Zaragoza (matchday 22) and Osasuna (matchday 23), then Valladolid lost 1-2 at home against RCD Mallorca after been leading in the scoresheet and after committing two defensive errors that cost two goals within the final twenty minutes

It seemed that things were improving as the game of the team was now more attractive compared to the stage with Mendilibar, but a new relapse at Athletic Bilbao repeated the story saw at Valencia as the team allowed two quick goals that defined the match. Then, against Real Madrid, things seemed under control until Javier Baraja was replaced at minute 8 and his substitute, Brazilian Nivaldo -who wasn’t picked for the game at the Riazor-, started a series of fights on the pitch that distracted his team mates, which was deadly as it allowed the appearance of Cristiano Ronaldo and the hat-trick of Higuain.

Now they search for redemption against a candidate for the European positions. The main novelty for the game is the presence of Portuguese defender Henrique Sereno, who came during the winter market and that hasn’t debuted yet with the squad due to a knee problem. This is his first time in the list of picked players and is going directly into the starting squad replacing injured Javier Baraja (muscular problem).

Besides to Baraja, coach Onesimo Sánchez is also missing midfielder Álvaro Rubio (fibula), and wingers Jonathan Sesma (muscular contracture) and Sisinio González ‘Sisi’ (fibula), while the other novelty is that midfielder Borja Fernández, who missed the game with Real Madrid due to gastroenteritis, is now going directly into the starting eleven.

The rest of the 4-2-3-1 formation will be the same one that lost against Real Madrid. Justo Wilmar Villar will be at the goal, Pedro López will cover the right-back position, while ex-Villarreal César Arzo will join Sereno at the centre. The left side will be for Asier Del Horno, who was close to join Depor during the winter window.

At midfield, ex-Porto Vítor Hugo Gomes ‘Pele’ will join Borja Fernández in the pivote functions; ex-Las Palmas Nauzet Alemán will attack from the right wing, Marcos García ‘Marquitos’ will do it from the left and Bosnian Haris Medunjanin will be the playmaker. Finally, Brazilian Diego Costa will be the central attacker, he is the Pichichi of the squad with seven goals in liga.

During the week Costa was defending his team after been accused of a “violent behaviour” against Real Madrid, “The game was normal. We know how Real Madrid is, they always have something to say.  They never say anything of us, but when they kick Cristiano Ronaldo then the people take it as it where something from the other world. Cristiano Ronaldo is the better player of the world. We are fighting for the permanence, they for the title. They kick him, but if they would be kicking me… you already know.”

Ex-Depor Antonio Barragán wasn’t picked for the game, but Fabricio will be the keeper sited on the bench, he said before the game that, “We must add seven victories in order to be saved and I’m convinced we will do it. Depor is a good team, a hard worked squad. They have spent a few years with the same squad and know each other really well. It will be tough to defeat them. But I am convinced that we are going to win.”

List of picked players (18): Justo Villar, Fabricio (goalkeepers); Pedro López, Luis Prieto, Arzo, Sereno, Marcos, Asier del Horno (defenders); Pelé, Borja, Medunjanin, Keko, Bueno, Marquitos, Nauzet (midfielders); Canobbio, Manucho and Diego Costa (strikers).

Deportivo: (4-3-2-1) Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Colotto, Lopo, Seoane – Juan Rodríguez, Ze Castro, Juan Domínguez – Valerón, Lassad – Adrián.
Valladolid: (4-2-3-1) Justo Villar - Pedro López, Sereno, Arzo, Del Horno - Pelé, Borja - Nauzet, Medunjanin, Marquitos - Diego Costa.
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco (10 matches on the season, 9 wins for the local team)
Kick-off: 18h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs Valladolid: 30 wins for Depor, 17 draws, 30 wins for Valladolid (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 25 wins for Depor, 8 draws, 5 wins for Valladolid (Primera & Segunda)



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