Squad news


16 May 2012
Oltra faces a new final towards the promotion without making rotations despite the thigh calendar ahead; the coach repeats the lineup of the past Saturday. The rival arrives to the Riazor distracted by its own internal problems.

Canarian club UD Las Palmas arrives to the Riazor living one of its lowest moments on the season, the yellow squad has only achieved one victory within the last eight matchdays, suffering four losses in the period, including a disappointing 1-2 loss at home against relegation-troubled FC Cartagena. This bad streak has put the team definitely out of the race for the promotion as they are twelve points behind the sixth place, all of this with just with five games remaining in the schedule.

Besides, Las Palmas is having a poor run playing away from home; the Canarians are just sixteenth on this department, with only four victories on the road: 3-1 at Gimnástic Tarragona (matchday 03), 2-1 at RC Celta (matchday 8), 2-1 at Real Murcia (matchday 28) and 4-1 at Villarreal B (matchday 37).

Meanwhile, Deportivo is the best local team in the league; the Galicians broke their winning streak at the Riazor after the 1-1 tie playing against Real Valladolid, but the Blanquiazul outfit still strong as it has only dropped seven points after nineteen presentations in front of its fans. Oltra’s team is also arriving to this meeting after breaking the club’s all-time record of victories in one single season (25) plus the mark  of points in a single liga tournament (79).

This is the 18th visit of Las Palmas to the Riazor playing for a league competition; the Canarians have only won three times in La Coruña; one of them playing for Segunda División (3-1, 1984/85), while the other two occurred at Primera División (2-1 on the seasons 1955/56 & 1956/57). The last visit of Las Palmas to the Riazor was on the campaign 2001/02, it was a 1-0 victory with an own goal scored by keeper Nacho González.

It’s the final stretch in la liga and all the teams are still trying to clinch their goals; the only thing for sure at this point is the relegation of Villarreal B and it’s the moment to make that last push. And all the teams are facing this decisive moment forced to play five games in a frame of fourteen days. In some cases this situation moves the coaches to make rotations in order to refresh the players, but this won’t happen at Deportivo, because the intention of Oltra is to put the best players in all the matches, at least until the promotion is secured.

In this sense, for the game against U.D. Las Palmas, the Valencian coach is picking the same eighteen players that traveled to Soria three days ago, the only difference is the return of centre midfielder Borja Fernandez replacing right winger Saul Fernandez. It means that fixed starters as Juan Carlos Valerón (36 appearances on the season) and Álex Bergantiños (37) will keep adding minutes.

Goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia has improved a lot from his Achilles injury, but Oltra preferred to keep him out for precaution reasons.  For this reason Fabril’s Marc Martinez was included for the third time in a row. He’s the only player of Depor B on the list; the youngsters ended the season on Sunday and are available for Oltra.

The other three players that are joining Aranzubia at the injury room are left-back Claudio Morel, left winger Diogo Salomão and centre midfielder Jesús Vázquez. The players out for tactical reasons are central defender David Rochela, right-back Diego Seoane and striker Rodolfo Bodipo.

The lineup should be the same one that played at Los Pajaritos on Saturday, Argentine German Lux defends the goal, Laureano Sanabria ‘Laure´ covers the right-back position, Ayoze Diaz remains defending the left sector, while the centre backs are Argentine Diego Colotto and Portuguese Ze Castro.

Álex Bergantiños and Juan Dominguez are the two pivotes in the formation, Portuguese Bruno Gama attacks from the right wing, Mexican Andrés Guardado does it from the left, Juan Carlos Valerón is the playmaker in the formation, the only doubt is if Tunisian Lassad Nouioui will be the starter in attack, or if instead Oltra will recall Madrilenian Riki. Both men, together with Guardado, are fighting in order to end as the top scorer at the team.

Valerón is facing the club where he debuted as a professional; he didn’t want to talk of the possible day in which the team can certify the promotion "There's only one game in our minds: Wednesday, it's important. We don't want any other distraction. Since the beginning we have respected the rivals, and to make calculations is disrespectful, so we won't do it now."

Álex Bergantiños was addressing that Las Palmas is going to be a tough opponent, ”I like this team, because is young and likes to have the ball possession; they have quick wingers and surely will love to shine at the Riazor. They have been a bit irregular and that has prevented them to be in a better position at the standings. But this is only one game, and they will be pretty motivated, so it’s going to be a tough opponent.”

Finally, Lassad is having a similar opinion, “Tomorrow we have an important game at home, knowing that Las Palmas is already saved, so they will be relaxed. And this means that they could play a better game as they don’t have any pressure, so it’s going to be a complicate match. In this sense we must be plugged into the game since the start.”

List of picked players (18): Lux, Marc Martínez (goalkeepers); Laure, Colotto, Ze Castro, Aythami, Ayoze, Manuel Pablo (defenders); Álex Bergantiños, Juan Domínguez, Valerón, Guardado, Bruno Gama, Borja Pablo Álvarez (midfielders); Riki, Xisco and Lassad (strikers).

At the beginning of March the fans at the Canary Islands were expecting to see UD Las Palmas reaching the playoff zone as the team clinched three straight victories, after all this was the target of president Miguel Ángel Ramírez, but the team didn’t respond later and only achieved one win within the following eight matches.

Now the Canarians, like it happened with the previous rival in liga Numancia, is a demotivated rival, and with the players more attentive to what could happen with them rather than been focused in the ball and the game plan. And this problems starts with coach Juan Manuel Rodriguez, who hasn’t been renewed as the club’s officials are delaying the final decision until the end of the season.

The same club’s officials seem distracted as they already started to negotiate with their players, that’s the case of Jonathan Viera, the playmaker is the best assistor at Liga Adelante (12) and one of the two best scorers at the team (9), but last week he was sold to Valencia CF for €2.5 million, and won’t play anymore in order to avoid any injury. He was whistled in the last game at home against FC Cartagena, a bittersweet good-bye that reflects the frustration at the stands.

Besides, there are already rumours of the players going out during the summer, plus the fact that five additions will be made. So, the environment inside the team points to a lack of concentration on what happens inside the pitch, something clearly demonstrated by the latest  results.

To make things worse there are some casualties for the visit to the Riazor; starting with ex-Depor winger Momo, who picked an adductor muscle injury in the past game with FC Cartagena; the biggest problems are located at defense as central defender David Garcia was replaced in the same match due to a hamstring problem. Another central defender, Víctor Laguardia, is dragging an ankle sprain and was ruled out of the meeting, while left-back Ruymán Hernández is suspended.

So, coach Rodriguez visits the Riazor with an improvised defensive line; ex-Villarreal Mariano Barbosa defends the goal, veteran Stephane Pignol performs at the right-back position, another experienced man, former Osasuna Enrique Corrales, enters in order to cover the left sector. Then, Argentine Diego Herner is joined by youngster Juan Pedro Ramírez ´Juanpe´ at the centre of the defense.

It’s a 4-4-2 draw, completed with Javi Castellano and Francis Suárez trying to direct the traffic of the ball at midfield, Iban Iyanga Travieso ´Randy’ attacks from the right wing, Víctor Machín ´Vitolo’ does it from the left, while the couple of central attackers are Argentine Mauro Daniel Quiroga and ex-Real Madrid Javier Portillo.

Vitolo is the other top-scorer at the team with nine goals in favour, while Quiroga and Portillo have each one contributed with six goals on the season. The former attacker of Real Madrid is arriving to the meeting after scoring two goals within the last three games. Also to point out the presence of Javi Guerrero on the bench, he has scored eight goals playing against Depor. He’s the fourth active player with more goals against Depor, just behind Samuel Eto’o (13), David Villa (11) and Raul (11).

Despite the recent frustrations, central defender Diego Herner was defending the performance of the team in recent matches, ”We haven’t made a bad season; what we need to improve is our defensive order, because it is costing points; now we are trying to enjoy this last part of the season. At the Riazor it will be eleven men against eleven men. I think that we can win the last five matches and improve the impression left by the team.”

Finally, Javi Castellano was talking of giving the surprise at the Riazor, ”We have to travel to the Riazor with the same mentality used against Villarreal B [4-1 win for them] Deportivo is a solid team, that’s why they are at the first place, but we are wishing to improve our latest presentation. We will try to delay their party.”

List of picked players (19): Barbosa, Raúl Lizoain (goalkeepers); Pignol, Diego Herner, Juanpe, Corrales (defenders); Vicente Gómez, Francis Suárez, Sergio Suárez, David González, Pedro Vega, Javi Castellano, Randy, Roque Mesa (midfielders); Mauro Quiroga, Javi Guerrero and Dani Castellano (strikers).

Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Lux – Laure, Colotto, Ze Castro, Ayoze – Álex Bergantiños, Juan Domínguez – Bruno Gama, Valerón, Guardado – Lassad.
Las Palmas: (4-4-2) Barbosa – Pignol, Herner, Juanpe, Corrales – Randy, Francis Suárez, Javi Castellano, Vitolo – Quiroga, Portillo.
Referee: Santiago Jaime Latre (17 games on the season, 4 wins for the local team)
Kick-off: 20h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs. Las Palmas: 14 wins for Depor, 6 draws, 15 wins for Las Palmas (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 10 wins for Depor, 4 draws, 3 wins for Las Palmas (Primera & Segunda)



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