Competition news


20 Aug 2012
Depor returns to liga BBVA with Oltra on board; the Valencian coach is ready to repeat the lineup from the Teresa Herrera. The rival is Osasuna, a team that wants to reinforce its position at Primera, but that has lost important players.

The most recent season openers for Deportivo have been positive as the Galicians have only lost three of the last nineteen matchday 01 games at Primera División: 2-4 Vs. Betis (2002/03), 0-3 Vs. UD Almeria (2007/08) and 2-3 at Real Madrid (2009/10). This is the first time in which Depor is facing Osasuna in the opening game of a Primera season.

Besides, there are other two positive statistics regarding this match; the first is that Osasuna has always suffered visiting the Riazor. The Navarrans have only won three times after nineteen visits to A Coruña, though the three of them occurred within the last seven games disputed there: 1-2 (2007/08), 0-1 (2005/06) and 1-3 (2004/05).

The second positive news is that Deportivo is undefeated at home within the last eleven months and a half; the last defeat of the Galician team at the Riazor occurred on September 4, 2011 with a 0-1 score facing Hércules CF. Since that day Oltra’s team has played nineteen liga meetings, three Copa clashes and one Teresa Herrera meeting adding twenty victories and three draws. An impressive stat that will be difficult to repeat at the elite of Spanish football.

The curiosity for the game: four of the last six meetings between Deportivo and Osasuna have been goalless games, a fact that invites to think that the meetings between these two teams are condemned to a few goals; actually within the last eight meetings between these two outfits only nine goals have been scored. Finally, to remember that Osasuna have drawn the last five season openers.

Fifteen months have passed since the day in which Depor suffered the relegation to Segunda. The sorrow is gone and now the Galician outfit is back in the league where it lived its best moments within the last two decades, and it does it with the coach that brought the hope back to A Coruña: José Luis Oltra, a man that has extracted the better from his teams at Segunda, but that still searching for success at Primera División.

The team has lost three men that were important on last year: Andrés Guardado, who was named the best player of the season, Diego Colotto, who was a reference at defense, plus Lassad Nouioui, the Pichichi of the team at Segunda. In order to fill the gaps the club has signed eight players and expects to add the last piece within the next days.

For this new beginning Oltra will keep using the traditional 4-2-3-1 figure and the same philosophy of having the ball possession, irreplaceable landmark of the team throughout the past Segunda tournament, but there are some modifications as four of the eight new signings are expected to be starters in this clash.

Two of them are located at defense; Brazilian Evaldo Fabiano is the latest addition trying to solve once and for all the problems at the left-back position, while World Cup winner Carlos Marchena has arrived in order to command the centre of the defense, his partner is Canarian Aythami Artiles, while veteran Manuel Pablo is covering the right side with Daniel Aranzubia staying at the goal.

The third new face appears at midfield, Colombian Abel Aguilar arrives in order to add a combination of strength and vision to play; he’s taking the spot of Álex Bergantiños, who took part of all the Segunda matches on last season. The young player still part of the starting team is Juan Dominguez, the only Galician at the starting formation.

Juan Carlos Valerón is living his thirteen season at Deportivo and will continue to be the guide at midfield. El Flaco is the playmaker in the formation and will surely want to repeat his last numbers after scoring five times plus providing eleven assists at Segunda.

Bruno Gama is called to be a reference on the new season and will play his first Primera match attacking from the right wing; the last new signing at the starting formation is another Portuguese player: Luis Miguel Afonso ´Pizzi´, who wants to demonstrate that he can play at the elite of Spanish football after not having too many opportunities at Atletico Madrid. Finally, Riki begins his seventh season at the club targeting to improve the twelve goals of the past season; the Madrilenian will be the central attacker in the formation.

The two players at the injury room are right-back Laure and left winger Salomão. Centre back Ze Castro is already recovered from a hamstring injury, but it’s too soon for him as the player lacks match fitness. Winger Javier Camuñas was picked for the first time after joining the team on last week. The five players that weren´t picked due to tactical reasons are winger Saul striker Bodipo, centre midfielder Jesús Vázquez, right-back Seoane and playmaker Juan Carlos.

Valerón talked before the game and explained the goal of Depor for the new season, “We must try to make a positive season and to see Deportivo living one more year at Primera, let’s see if we can do it. All the teams that will be at the middle or at the bottom of the standings are trying to have a positive start; we must go game by game. This is a recently promoted club and we all should understand that the team is missing some things; we have new players and it’s difficult, so we need patience as the players still need to grow up.”
Meanwhile, Marchena was warning of the difficulty of this match, ”We are facing a rival that’s coming after completing a couple of solid seasons. We need to be fine. Depor is coming back after a year out of Primera and want to debut winning. To enjoy of a victory here, at our field, would mean a good way to begin the season. Besides, the team is motivated by the fact of having these great fans, they will be important, especially at the beginning.”

Abel Aguilar was emphasizing the importance of the Riazor on the new season, ”Yes, everything is passing through here. It’s really important to have a solid performance at home, to consolidate ourselves at our own field, to be solid, and later to demonstrate the same things on the road. We must be strong at home, always been faithful to our ideas, to our concepts and surely the results will arrive throughout the season.”

Dani Aranzubia is convinced that Osasuna is going to be a tough opponent, ”Osasuna is a tough rival; they have extracted the best from their players and currently have a great coach. Last season they made great things and it’s a tough opponent. For us the goal is the permanence. We have to find three teams that are worse than us, surely we are going to find them.”

Finally, Camuñas is part of a game for the first time and he’s a facing a club where he played in the past; he told to reporters that, “I spent there two wonderful years; I know them well, they lost some key men, but also hired other players. They will be a tough opponent. They are strong, but are also targeting the permanence. We must be strong at home, it’s important for us.”

List of picked players (18): Aranzubia, Lux (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Roderick, Marchena, Aythami, Ayoze, Evaldo (defenders); André Santos, Álex Bergantiños, Juan Dominguez, Abel Aguilar Bruno Gama, Pizzi, Camuñas, Valerón (midfielders); Riki and Nélson Oliveira (strikers)

The Navarrans are facing the season 2012/13 with the objective of demonstrating that they are no longer a candidate to relegation, but a strong and stable project at Primera División. After the historic fourth place of the campaign 2005/06 Los Rojillos lived tough times trying to avoid Segunda, and finally found some stability within the last two years ending ninth and seventh respectively.

But coach José Luis Mendilibar, who´s living his second full year at the club, is having a big problem on his hand: the team has suffered nine exits that represented 65% of the goals scored on the past Primera season. Pichichi Raul Garcia has returned to Atletico Madrid; he scored eleven goals on the past Primera season and was joined at the door out by the second - Ibrahima Baldé (7)- the fourth - Javad Nekounam (5)- and the fifth - Dejan Lekić (4)- best scorer at the team.

The only top scorer remaining from the past season is striker Nino, who netted six goals, and the only signing made for the striking zone is veteran Joseba Llorente from Basque rivals Real Sociedad, on a season-long loan, but last year the 32-year-old veteran could only score three times in seventeen matches in San Sebastian, so there are big doubts on the ability of this team in order to score the goals.

At least the club has made interesting signings for other zones on the pitch, starting with promising centre back Alejandro Arribas on a free transfer from Rayo Vallecano, or his team mate in Madrid, centre midfielder Emiliano Armenteros, plus wingers Fernando Macedo ‘Nano’ and Sisinio González ‘Sisi’, all of them signed on free transfers.

For the visit to the Riazor it’s expected that Mendilibar will continue playing with a 4-2-3-1 figure, that’s his landmark, just like Oltra, the Basque man rarely uses a different scheme. Andrés Fernandez is the starting keeper; two years ago the Murcian was the Zamora of Segunda and last season played the 38 Primera matches with Osasuna, now he’s ready to continue with his progress.

Ex-Tenerife man Marc Bertrán is ready to perform at the right-back position, while Catalan Damiá Abella performs on the left. New signing Arribas is expected to join veteran Miguel Flaño at the centre of the defense.

Captain Francisco Puñal is completing his fifteenth season at the club; the marksman will try to dominate midfield territory and will be joined by French Raoul Loe, who has been promoted from Osasuna B after leaving a positive impression in the second stretch of the past season.

Attacker Nino will perform beyond the two centre midfielders acting as a playmaker. Álvaro Cejudo is attacking from the right wing, the Andalusian man is getting more responsibility on the new season; last year he scored four times in 34 presentations. Another promoted player from Osasuna B, Roberto Torres, is going to play his third game at Primera covering the left wing; finally  Joseba Llorente is the central attacker.

Right-back Marc Bertrán said before the game that Osasuna can’t despise Depor for its condition of newly promoted club, ”We are facing a tough start on the season. We are starting facing a recently promoted club, but you should consider them as a team that has spent all its life at Primera. I do believe that the tournament will be similar to the one of the past year. There are two teams above the rest, later there’s a group of four or five that have European options, and then everything is equal. We must fight in order to be as high as possible, just like the past year.”

Meanwhile, Damiá told to reporters that, ”The first game in liga is always special, because all the players spent a lot of time thinking of it. We are thinking of Depor since the day in which the calendar was released. For this reason the first matchday is special and motivating, and surely we want to have a solid start. The feelings from the pre-season are really good and the commitment of the players is there.”

Finally, Miguel Flaño is also confident of the new season, ”There’s a healthy environment, but at the same time there’s competition and I like this. I do believe that this is the path to follow for Osasuna in all the years to come. We are hopeful, knowing that things have been done in the best possible way.”

List of picked players (18): Andrés Fernandez, Riesgo (goalkeepers); Marc Bertrán, Flaño, Lolo, Arribas, Oier, Damiá (defenders); Puñal, Sisi, Cejudo, Lamah, Roberto Torres, Timor, Loe (midfielders); Quique Sola, Joseba Llorente and Nino (strikers).

Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Marchena, Aythami, Evaldo – Juan Domínguez, Abel Aguilar – Bruno Gama, Valerón, Pizzi – Riki.
Osasuna: (4-2-3-1) Andrés – Bertrán, Arribas, Flaño Damiá – Puñal, Loe – Cejudo, Nino, Roberto Torres - Llorente.
Referee: David Fernandez Borbalan
Kick-off: 19h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs. Osasuna: 28 wins for Depor, 12 draws, 18 wins for Osasuna (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 20 wins for Depor, 6 draws, 3 wins for Osasuna (Primera & Segunda)



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