Competition news

NEXT LIGA RIVAL: RECREATIVO DE HUELVA

11 Jan 2007
Recreativo is without doubt, the biggest surprise in this liga season. They returned to Primera with the only idea of achieving the permanence. But the results have been wonderful, and now the Andalucian club is dreaming of Europe. A fact that has been possible thanks to several impressive performances like the amazing win over Real Madrid.

The fans of Recreativo like to refer to their team as El Decano, that's for the fact of being the first club that was officially founded in Spain. However, Recreativo has only played two seasons in Primera (1978/1979 and 2002/2003). In both opportunities they weren't able to do a good job, and the Andalucians ended in Segunda.

But things seems to be different for the present campaign. Coach Marcelino has been praised for building a powerful striking zone. The Andalucians have scored 27 goals in 17 matches (The fourth best record in la liga), and they have also the second best record as visitors (five victories and four defeats).

The main reason for the effectiveness upfront is the deadly combination between Florent Sinama Pongolle and Ikechuwku Uche. These two fast and smart strikers have scored 11 goals for Recreativo, and both of them gave a lesson against Real Madrid at the Bernabe??. This number of goals could be bigger, but Uche started to play until matchday 7 due to an injury that he was carrying from the past season.

The tactic implemented by Marcelino is based on a 4-4-2 formation and he prefers to play on counterattacks, the secret is the pressure that he likes to put in midfield in order to disconnect the game of the rival. The tactic is complemented with the velocity of their attacking duo. L??pez Vallejo is the normal keeper. The defensive line is commanded by Dani Bautista and by Beto, while midfield is territory for Viqueira, Santi Cazorla, Aitor and Jes??s V??zquez (the only Recreativo's player that has participated in every possible minute in this liga).

The secret for the positive reality of this club is without doubt the good work done by the president Francisco Mendoza. He was able to retain key players like Uche (pretended by Depor on the past season) and Viqueira. At the same time, he was very wise and negotiated the incorporation of important pieces like Mario (Barcelona), Dani Bautista (Sevilla), Santi Cazorla (Villarreal), L??pez Vallejo, Beto (Girondins) and Sinama-Pongolle (Liverpool). Most of this deals were loan spells and are only costing €2 million to the club.

Curiously, Recreativo will be since the end of January, the Primera club with less members in its board of directors. President Francisco Mendoza only has the help of three men in order to take the most important decisions in the club: Michael Dumois, Francisco Mu?±oz and Pedro Mu?±oz.

But there are also some problems in the squad. As it was said previously, Recreativo has the fourth best striking zone in la liga, but the defensive zone is the opposite case: So far they have allowed 24 goals in 17 matches, meaning the fourth worst record in Primera. But another curiosity, they haven't allowed goals in their last two games (3-0 Vs. Real Madrid and 1-0 Vs. Espanyol).

Another weak point in Recreativo is the lack of ideas when the team is forced to control the ball. Marcelino's squad is an expert making counterattacks, but it isn't used to carry with the weight of the game. That's why Recreativo lost their first two games at the Nuevo Colombino (0-1 Vs. Levante and 1-2 Vs. Getafe). When the rival is the one creating pressure in midfield, the Andalucians are unable to find open spaces, and the velocity of their strikers is annulled. A very similar situation to the one of Depor on the past season.

Despite of the problems, Recreativo has a promising future in this liga season, they are just one point away from the European places, and their recent performance is inviting them to be optimistic. However, coach Marcelino prefers to have both foot on the ground, as he said after the 1-0 win over Espanyol: "For me, Europe is an utopia. We are working in order to achieve the permanence, we have to fulfil this mission first. Later we can start talking about other objectives. This is a very professional league, one that has clubs with huge budgets, and it won't be real to be changing our objectives at the beginning of January."

Marcelino also said during this press conference, that one of the secret in his squad, is the competition between the same players: "We are trying to give options to every player, this generates a huge competitive environment inside the squad, that's why you can see players like C?©sar Arzo and Javi Guerrero performing at the same level than the normal starters (Mario and Sinama Pongolle)."

Finally, Marcelino had eulogies for Deportivo: "Everybody talks about the character of Caparr??s, but this fact isn't the one that win the games, it's necessary to see it too in the players. Deportivo has a coach that works really well, it's a ordered, disciplined, warrior and complicated team. Besides their offensive strategy its giving them good results."

There's a curiosity in the visits of Deportivo to the Nuevo Colombino. The Galician squad has never achieved a win there. In Primera, Depor has only played one match: a 1-1 draw in the season 2002/2003. Previously, The Blanquiazul team has visited Huelva in thirteen occasions during its period in Segunda. The balance: ten defeats and only three draws.

CLUB FACTS
Year of foundation: 1889
President: Francisco Mendoza
Stadium: Nuevo Colombino
Capacity: 19,860
Players signed on the summer: Poli (Alav?©s), Mario (Barcelona), Dani Bautista (Sevilla), Iago Bouz??n (Celta), Cazorla, L??pez Vallejo and Arzo (Villarreal), Edu Moya, Jes??s V??zquez (Tenerife), Juanma G??mez (Levante), Pablo Amo (Deportivo), Javi Guerrero (Celta de Vigo), Beto (Girondins), Sinama-Pongolle (Liverpool) and Laquait (Charleroi).
Players released in the summer: Xavi Jim?©nez (Ciudad de Murcia), Ben?­tez (H?©rcules), Mateo (Alav?©s), Iker Bego?±a, Gast??n Casas (Elche), Galv??n, Valero, Pedro Baquero (Rayo Vallecano),Guijo (Levante), Ram??n (Murcia) and Joselito (Ja?©n).
The full squad: L??pez Vallejo, Laquait, Jos?© Ram??n (Goalkeepers); Iago Bouz??n, Beto, Edu Moya, Poli, Dani Bautista, Pablo Amo, C?©sar Arzo, Mario, Merino (Defenders); Jes??s V??zquez, Viqueira, Barber, Aitor, Juanma G??mez, Cheli, Juvenal, Santi Cazorla (midfielders); Rosu, Sinama Pongolle, Uche, Javi Guerrero and Antonio de la Calle (strikers).

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