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THE CURSE OF THE RIAZOR

12 Mar 2008
The visits of Real Madrid to the Riazor are like one of those urban legends, everybody have a clue about what's going to happen but nobody knows how or why. And its that Real Madrid hasn't won in La Coru�a since the season 1991-1992, that's almost seventeen years without clinching a victory at Depor's stadium, the worst mark for Real Madrid playing outside home.

Almost seventeen years without achieving a victory at the Riazor, that's the strange mark suffered by Real Madrid at Depor's stadium. A mark not even suffered against historic rivals like Barcelona, Valencia nor Atl�tico Madrid. It's true that each game is different, but the Madrilenians are always a different team when they are playing in La Coru�a, no matter the kind of season they are making, they always seem inferior, like affected by some kind of curse or magic spell.

All started back on the season 1991/1992. It was the returning campaign to Primera Divisi�n for Deportivo after a couple of decades out of the elite. Like it's happening in the current campaign, Depor was struggling to survive in la liga and it faced during matchday eight a Real Madrid that arrived to La Coru�a as the leader of the tournament. The result was a big setback for the Galicians: 0-3. Nobody could suspect at that point what would happen in the following years.

It was October 10th 1992, date that has remained in the calendar as the last day in which Depor was defeated at home by Real Madrid. The true is that this victory was strangely comfortable for the Madrilenians, because they have always suffered in previous visits to La Coru�a. Starting with the 0-1 defeat during the first visit to Riazor (season 1941/1942 with a goal scored by the legendary Chacho) and continuing with the 5-0 suffered on the 1950/1951 campaign (the biggest historic defeat of Real Madrid at the Riazor) with goals of Oswaldo, Corcuera, Franco and two from Tino. Four players that conformed the feared 'Orquesta Canaro' during the 50's, the first golden era of Deportivo.  

And the first chapter of this 'fairy tale' was a dramatic one, it was during the season 1992/1993, Spain was witnessing the first appearance of the 'Super Depor' legend. Real Madrid was visiting the Riazor in matchday five and this time, it was Deportivo who was holding the first place in the table after clinching four wins in the first four games. Everybody was expecting to see the fall of the 'humble' team against one of the historic giants in la liga, but things turned to be different.

Real Madrid was close to win the match, it took an early 2-0 advantage after just twenty five minutes, but the ghost of the Riazor appeared for the first time and Depor reacted clinching an astonishing comeback to end winning the game with a 3-2 score after Ricardo Rocha scored an own goal at minute 80. It was the first demonstration that the Super Depor rumour was something for real and not an accident.

Therefore, the birth of the Super Depor came from the hand with the start of Real Madrid's curse at the Riazor. Because as the Galicians started to accumulate merits and titles during the following years, the Madrilenians began to suffer all kind of punishments during its yearly visits to La Coru�a.

The curse of Real Madrid at the Riazor:


As the table shows up, Real Madrid has only scored ten goals during its last fifteen visits to the Riazor, meanwhile Depor has tripled that number during the same period of time, a demolishing statistic that illustrates the sufferings for the Madrilenians each time they step up at Riazor.

And its that Real Madrid has suffered big humiliations in La Coru�a. More in concrete, two 3-0 scores, two 4-0 defeats and the biggest one: the 5-2 of the 1999/2000 campaign, season in which Depor won its only title in la liga. Perhaps that match against the Madrilenians meant one of the best games ever played by Deportivo at the Riazor. Irureta's team was an hurricane that demolished its rival without mercy.

The same Madrid's players have expressed in past times the fear felt when they were visiting Depor's stadium, like when Roberto Carlos said in 1991 the team they did not want to see "not even in painting" was Deportivo. Or when 'Gica' Hagi said that Riazor was the most spectacular stadium and that Depor's fans where the most noising ones he had saw in his life.

But the Madrilenians have been close to break the spell. It was during the season 2000/2001, like it happened on the season 1992/1993, Depor had to overcome a 0-2 difference in the score, this time in order to clinch a draw. Real Madrid had the big chance to break once and for all its misfortunes in La Coru�a after Del Bosque's team picked a 2-0 advantage at half-time thanks to an own goal and a doubtful penalty scored by Figo, but the ghost of the Riazor appeared once again and Depor was able to tie the actions with a goal from Djalminha and specially with one of the best goals ever scored by Diego Trist�n, a strange curve at the edge of the penalty area that entered into Casillas's top left-hand corner, Magic on the pitch. It seemed a ghost was twisting the air. The curse showed its strangest face in that occasion.

It was the closest opportunity that Real Madrid had in order to break the curse. Because since that particular match, the Madrilenians have only clinched a draw and have only scored one goal within its last six visits to Riazor. In fact, they accumulate four straight defeats in La Coru�a. A curious thing to emphasise is that,  of the 36 goals scored by Depor against Real Madrid since the curse started, only two scorers survive in the current Lotina's team (De Guzm�n and Cristian), a fact that reminds the 'lifting' lived at Depor during present times.

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