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REVIEW: VILLARREAL 1 - DEPORTIVO 0 (LIGA)

14 Sep 2008
First official defeat on the season for Deportivo as the defensive strategy of Lotina only lasted twenty seven minutes at El Madrigal. Villarreal had countless chances to score more goals, but Aranzubia and Z? Castro saved Depor. The game of Lotina’s squad improved for the second half, but the chances to score only appeared in the final five minutes of the game.

BEFORE THE GAME
No surprises in the lineups of both sides. Lotina sent the expected defensive scheme with three pivotes working in midfield: Antonio Tom??s, Sergio and Juan Rodr?guez. Cristian started covering the left wing while Pablo Alvarez repeated his appearance on the right side. In Villarreal, Pellegrini was stepping out with Guille Franco and Llorente upfront and with Cazorla commanding midfield. Edmilson was debuting in la liga with the yellow submarine.

FIRST HALF
The initial fifteen minutes were highly disputed, with both sides trying to take control of the actions. And it was Deportivo who started in the best way. With Sergio searching for Lopo in a direct free-kick (1’), and later with Pablo ?lvarez sending a cross to the hands of Diego L??pez (4’). Depor’s good moment continued when Laure was searching for Mista with a cross from the right, but Gonzalo cleared the danger (7’). The best chance for Deportivo in the first half came at the 15th minute, Juan Rodr?guez sent a dangerous shot after a corner, but Diego L??pez was there to save Villarreal.

It seemed the approach of Lotina was working, with Juan Rodr?guez switching his functions between defence and attack, and with Antonio Tom??s trying to act as the link between Cristian, Pablo Alvarez and Mista. The game reached a pause as four yellow cards were showed in a period of nine minutes. First for Guille Franco for simulating a penalty (8’), later for Senna and Juan Rodr?guez after they started a fight (11’ and 17’) and also to Antonio Tom??s for a tackle over Senna (15’).

And it was Villarreal who begun to dominate the actions after this crazy nine minutes, mainly because Santi Cazorla started to shine. The Asturian midfielder appeared for the first time at minute 18 with a dangerous cross that Aranzubia intercepted and six minutes later with an individual effort that was stopped by Depor’s defensive line. In the middle of this, the Galicians had a chance as Laure crossed to Cristian who later tried to assist Mista, but the pass was blocked.

The lonely goal of the game came at minute 27, and it was scored by the best player on the game: Santiago Cazorla. Ibagaza sent a pass from the left wing and the Asturian found the ball a couple of meters behind the edge of the area, then he released a drilling shot that hit the ground first and that later entered by the right side of Aranzubia, the Basque keeper tried to clear the ball with one hand, but he couldn’t reach it.

The goal mentally affected Deportivo, because since that moment Villarreal took total control over the game. And it’s that the home side had countless chances to increase the lead. In the next five minutes after the goal, they had two clear chances. First with Llorente sending a strong mid-distance shot that Aranzubia repealed (29’). Later with Senna sending the ball out after a series of rebounds inside the area (32’).

And at the 36th minute, Villarreal was once again close to score after a combination between Guille Franco and Llorente ended with this last one shooting on target, again Aranzubia saved Deportivo. The first half finalized with three new chances for the home side. First Edmilson sending the ball out with a mid-distance attempt (38’), two minutes later Fabricio Fuentes headed a corner of Ibagaza, but the ball was cleared by the defensive zone. The final opportunity was a shot of Guille Franco that Ze Castro cleared throwing himself to the ground (42’)

The ?trivote’ of Lotina worked for twenty seven minutes, a time in which Deportivo seemed very solid at the back and with some danger in attack. But after Villarreal’s goal, the whole Galician squad fell down and Villarreal had at least six chances to increase the lead.

SECOND HALF
Pellegrini replaced Guille Franco with Altidore after halftime, the Mexican had a muscular problem and that’s why he left the game. Lotina just waited four minutes in the second half to make his first substitution. He replaced Antonio Tom??s with Valer??n in an attempt that was trying to revive the connection with Mista. In this way Depor’s formation returned to the classic 4-2-3-1 figure, with Valer??n as the playmaker and with Juan Rodr?guez and Sergio playing as the two pivotes.

The true is that Depor’s image improved with the introduction of El Mago, but Villarreal continued to be the most dangerous side on the pitch. At minute 56 Llorente was again near to score after receiving a good pass from Altidore, and once again Z? Castro cleared the danger. Two minutes later Lotina sent Omar Bravo to the pitch replacing a disappeared Mista. The final change of the Basque coach was the entrance of Lafita for Cristian. The modifications gave more mobility to Depor, especially with the velocity of Lafita on the left.

Villarreal tried to catch a second air as Robert Pires replaced Ibagaza. The home side was speculating now with the velocity of Altidore. Meanwhile, Lotina was putting his most talented men on the pitch. At minute 73 Altidore made an impressive run, but Laure was able to clear the ball. Depor wasn’t finding the holes and it was Villarreal who seemed more near to score the second. At minute 78 Senna took a free-kick and his cross was cleared by the defensive line, two minutes later Aranzubia was stopping a new mid-distance shot from Cazorla.

It seemed that Deportivo was harmless against the runners-up of the past season, its image was better now but the chances to score weren’t appearing. However a small reaction was seen within the final five minutes. At minute 85 Sergio had the clearest chance of the night for Depor. The Catalan eluded a couple of rivals to end shooting on target, but his effort hit the post. Three minutes later the same Sergio assisted Omar Bravo inside the box, but the Mexican wasn’t able to connect the ball properly. The reaction of the Galicians arrived too late and Villarreal even had the chance again to score the second goal with a new opportunity for Cazorla, but the ball was cleared to corner.

AFTER THE GAME
Twenty seven, that was the number of minutes in which Lotina’s strategy worked, a period in which both sides were trying to dominate the game. But after the goal of Cazorla, Depor fell down and there’s was only one side on the pitch. The Galicians improved for the second half with the entrances of Valer??n, Omar Bravo and Lafita, but the chances to score arrived until the final five minutes.

This defeat should help Depor’s players to realise the should always have both feet on the ground, and also is a warning to Lotina about making experiments in la liga. Because Deportivo seemed better when he put his most skilful men over the grass. Now Deportivo travels to Norway in order to face SK Brann in the first-leg of the first round in the UEFA cup. On the next Sunday the Galicians will host Mallorca at the Riazor for la liga (17h00).

MATCH STATISTICS
Villarreal: - Diego L??pez, Javi Venta, Gonzalo, Fuentes, Capdevila - Cazorla, Senna, Edmilson, Ibagaza (Pires 68’) - Guille Franco (Altidore 46’), Llorente (Cani 80’).
Deportivo: Aranzub?a - Laure, Lopo, Z? Castro, Filipe Luis - Sergio, Antonio Tom??s (Valer??n 48’), Juan Rodr?guez - Cristian (Lafita 68’), Pablo ?lvarez, Mista (Omar Bravo 57’).
Goal: 1-0: (27’) Santi Cazorla.
Referee: Daud?n Ib???ez. He showed yellow card to Guille Franco (8’), Marcos Senna (11’), Antonio Tom??s (15’), Juan Rodr?guez (17’) and Fabricio Fuentes (67’),
Venue: El Madrigal (20,000).
Other statistics: Ball possession (57% - 43%); Total shots (19 - 6); Shots on target (8  - 2); Saves by the keeper (2 – 3); Corner-kicks (10 – 3); Offsides (2 – 6); Fouls (16 – 14); Accuracy of passes (83.29% - 86.13%)

Related matches

13.09.2008: DLC vs. Villarreal


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