Competition news


17 Jan 2009
Humiliation at the Camp Nou, Depor was a poor rival against a superior Barcelona that could have scored more goals. Lotina’s tactic of putting pressure in midfield was not even tried and the Galicians fell down due to their own errors. To make things worse Aranzubia was sent off and Guardado ended injured.

There was the doubt of Guardado for the game, the Mexican spent Friday's night with fever and he was doubtful until the last second. In the end, the ex-Atlas appeared in the starting eleven and covered the left wing. Cristian was the big novelty as he played on the right replacing Lafita. Bodipo continued in attack.

At Barcelona, Josep Guardiola preferred to bet with the youth of Piqu?© and the Catalan appeared alongside Puyol at the centre of the defence. The big doubt of who would play in midfield was decided with another novelty. It was expected the presence of Andr?©s Iniesta or Eidur Gudjohnsen in that sector, but it was Toure Yaya who appeared. The trio Henry-Messi-Eto'o appeared in attack, combination that later would concrete the humiliation of Depor.

Lotina said before the game that the key that would lead to a positive result at the Camp  Nou was to know when to put pressure in midfield and when to hold locked at the back zone, the true is that Depor never put any pressure against Barca’s players during the whole match, because the players were all waiting in defence since the kick-off. It looked like a scared team that knew what would happen.

Three were the reasons that condemned Depor. First Lotina gave orders to Guardado and Cristian to support the job of Filipe and Manuel Pablo, but these aids were never enough since Xavi, Messi, Henry and Eto’o were constantly moving and exchanging positions, reason that cancelled the strategy of Depor’s coach. The second problem was the huge distance between the line of four defenders and midfield, a big space that Barcelona capitalised at every minute to sent long and quick passes to both wings. Sectors from where Alves got tired of sending dangerous crosses.

Finally, the line of four defenders was totally disorientated when it tried to play with the offside trap, it was normal to see Barca’s players receiving a ball in a fair position just because somebody at the back zone was falling asleep in the process. The sum of all these factors resumes the cause of the humiliation suffered by Deportivo.

And it was clear since the initial whistle, just seconds after the kick-off, Xavi found Messi on the left to assist Henry who was close to beat Aranzubia with a shot to the centre of the goal, but the Basque keeper reacted late and that circumstance allowed him to deflect the shot. Just one minute later, Depor failed for the first time with the offside trap and it allowed Henry to shot from the edge of the area, Aranzubia saved Depor for the second time stopping the attempt from the French attacker.

The first and only approximation of Depor in the first half came at minute 12, it was product of a series of passes that ended with Cristian sending a high cross from the left, Bodipo wasn’t able to head the ball inside the box and the ball was cleared by Barca’s defence. Three minutes later, Xavi found Eto’o with a long pass as Depor failed again with the offside trap, but fortunately, the drilling shot of the Cameroonian went close to the far post.

It seemed like a miracle to see Depor reaching the mark of 20 minutes without allowing a goal, and it’s that the team was broken in two. The defense was confused and was constantly committing the three big errors listed before, besides all the balls recovered at the back were cleared with long passes that Barcelona was recuperating without too many problems. Meanwhile midfield just appeared briefly when Depor had more pause in its exits, therefore Bodipo never had a chance against Vald?©s.

But quickly the first goal arrived, Juan Rodriguez lost a ball in midfield when he was trying to organize a counterattack, the ball was passed to Lionel Messi who advanced crossing the area from the right to the left, he surpassed Z?© Castro and released a drilling shot to the far post that first hit Lopo, Aranzubia was covering the other post and couldn’t do anything as the ball hit first the post and went to the back of the net.

The goal didn’t change the strategy of Barcelona, team that continued insisting, but it sunk a Depor that’s used to go down each time it leaks a goal. To make things worse, Guardado had to leave the pitch at minute 26 due to possible fracture (Lotina confirmed after the game the Mexican could be out for a month), he was replaced by Lafita who took the right wing while Cristian passed to the left.

Barcelona’s second goal came just seconds after the substitution, the play was started by Daniel Alves who chipped a ball to the box, it was an exact pass to Terry Henry who just headed the ball to the centre of the goal, Aranzubia was waiting for a shot to the left and never had a chance. It was the 26th minute and it was clear that Barcelona would have a pleasant night.

And it was like that because the Catalans had countless occasions to score more goals, first Henry couldn’t met a long pass from Messi because Aranzubia arrived first (31’), three minutes later Messi missed the goal after heading a ball when he was alone inside the box, the cross was made, again, by Daniel Alves. Later Eto’o couldn’t score the third goal after missing a one-to-one action against Aranzubia that in the end was cleared by Filipe (41’).

But the ex-Mallorca attacker would have a new chance seconds later and this time he didn’t miss the opportunity. Again Daniel Alves sent a cross from the left that Keita headed inside the box, Aranzubia made the save but it gave a rebound that Eto’o just had to push into the net. The first half ended and the superiority of Barcelona was clear, the Catalans made fourteen shots while Depor just one, stat that demonstrates the differences between both teams.

Barcelona started more relaxed, like knowing the victory was already at their side. Meanwhile Deportivo was a little bit more worried about attacking than about defending. However the first clear opportunity was for the Catalans. Once again the holes at Depor’s defence appeared as a sequence between Abidal and Henry ended with an assistance to Messi on the left wing, then the Argentinean star found a hole to fire a shot that Aranzubia saved (51’).

Then the best moment of Depor in the game arrived, the Galicians enjoyed a streak of three corner-kicks and in one of them, Z?© Castro found the ball over the penalty spot and sent a header that Victor Vald?©s sent to a new corner-kick (55’), without doubt the most dangerous play for Deportivo in the whole match.

At the 60th minute, Daniel Alves, one of the most active players in the game, appeared again to send a dangerous cross that Manuel Pablo cleared. A couple of minute later, the Brazilian appeared again to assist Eto’o, but the Cameroonian lost the ball at the edge of the area. Then Lotina decided to make his second modification and sent De Guzman for Cristian.

The intention was to put more mark in midfield, but it didn’t work, because Barca continued to be the superior side on the pitch. The Catalans weren’t scoring more goals simply because they didn’t push the accelerator; they were just there waiting to find a hole at Depor’s defence. And that hole appeared at minute 72, again Henry found enough space on the wing and sent a cross that Andr?©s Iniesta, who replaced Toure a few seconds before, met inside the area to release a shot that was miraculously saved by Aranzubia.

And Daniel Alves was close to score the fourth goal in a free-kick, but his powerful shot just hit the net by the outside (74’). Fifteen minutes before the end, Lotina made his last substitution sending Riki for Bodipo. The Guinean never appeared in the game, but the true is that he never had an opportunity since he had to fight alone in attack throughout the night.

At minute 76, Messi had a new opportunity to score through a header, again after he was left alone inside the box, and again after a cross of Daniel Alves. And as it happened in the first half, he sent the ball out. Barcelona continued dominating the actions and the fourth goal was just a matter of time.

It arrived seven minutes before the end, and again it was product of the terrible mess in the defensive strategy of Depor. Iniesta assisted Xavi who just had to drill the ball to Terry Henry to beat Aranzubia. Two minutes later the Basque keeper committed a penalty over Puyol after the central defender was trying to chip the ball over him, as result of this Aranzubia was sent off and referee Rodr?­guez Santiago called the penalty.

Since the three changes were already completed, Juan Rodr?­guez took the role of goalkeeper, Samuel Eto’o just came to execute Depor from the penalty spot and scored the fifth goal of the night and his twelfth career goal against Deportivo. The last minutes were just â€?practicing timeâ€? for a Barcelona that always seemed superior against a Deportivo that was broken since the beginning.  Just of an example of the differences on the pitch, the Catalans made 21 shots in 90 minutes, while Depor just one.

This is the worst defeat for Deportivo since Lotina took control of the squad, actually the last time that Depor allowed five goals in one single liga game was during the last match of the previous coach, Joaquin Caparr??s, it was during a 2-5 defeat Vs Recreativo at the Riazor. The true is that it was a deserved setback, Deportivo was a broken toy in the hands of a serious Barcelona that didn’t need its best effort to achieve a new victory. They just capitalised the big lagoons at Depor’s defence and the trio Henry-Messi-Eto'o showed its quality as they scored the five goals in the game.

Depor still 7th in the table, but it could lose the position if Malaga CF is able to beat RCD Espanyol on Sunday. Lotina’s team will now continue with its tough calendar and in the next weekend, it will visit Real Madrid at the Bernab?©u stadium (Sunday, 21h00). Omar Bravo and Aranzubia are suspended for that game, while Guardado will probably miss the appointment too due the injury suffered at the Camp Nou.

Barcelona: Vald?©s - Alves, Puyol, Piqu?©, Abidal - Tour?© (Iniesta 71’), Keita, Xavi - Henry, Messi, Eto'o.
Deportivo: Aranzubia - Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Z?© Castro, Filipe Luis - Sergio, Juan Rodr?­guez - Cristian (De Guzm??n 63’), Verd??, Guardado (Lafita 28’) - Bodipo (Riki 76’).
Goals: 1-0: (21’) Messi, 2-0: (27’) Henry, 3-0: (42’) Eto'o, 4-0: (82’) Henry, 5-0: (86’) Eto'o (penalty).
Referee: Rodr?­guez Santiago. He showed red card to Aranzubia (84’)
Venue: Camp Nou (65,145) 
Other statistics: Ball possession (64% - 36%); Total shots (21 - 1); Shots on target (10 - 0); Saves by the keepers (0 - 4); Corner-kicks  (9 - 4); Offsides (3 - 3); Fouls committed (10 - 8); Accuracy in the passes (84.83% - 81.92%)



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