Squad news

REVIEW: RCD ESPANYOL 2 – DEPORTIVO 0 (LIGA)

14 Mar 2011
Depor returned to the path of the defeat after falling down against an Espanyol that was asleep in the first part, but that woke up in the second to end clinching an easy win. Pablo Álvarez was sent off in the first half, but neither is an excuse for Depor’s poor game.

BEFORE THE GAME
Andrés Guardado was sidelined form the match; the Mexican winger didn’t have any physical problem, but Lotina preferred to rest him as the ex-Atlas man played three games during the past week. Saul was the other player discarded from the list of twenty players that travelled to Barcelona.

In the end Depor’s coach sent the expected 4-2-3-1 squad; with Aranzubia at the goal, Laure and Morel were fit enough and were covering the sides at defense, while Lopo and Aythami were performing at the centre. Juan Rodriguez and Antonio Tomás were the two pivotes. Pablo Álvarez was playing at the right wing, while Yves Desmarets appeared on the left; Michel was the playmaker and Adrian the central attacker.

At RCD Espanyol, coach Pochettino was presenting the expected 4-2-3-1 squad; the only novelty was the presence of former Espanyol B player Raul Baena at midfield claiming the spot of ex-Depor man Aldo Duscher. In attack, Callejón, Verdú, Luis Garcia and Álvaro Vázquez were the references in the quest for the goals.

FIRST HALF
Another boring first half of Deportivo, this time followed by an Espanyol that was asleep and that did nothing on the pitch. Once again the defensive zone of the Galicians was solid, but the offensive players were lost. To make things worse Pablo Álvarez was sent off at the end of the half with two yellow cards.

The first approximation was for Espanyol, it was a direct free-kick of Baena that missed the target (3’); clearly the Catalans had the initiative since the start in the game, but the true is that nothing important happened within the first forty-five minutes. The Catalans were missing more depth in attack, while the Galicians were failing in all their passes during the counterattacks, reason why neither Adrian nor Álvaro Vázquez were seen in this part of the encounter.

The key for Depor was that the Juan Rodriguez, Michel and Antonio Tomás were putting a lot of pressure at midfield, which forced Espanyol to play through long passes searching for Callejón and Luis Garcia at both sides, which made easier the life for Deportivo’s defenders.

But neither Depor was doing something important in attack; Michel was more worried in defensive tasks at the centre, while Pablo Álvarez and Desmarets were losing the few balls they were getting at the sides. For this reason Adrian never enjoyed of a clear attempt to score.

Depor’s first approximation in the game came at minute 24, and it was a wide shot of Juan Rodriguez from long-distance. The best chance for Espanyol in this half came at minute 37, it was a corner-kick that Callejón threw from the left corner, Baena found the ball inside the box, but he sent the ball out.

At minute 40, Michel ended a play that was the best one of Depor in the half; Antonio Tomas sent a long pass into the path of Pablo Alvarez, who controlled the ball at the right wing and assisted the Valencian playmaker at the edge of the area, but his drilling shot missed the target.

Then the polemic came as Pablo Álvarez was sent off, it was after the winger saw the second yellow in the game after a foul over Marquez at midfield –he saw the first yellow eight minutes before for another challenge at midfield- It can be said that the decision of referee Paradas Romero was too rigorous as the foul wasn’t violent at all, but it’s also true that Alvarez shouldn’t have committed the fouls that cost him the yellow cards as both actions occurred in plays without any danger to Depor.

After the expulsion, and with Depor facing the last two minutes with only ten men on the pitch, Espanyol pushed up front trying to end half capitalizing the numeric advantage on the pitch, but the locals were still losing the paths into the area of Deportivo, and the defensive zone of Lotina was still solid.

SECOND HALF
Espanyol improved in the second part and it ended easily catching the three points after surpassing a ten-man team of Deportivo that once again offered a pale impression when it plays away from the Riazor. There were no scoring chances for Lotina’s side and only the saves of Aranzubia avoided a bigger defeat.

Iván Alonso entered for injured Luis Garcia at the start of the half and he was going to be decisive. But more important was the presence of José Callejón, whose improvement in the second part is the main explanation why Espanyol showed two faces in this game. The Granada-born man was a dagger on the right wing and did what he wanted against Paraguayan Morel.

The true is that the start of the second half was more entertaining and exciting than the whole first part. First, Verdú made a great play at the area, his first attempt was blocked by Morel and then Aranzubia made the final save (47’). In the next play Adrian made a great play on the right to end assisting Desmarets, who attempted from close-range, but his crossed shot was stopped by Kameni.

At minute 54, Aranzubia made another great save; it was a quick counterattack for the locals in which Verdú assisted Callejón on the right wing, then the striker released a perfect drilling cross that Iván Alonso met at the box; he was alone against the goal and Depor’s goalie cleared the danger with his right leg.

Within the first ten minutes Depor was looking more dangerous despite been playing with ten men. Lotina’s men were reaching the opposite area mainly through set pieces, but it was just a mirage as the most dangerous side in the rest of the second half was Espanyol. At minute 59, Baena made a great play inside the area, but his shot went over the crossbar.

Then it came the first goal of Espanyol; Verdú assisted David Garcia on the left and the side defended surpassed the mark of Desmarets to end releasing a high cross into the far post that Ivan Alonso headed into the back of the net after beating both Aythami and Morel with his jump at the box.

Lotina knew that his team was condemned to lose the game and decided to shake the attacking line, for this reason Lassad and Juan Dominguez entered for Desmarets and Michel. The entry of Dominguez gave more freshness to the Galician team, but the true is that it wasn’t enough to give any problem to Carlos Kameni, who was just another spectator at the stadium.

Actually, Espanyol had plenty of time to score a second goal. It was after Lopo committed a foul over Verdú at the right wing, then Callejón threw the free-kick making a short pass to the ex-Depor man, who entered into the area eluding Morel to end releasing a sensational shot that went into the far corner of Aranzubia.

The game was over now, because there was not reaction from Deportivo; actually Espanyol was closer to the third goal than the Galicians of finding the first for their side. At minute 86, Callejon threw a corner and Marquez ended the play attempting from the edge of the area; the ball hit a defender and then went out. Then Juan Dominguez and Juan Rodriguez had attempts to score within the last minutes, but the first one missed the target while the second attempt was saved by Kameni. In the end only two shots on target for Depor, poor stat for a team that lacks of everything when it plays away from home.

The end of the game was so placid for Espanyol that coach Pochettino even decided to give a chance to French winger Thievy G. Bifouma, a 18-year-old player from the Juvenil A squad that debuted at Primera taking the spot of Verdú. Pepe Sand also entered for the final ten minutes claiming the place of Adrian, but the Argentine attacker never touched the ball.

AFTER THE GAME
New disappointment of Deportivo playing away from the Riazor; the Galicians did nothing throughout the ninety minutes and only the lack of ideas from Espanyol during the first part kept the goalless draw at half-time mark. It can be argued that the expulsion of Pablo Álvarez could have influenced in the game, but neither Depor did too much before the event. The loss is also cutting the best streak of Depor on the season after spending five straight games without suffering a defeat.

At least Depor is keeping the same distance with the relegation zone (5 points), this after the defeat of Hércules at Real Madrid (0-2), and the home draw of UD Almeria against Atletico Madrid (2-2). On next Sunday the Galician team faces a direct confrontation in the quest for the permanence as it hosts UD Levante at the Riazor (17h00 CET).

MATCH STATISTICS
RCD Espanyol: (4-2-3-1) Kameni - Javi López, Galán, Forlín (Raul 59’), David Garcia - Javi Márquez, Baena- Luis García (Iván Alonso 46’), Verdú (Thievy 86’), Callejón - Álvaro
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Laure, Aythami, Lopo, Morel – Juan Rodríguez, Antonio Tomás – Pablo Álvarez, Michel (Juan Dominguez 68’), Desmarets (Lassad 68’) – Adrián (Sand 81’).
Goals: 1-0: (61’) Iván Alonso, 2-0: (81’) Verdú.
Referee: José Luis Parada Romero. He showed yellow card to Callejón (22’), Michel (27’), Verdú (35’) and Lopo (80’). Pablo Álvarez (43’) was sent off.
Venue: Cornella-El Prat (24,819)
Other statistics: Ball possession (66% - 34%); Attempts to score (8 – 5); Total shots (12 - 6); Shots on target (6 - 2); Saves by the keepers (2 - 4); Corner-kicks  (10 - 4); Offsides (1 - 3); Fouls committed (12 - 19); Accuracy in the passes (84.27% - 71.56%)

* RESULTS & STANDINGS

ARCHIVE NEWS MARCH/11

ZAPPING

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