Competition news


03 Apr 2011
Lotina recovers almost all of his men for the clash, just when he needs them the most. Meanwhile, Mallorca arrives to the Riazor relying on his successful mixture of promising youngsters and solid veterans.

The season of these two clubs has been totally opposite; Deportivo has suffered a lot thanks to its roller-coaster results, the Galicians were even the last place at some point on the liga campaign –matchday 06- and are currently battling to avoid the last three positions; this game is considered so crucial in La Coruña that a sense of tension can be perceived at the city.

Meanwhile, since matchday 05, RCD Mallorca has never been lower than the 11th spot at the standings, and at the same time the Majorcans only once were occupying a European seat on this season -6th, matchday 13-, for this reason Los Bermellones have lived a placid liga campaign, without too many hurries and never feeling the same pressure had in La Coruña.

Mallorca has been a balanced team on this season, it has a decent number of goals in favour, and its defensive line is the 7th best in la liga (38 goals allowed), but their main problem is when they play away from home as they have only won three times in this condition, but to have in mind that those victories were achieved in tough stadiums: 2-1 at Valencia (matchday 08), 2-1 at Sevilla (matchday 12) and 2-1 at RCD Espanyol (matchday 26).

As it was mentioned before, Depor is reaching the final nine games feeling that its world hangs at the end of the rope, for that reason they can’t fail anymore at the Riazor. The good thing for the Galicians is that RCD Mallorca has only won four times after 25 visits between Primera & Segunda División, the last time was the 0-3 of the season 2004/05 (matchday 37), same day in which Fran and Mauro Silva played their last game at the Riazor.

To mention that the club is trying to have a good attendance for the game, just like it happened against Levante, the socios could get two additional tickets for the price of five Euros. Also, the fans are planning a reunion before the kick-off; the intention is to cheer up the players when they arrive to the stadium. Also, Lotina is concentrating the players at Hotel Hesperia Finisterre, which is quite unusual with the Basque coach.

For the first time on the season coach Miguel Ángel Lotina is only having one casualty for an official game, an oasis in the middle of the desert as the Galicians have been wiped off with the continuous injury cases that have been smashing the team. And all of this is coming just when the team needs the best of his men: with only nine games remaining in the calendar and only two points above the Segunda División.

And it’s that Xisco (groin), Valerón (hamstring), Riki and Morel (both adductor) are all returning into the list of available players after been off for some weeks, in the end the only player at the injury room is winger Yves Desmarets (knee), without counting right winger Javito, who still without receiving his transfer.

For this reason Lotina had 24 players available during the whole week in order to prepare the game; on Saturday four of them were discarded for tactical reasons: Zé Castro, Juca, Saúl and Michel. The rest were picked for the game although the coach will have to reduce the list to eighteen men before the kick-off, one of them could be Riki as Lotina said on Saturday that he has doubts on his real fitness. Due to the long list of men at the first team, there are no Fabril’s players on the list for the match, this no matter that Depor B is resting on this weekend.

There’s a defined lineup for the game, though Lotina showed three doubts during Saturday’s training. It will continue to be a 4-2-3-1 scheme, with four changes compared to the team that lost against Levante. Dani Aranzubia will be at the goal; Laureano Sanabria ‘Laure’ will cover the right-back position, the central spots will be for Diego Colotto and Albert Lopo. The first doubt appears on the left, Claudio Morel is the favourite to claim the spot, though on Saturday veteran Manuel Pablo was also tested for the job.

At midfield, the novelty is the exit of Antonio Tomás, and now the two pivotes will be Rubén Pérez and Juan Rodriguez. Adrian, who is the only player at the team that has played in all the 29 liga matches played on the season, will appear on the right wing, this despite that on Saturday Lotina tested with Pablo Álvarez on that function.

Andrés Guardado arrived until Thursday after ben in international action, but Depor’s coach will put him on the left wing after scoring with Mexico. The playmaker’s role will probably be for Lassad Nouioui, though during the last training Valerón was also tested on that position. Finally, Xisco will be the starting striker. It is an offensive team, which includes three strikers on the formation.

Lassad said before the match that he is eager to score a goal, ”I would love to score on this weekend, but the important thing is to pick up the three points. My personal situation doesn’t matter, the important thing is to win, and later we will see what happens. This is a very important game for us. We must win at any cost, because we need the three points.”

Laure also believes that this meeting is crucial for Depor, ”At the changing room people say that this isn’t our best moment, and that we must fight hard for every game, because if not we could live a bad moment. The last game was also important and we didn’t achieve a good result. All the matches are vital in order to keep adding and reach the goal. Still, a defeat wouldn’t be definitive, because we still have a lot of games, but we must think that we are going to win.”

Colotto was talking of what Depor needs to prove on this game, ”We must clear the doubts with attitude and sacrifice, going out for everything. There’s a reality: We created doubts against Levante, but must also be positive and think that we have made better games. Tomorrow has to be one of those days and win. We are only two points above relegation, but there are other ten teams in the fight; if we win then we will pass two or three teams, and if we lose, then we will end more complicated.”

Finally, Ruben Pérez thinks that this is the moment of truth for Deportivo, ”I believe that this is the most important moment on the season. We still have to face nine finals. Truly we need the support of everybody at the team. We have heard that the fans will gather before the match, and those facts make us believe that we all are pulling in the same direction.”

List of picked players (20): Aranzubia, Manu (goalkeepers); Laure, Lopo, Colotto, Morel, Manuel Pablo, Aythami (defenders); Rubén Pérez, Juan Rodríguez, Andrés Guardado, Valerón, Antonio Tomás, Juan Dominguez, Pablo Álvarez (midfielders); Lassad, Adrián, Riki, Xisco and Pepe Sand (strikers).

Last season the Majorcans were caressing the Champions League, but the precarious financial situation of the team forced the UEFA to throw the club from any European competition, in the end former coach Gregorio Manzano and former players Aritz Aduriz, Mario Suarez, Borja Valero and Julio Álvarez left a broken club with a debt of €64 million and only with a budget of €35 million per season (only the 13th highest budget on the campaign).

Then Michael Laudrup arrived and did what any coach does at a club living a financial crisis: to search for bargains and to look at the young teams. It is a similar policy to the one of Depor, but the difference it’s that it has worked for the Majorcans. And it’s that the team hasn’t passed any problem in la liga and, actually, it has lived closer to the European positions than to relegation. Right now they only need four more points to mathematically clinch the permanence.

And all thanks to the combination of bargains and promising youngsters; during the past summer they signed Jonathan De Guzmán and Joao Victor for free, and both are now key pieces at midfield. Meanwhile, there are five players from Mallorca B that have debuted with the first team: defenders Pablo Cendrós, Marti Crespi and Kevin Garcia, plus midfielders Michael Pereira and Sergio Tejera.

All of them, with the exception of Crespi (4), have at least played eleven games on the liga season.  20-year old Sergio Tejera is even considered as a jewel that will worth a lot of money in the near future. Another player coming out from the B squad is Emilio Nsue, who last year played loaned at Real Sociedad. The Majorcan is a second striker that has been playing as a winger and already scored four times after 29 liga appearances.

To mention that striker Michael Pereira was on trial at Deportivo B (May of 2009), but at the time coach Tito Ramallo preferred the option of Lassad, then the French attacker went to Cartagena and subsequently ended at Mallorca B.

For the game against Depor, Laudrup is losing Jonathan De Guzman -the brother of Julian- as the Dutch/Canadian is suspended. Sergi Enrich is a last-minute casualty due to a muscular problem, while Japanese winger Akihiro Ienaga and defender Enrique Corrales were discarded for tactical reasons.

It is expected a 4-2-3-1 lineup; with former Depor Dudu Aouate at the goal; the sides will be for two young players promoted from Mallorca B: 24-year-old Pablo Cendrós will perform on the right and 21-year-old Kevin García will do it on the left, while experience is the common thing at the centre of the defense with Portuguese José Carlos Nunes and Iván Andrés Ramis.

At midfield, Brazilian João Victor and ex-Sevilla man José Luis Martí will cover the pivote functions; Emilio Nsue will attack from the right wing, Uruguayan Gonzalo Castro will do the same on the left flank, 20-year-old  Sergio Tejera will be the playmaker in the formation, and Pierre Achille Webo will be the central attacker, the Cameroonian is the Pichichi at the squad with six goals in la liga competition.

Galician defender Rubén González talked before the game, the former Celta player was explaining his expectations on the game, ”They will go out in order to win the game, but I hope that we could win the match. Winning this encounter, and with only other eight matches in the calendar, these three points will practically secure the permanence.”

Meanwhile, veteran Pierre Webó was thinking that it is a tough match for Mallorca, ”We are facing a complicate rival that will go out to bite us and trying to please the public, let’s hope we could clinch our second straight win. But they are a difficult rival that has an uncomfortable way to play.”

Finally, ex-Depor keeper Dudu Aouate  was talking of the meeting against his former club, ”We are coming after a break and after an important victory over Zaragoza. Deportivo needs the points and it will mean a very difficult game, but we must go out with a winning mentality in order to pick up the three points. It is a tough stadium, because the fans are pushing their team. There might be more difficult places, but right now is complicated due to their need. They need the points. We will watch a warrior Depor, a team that will not forgive anything.”

List of picked players (18): Aouate, Lux (goalkeepers); Pau Cendrós, Nunes, Ramis, Rubén, Martí Crespí, Kevin, Ayoze (defenders); Pereira, Tejera, Pina, Joao Victor, Martí, Gonzalo Castro (midfielders); Nsue, Webó and Víctor Casadesus (strikers)

Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Laure, Colotto, Lopo, Morel – Juan Rodriguez, Rubén Pérez – Adrian, Lassad, Guardado – Xisco.
RCD Mallorca: (4-2-3-1) Aouate - Cendrós, Nunes, Ramis, Kevin -Martí, Joao Víctor - Nsue, Tejera, Gonzalo Castro - Webó
Referee: José Antonio Teixeira Vitienes (14 games on the season, 7 wins for the local team)
Kick-off: 17h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs Mallorca: 15 wins for Depor, 19 draws, 17 wins for Mallorca (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 10 wins for Depor, 11 draws, 4 wins for Mallorca (Primera & Segunda)



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