Competition news


17 Apr 2011
Crucial meeting in the quest for the permanence; Depor is lacking goal, but it is the Primera team that makes more profits from its goals. Racing arrives more worried of its financial problems and also lacking power in attack.

Racing Santander has never been an easy team for Deportivo each time that it visits the Riazor, because the Cantabrians have won eight of the twenty-one Primera matches played between both clubs in La Coruña. This mark is only below the ones of big clubs Valencia FC (15 in 41 games), Barcelona FC (14 in 41 games), Real Madrid FC (11 in 41 games) and Atletico Madrid FC (9 in 37 games). Actually, the Riazor is the stadium where Racing has conquered more away wins during its 43 years at Primera.

But the current away record of Racing hasn’t been so solid; the Cantabrian team has lost nine of the sixteen matches played away from El Sardinero, and they have only won three meetings played in this condition: 1-0 at RCD Mallorca (matchday 15), 1-0 at Getafe FC (matchday 24) and 2-1 at RCD Espanyol (matchday 30).

Neither Depor is having a solid record playing at the Riazor, because the Galicians have only added 24 of the 45 points disputed at home during this liga season  (the 53.33% of the total), which only means the  14th best record among the 20 clubs at Primera División, though it’s also true that Depor has only lost three matches at the Riazor: 0-2 Vs. UD Almeria (matchday 05), 0-4 Vs. Barcelona (matchday 18) and 0-1 Vs. UD Levante (matchday 29).

The club is doing everything in order to have a nice attending on Sunday; first it has announced that the match is the annual Day of the Peñas, which means €5 tickets for all the Peñas’ members. Secondly, the club also proclaimed that the match is the ‘Day of the Province’, for this reason the club invited 50 kids and two parents of each one of the 94 provinces in La Coruña –all of them without paying the ticket- plus selling tickets at €10for senior people living in these 94 provinces. Thirdly, the club is offering three extra tickets to each socio at the price of €5. By Saturday the club had sold 4,500 extra-tickets thanks to these promotions.

Lotina’s Depor is the team that has scored the lesser number of goals on this liga season (25), but it’s also truth that the Galicians are the side that has obtained the bigger number of points taking into account the number of goals in favour; because Depor has added 35 points on the liga campaign, which means a ratio of 1.4 points per goal (35/25). It is the highest ratio in la liga, followed closely by the 1.31 of Sporting Gijón (29 goals and 38 points).

And it’s that Depor has at least scored once only in 14 of the 31 matches played until this point of the season, and in 12 of those 14 opportunities the Galicians ended adding at least one point. The only games in which Depor scored at least one goal but returned home empty handed were in the defeats at Real Madrid (1-6) and Getafe (1-4), curiously two of the three biggest defeats on the liga campaign. A key factor to understand this behavior is the number of goalless draws on the season: 7.

This means that despite Depor has ended scoreless in 17 matches on the season (55% of the total), the solid defense has allowed to at least pick up one point in seven opportunities. Still, the lack of goals continues to be a main worry inside Depor’s locked room, the strikers at the team have only scored thirteen goals and it continues to be the main weakness of the team: Adrian (5), Lassad (4), Riki (3) and Xisco (1).

To make matter worse, Riki got injured during the week and now he will be out for at least three weeks. Currently he is the only player at the injury room, though Lotina is also missing Laure and Juan Rodriguez, duo that’s suspended for the meeting, plus Javito, winger that’s ineligible to play as his transfer remains blocked.

As it happened in recent weeks Lotina left Ze Castro, Juca, Michel, Saul and Desmarets out of the game, the quintet isn’t counting for the coach in this last part of the liga campaign. The man returning from this list of “discards” is Jose Sand, the Argentine will be a substitute. The only player from Deportivo B that was picked for the game is Diego Seoane, who will be the reserve side defender on the bench.

In the end the Basque coach will keep playing with a 4-2-3-1 formation; Aranzubia will be at the goal, Manuel Pablo returns to the right-back position, while Claudio Morel will play on the left. The central defenders will be Colotto and Lopo. Antonio Tomás and Rubén Pérez will perform at midfield.

In attack, Adrian returns into the starting formation after been on the bench for the past two games; the Asturian is the Pichichi at the team with five goals in favour and will perform on the right wing. Andrés Guardado will play on the left flank. Lassad will perform on the playmaking function, although Lotina gave some options to Valerón.

Finally Xisco will be the central attacker. The Majorcan has left a good impression as starter in his last two games, scoring once against Mallorca and then having the best chance in the match against Malaga. Xisco will try to recall his performance in the 3-1 win of Depor at El Sardinero (Apr 5, 2008), game in which he became famous scoring twice and wearing a bandage on his head.

Xisco, who also played for Racing in the past, was explaining the rival that they are expecting to meet at the Riazor, ”Racing will come here to win the game; I doubt they will be locked at the back zone. They won’t come to just watch things coming, but we can’t give anything for free. We must strike first to avoid complications. The team needs the points, more than them, but both teams will end saved.”

Captain Manuel Pablo was talking of the importance of the meeting, ”The draw with Malaga was goof, but it also depends of what we can do at home against a Racing that’s always a tough team for us. We know that winning would be important, but neither is definitive; still, we think it´s a game that will bring tranquility if we are able to achieve the three points.”

Rubén Pérez was saying that, “It is a fundamental match, because on the past week we achieved a point in Malaga, and the best way to seize that point is to clinch the three points on Sunday.”. He also talked of the financial problems lived by Racing within the last days, ”We haven’t had problems with the wages until now; I understand that they are facing this situation at Racing, but they are professionals and know how to stay out of troubles. Surely, they will come in order to win the match and not thinking of cashing the money.”

Finally, Guardado was talking of the confrontation against his compatriot Giovani Dos Santos, ”I appreciate him and he is an excellent player. He is doing the right things at Racing, but let’s hope that on Sundays things won’t work for him. We are good friends, but never reveal our secrets.”

List of picked players (18): Aranzubia, Manu (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Colotto, Morel, Seoane, Aythami (defenders); Rubén Pérez, Antonio Tomás, Pablo Álvarez, Valerón, Juan Domínguez, Andrés Guardado (midfielders); Lassad, Adrián, Xisco and Pepe Sand (strikers).

If last week Depor was facing Malaga and his billionaire owner, now the Galician side is facing what could be described as the most eccentric project since the years of Dmitry Piterman at the same Racing Santander and Deportivo Alavés (2004-2007); because since January of the present year the new owner of the Cantabrian club is Indian Ahsan Ali Syed, who is better known for his celebrations at the stands and his financial scandals across Europe and Asia.

At the beginning of the year he surprised everyone after buying the 80% of the club’s shares for fifteen million Euros; at the time he claimed to be one of the richest persons in the world with a fortune valued in £8,000 million, however his name has never appeared in the lists of rich people build up by magazines like Forbes. Since he signed the deal to buy the Cantabrian club on the last day of the winter market he wasn’t unable to close any big signing, just the loan of Mexican rising star Giovanni Dos Santos.

He promised to make a big project for the coming season and to spend €50 million in the team, but now there are big doubts about his real financial capacity; during February and March the media in Australia and England has been accusing him of been involved in big scams, while it was also known that at the end of 2010 Premier League club Blackburn Rover rejected a buying offer coming from Ali as The Riversiders had big doubts on his financial numbers.

To make things more strange during the past week it was also denounced by coach Marcelino that eleven players at the first team hadn’t been paid according to the plan offered by Ali, and it’s that the unpaid wages were the main reason why the club was sold in January. Those eleven players are still waiting to cash €1.5 million that correspond to last season, while it was also denounced that the club’s office employees weren’t paid in March. Ali promised to pay on the past week, but until Saturday the money hasn’t been deposited into their bank accounts. Racing also has until the end of the month in order to pay €1.8 to the national treasury.

And that has been the week in Santander: a lot of taking about money, but nothing about football. It is a dangerous distraction as the Cantabrians still need five more points to mathematically clinch the permanence. For the game against Depor, coach Marcelino Toral is losing striker Kennedy Bakircioglü (Achilles) and long-term casualty Óscar Serrano (knee ligaments), while Alexandros Tziolis (tibia), Manuel Arana (ankle sprain) and Francis (knee) are already recovered from their knocks, but weren’t picked for the meeting.

Not big changes are expected at the lineup; it will be the usual 4-4-2 formation, with two novelties: the exit of injured Kennedy and Giovani Dos Santos, the Mexican surpassed a hip problem and was able to enter into the list, but won’t be a starter in this match. He has left a positive impression and already scored three goals since joining the team in February.

Antonio Rodríguez ‘Toño’ will be the keeper; ex-Depor man Pablo Pinillos will cover the right-back position, ex-Almeria Domingo Cisma will perform on the left and the two men at the centre of the defense will be ex-Espanyol Marc Torrejón and on loan player from Barcelona FC Henrique Adriano.

French Madhi Lacen and veteran Gonzalo Colsa will be the two pivotes; ex-Depor Pedro Munitis will attack from the left wing, while Adrian Gonzalez, the son of Getafe’s coach Michel, is going to play on the right. He is a left winger, but will cover the spot since Giovani and
Kennedy are both out.

In attack, Iván Bolado will be joined by Argentine Ariel Gerardo Nahuelpan, this last player is a 23-year-old striker that was signed during the summer and that already scored three goals on this liga season. In the other hand, Bolado has only scored once.  Swedish Markus Nils Rosenberg was picked for the game, but isn’t totally fit to play, reason why he will be sat on the bench. The ex- Werder Bremen man is the current Pichichi at the team with six goals added to his tally.

Gonzalo Colsa, one of the eleven players still waiting for his unpaid wages, was talking of what Racing has lived on this week, ”We have had a little bit of everything on this week. And I believe that we did the right things, because we talked since the beginning of the week and cut everything at the end, right now we must think of football and that’s it. There’s no other thing than Deportivo, and then Malaga and Mallorca until securing the permanence. It is our goal, our hope and our main obligation.”

List of picked players (18): Toño, Coltorti (goalkeepers); Pinillos, Álvaro, Henrique, Torrejón, Cisma, Cristian (defenders); Julián Luque, Colsa, Lacen, Diop, Adrián Gonzalez, Dos Santos, Munitis (midfielders); Bolado, Ariel and Rosenberg (strikers).

Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Colotto, Lopo, Morel – Antonio Tomás, Rubén Pérez – Adrián, Lassad, Guardado – Xisco.
Racing: (4-4-2) Toño - Pinillos, Torrejón, Henrique, Cisma – Adrian González, Colsa, Lacen, Munitis – Ariel, Bolado
Referee: Alfonso Álvarez Izquierdo (17 games on the season, 12 wins for the local team) 
Kick-off: 17h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs. Racing: 33 wins for Depor, 15 draws, 23 wins for Racing (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 18 wins for Depor, 5 draws, 12 wins for Racing (Primera & Segunda)



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