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REVIEW: DEPORTIVO 3 – LEVANTE 1 (COPA)

14 Dec 2011
Convincing presentation of Depor’s substitutes before a flat Levante; the Galicians achieved a two-goal advantage that could be crucial ahead of next week’s final leg.

BEFORE THE GAME
As it was expected, Oltra changed the entire starting eleven for Copa Del Rey; Pablo Álvarez was performing as the playmaker in the scheme, while Juan Carlos was on the bench. Lux was the starting goalie; Manuel Pablo played at the left-back position, Seoane was on the right, while Rochela and Aythami were the central defenders.

Borja Fernandez was debuting as a starter and the Galician was playing alongside Jesús Vázquez at the centre of the pitch, Saul Fernandez was attacking from the right wing, Salomăo did it from the left, Pablo Álvarez was the improvised playmaker and Riki the central attacker.

At Levante, coach Juan Ignacio Martínez also presented a lineup full of substitutes; it was the expected team, with the novelty that youngster Roger was sat on the bench, while veteran Juanlu was attacking by the right wing. Carlos Aranda and Rubén Suárez were the other two references in attack.

Only 11,000 fans were at the stands, but the true is that it was the second biggest attendance of the day in Copa Del Rey, only surpassed by the 13,000 fans at Anoeta for the clash between Real Sociedad and Granada. There was a high expectation on the presence of referee Estrada Fernandez at the Riazor; the same one of last season’s polemic match between Sporting and Depor. Anyway the game was clean enough to avoid problems and the referee was only whistled at the beginning and the end of the clash.

FIRST HALF
Pretty good first part for Depor as the Galicians found two goals and the needed spaces to take a comfortable lead; the true is that Levante was a soft team that neither defended nor attacked; actually they ended the first part without completing a shot on target.

Levante was trying to have the ball possession since the start; it was pressing in attack, though it didn’t create any danger against German Lux, just a free-kick in which Rubén Suárez missed the target (5’). Neither Depor created anything before the opposite goal, at least within the first ten minutes; the Galicians were playing through long throws, but without any luck.

At minute 7, an error at defense left Aranda alone against Lux, but his crossed shot went wide. Depor was missing a proper connection between its attackers, within the first fifteen minutes the locals only approached to the opposite goal through set-pieces.

And suddenly Depor found the first goal; Riki made a great play on the right wing eluding five rivals to enter into the area to release a short and drilling pass that Pablo Álvarez found at the six-yard-box, and the Shark just connected the ball to sent it to the roof of the net. It was just the first approximation of Depor in the match.

Then the game became entertaining, at minute 17 the visitors were close to score after El Zhar beat Manuel Pablo to release a shot that passed close to the post, in the next play Salomăo appeared for the first time on the left wing to drill a cross that found Pablo Alvarez inside the area, but his attempt went wide. The Shark was pretty active in the game and at minute 21 he had a new chance with a shot from the edge of the area, but the ball went wide.

With the pass of the minutes Depor was feeling more comfortable as Salomăo was finding the cracks at the left wing, while Pablo Álvarez was pretty active at the centre. Levante was also arriving with ease, but it never gave problems to Lux. At minute 34, Jesús Vázquez attempted from the edge of the area, but his drilling attempt went wide.

And then it came the second goal of Depor, and it was a gift of Levante’s defense as they allowed Saul to face visiting goalie Keylor Navas and the Asturian scored with a crossed and drilling shot. Riki was even close to score the third before the pause after an assist of Seoane, but his shot from the edge of the area was stopped by Costa Rican Navas.

SECOND HALF
Things didn’t change too much in the second part; Depor was having the initiative although there weren’t too many scoring opportunities; things were more interesting at the finals stretch, and Deportivo was able to keep the two-goal advantage.

At minute 50, Saul threw a free-kick after a foul over Pablo Álvarez, Rochela found the ball inside the area, but his attempt was blocked by a rival. Depor was having the ball possession and it gave a bigger sense of danger through Pablo Álvarez and Salomăo, while the visitors never reached the area of Lux, at least until the final fifteen minutes.

The true is that the game was the easiest for Depor on the season; the substitutes felt pretty comfortable on the pitch, though without enjoying of too many clear opportunities. But the main fact was that Levante was a null team at the Riazor, plane and without ideas in attack, reason why Lux was just a spectator.

In this sense Oltra started to give minutes to more players and Fabril’s Juan Carlos and Rodolfo Bodipo entered for Pablo Álvarez and Riki. Levante started to put more attackers on the pitch and Kone entered for midfielder Pallardó, while Valdo entered for Juanlu, but the visitors weren’t creating any danger.

But Depor, with starters or substitutes, still committing mistakes at defense and a single distraction gave a valuable goal to Levante. A quick attack of the visitors allowed Valdo to beat the offside trap and drill a pass to Carlos Aranda, who scored the goal with a crossed shot pass Lux. It was an unfair result as Depor at least deserved a two-goal lead, and Saul was going to put things at their place with a sensation goal.

It was a solo-play in which the Asturian winger collected a pass from Jesús Vázquez at the edge of the area, then he beat all the defensive line, plus keeper Keylor Navas, with a chipping attempt that went into the far post.

Seven minutes before the final whistle central defender Héctor Rodas was sent off with two yellow cards after a foul over Jesús Vázquez. Despite been with ten men, Levante sought for another goal, and Rubén Suárez was close to score it, but his shot from close range was stopped by Lux. The final modification at Depor was the entry of Laure for Saul, a change only made to protect the result.

AFTER THE GAME
Placid game of Depor against a disappointing Levante that didn’t demonstrate why is living inside the Champions League zone at Primera; Oltra’s substitutes felt pretty comfortable on the pitch and clinched a comfortable two-goal lead ahead of the second-leg. Salomăo proved that he can perfectly be a starter at Deportivo, but the most incisive players were Pablo Álvarez and Saúl; two daggers throughout the night.

The second-leg will be played on next Wednesday at the Ciutat de Valencia (21h00 CET), but before that clash the Galician will close the year in liga with the visit to UD Las Palmas (Sunday, 12h00 CET, Estadio de Gran Canaria).

MATCH STATISTICS
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Lux – Manuel Pablo, Rochela, Aythami, Seoane – Jesús Vázquez, Borja – Saúl (Laure 87’), Pablo Álvarez (Juan Carlos 62’), Salomăo – Riki (Bodipo 70’).
Levante: (4-2-3-1) Keylor Navas - Pedro López, Rodas, Cabral, Iván López - Iborra, Pallardó (Koné 63’), -Juanlu (Valdo 46’), Rubén Suŕrez, El Zhar (Xavi Torres 80’) - Aranda.
Goals: 1-0: (13’) Pablo Álvarez, 2-0: (37’) Saul, 2-1: (77’) Aranda, 3-1: (79’) Saul
Referee: Javier Estrada Fernández. He showed yellow card to Jesús Vázquez (90+2’). Héctor Rodas was sent off (83’).
Venue: Riazor (11,000)
Other statistics: Ball possession (50% - 50%); Attempts to score (6 – 3); Total shots (11 - 11); Shots on target (5 - 3); Saves by the keepers (2 - 2); Corner-kicks  (3 - 6); Offsides (5 - 2); Fouls committed (21 - 13); Accuracy in the passes (81.03% - 78.83%)

ARCHIVE NEWS DEC/11

ZAPPING

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