Squad news

PREVIEW: LEVANTE – DEPORTIVO (COPA)

21 Dec 2011
Oltra will use the same starting eleven of the first-leg, which means the less habitual players in liga, while Levante is preparing a mixture between regular starters and substitutes.

STATISTICS: GOOD ANTECENDENTS
The 3-1result of the first-leg is giving a good advantage to Deportivo; the Valencians need a 2-0 win in order to advance and the true is that the antecedents are good for the Galicians. Before last week’s result, Deportivo has clinched an advantage of two or more goals in the first-leg of a Copa series in 32 opportunities, and in only two occasions the team was eliminated.

The first time was during the season 1935/36 as Depor was facing Sporting Gijón in the second round of the competition, the Galicians clinched a 5-1 win in the first-leg, but in the returning match the Asturians achieved a 4-0 result, score that forced a tiebreaker, and Depor lost that game 0-2.

And twenty-three years later, during the season 1958/59, Depor met Plus Ultra (now known as Real Madrid Castilla) during the third round of the Copa competition. The Galicians won the first-leg with a 2-0 score at the Riazor, the Madrilenians did the same in the second, so it was needed a tiebreaker, played in Valladolid, and Real Madrid’s youngsters won that game (2-1).

Another curious story occurred on the season 1984/85; Depor met Galician neighbor Pontevedra CF in the second round of the tournament, it clinched a 3-0 win at the Riazor, but wasted the advantage in the returning leg losing by the same score, and it was necessary to qualify through the sudden-death round. Meanwhile, Levante UD already returned from a 1-3 loss in Copa, it was on the season 1964/65 facing Barakaldo CF.

DEPORTIVO: SUBSTITUTES TO THE STAGE
Once again coach José Luis Oltra is relying in the players with lesser minutes in liga, the same ones that achieved the two-goal lead in the first-leg, starting with Saul Fernandez and Pablo Álvarez, duo that scored the goals against Levante UD at the Riazor and that later were discarded for the liga clash with UD Las Palmas.

The list also includes the presence of playmaker Juan Carlos, the only Fabril player picked for the meeting. Rodolfo Bodipo is also part of the trip to the Ciutat de Valencia; the Equatoguinean striker suffered a knock in the knee during the first-leg and was unavailable for the past weekend, but now he’s fit to play.

Practically, it’s the same list of picked players of the first-leg, with the only novelties that Ze Castro and Ayoze are replacing Colotto and Laure, though both of them will be on the bench. Guardado, Juan Dominguez, Álex Bergantiños and Bruno Gama are also rested, while Xisco and Claudio Morel are the two players staying at the injury room.

It’s expected that Oltra will present the same starting eleven of the first-leg, which means a total switch from the team that has played the last four liga meetings. German Lux returns to the goal, captain Manuel Pablo will perform at the left-back position, Diego Seoane will cover the right sector, while the two central defenders will be Aythami Artiles and David Rochela.

At midfield, Jesús Vázquez and Borja Fernandez will compose the duo of pivotes; Saul Fernandez, who scored a brace in the first-leg, will attack from the right flank, Diogo Salomão will do it from the left, while Pablo Álvarez will repeat his presence in the playmaker’s role. Finally, Riki will be the central attacker.

Saul Fernandez was saying that the whole team is targeting a victory in this game, ”We all want to win tomorrow though we must be cautious as the tie is in our favour. I am willing to compete, just like the rest of the team. We are assuming the game as a liga match, though understanding that this is a Copa series.”

The Asturian also commented the fact that he wasn’t picked for the past liga meeting at Las Palmas, ”When things are fine everybody support you, but I don’t think I am so good now as neither I was bad before. You just live good and bad moments, just like anybody else; I’m happy for the work done so far by the team, and now we must pass the round, because it’s important for the squad.”

Diego Colotto, who wasn’t picked for the match, was saying that Depor must avoid to allow a goal in this game, ”We have an important advantage; it would be important to not allow a first goal that can create doubts. Let’s hope we could see the same Deportivo of the past game, which was the team that took the initiative and that went ahead with the game. We want to pass the round, because the Copa allows us to have more minutes, and that’s good.”

List of picked players (18): Aranzubia, Lux (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Ze Castro, Rochela, Aythami, Seoane, Ayoze (defenders); Borja Fernández, Jesús Vázquez, Juan Carlos, Valerón, Saúl, Salomão, Pablo Álvarez (midfielders); Riki, Bodipo and Lassad (strikers)

LEVANTE: THE SECRESY AT THE CIUTAT DE VALENCIA
Valencian Levante UD didn’t pay too much attention to the first-leg played one week ago, and now it seems that they are taking very seriously the second match. The club started a web campaign trying to stimulate the fans to attend to the Ciutat de Valencia; besides coach Juan Ignacio Martínez is assuming secrecy about anything related to the clash.

As example the fact that he didn’t give a proper press conference before the match, he also trained on Tuesday behind closed doors and will do the same today; actually he won’t reveal the list of picked players until minutes before the game.

For these reasons is hard to predict the probable starting eleven for the match; the only thing for sure is that striker Rafa Jordá, left-back Iván López Mendoza and midfielder Valmiro Lopes ‘Valdo’ will miss the clash as they are dragging muscular problems.

The major part of journalists in Levante are convinced that Martinez is going to present a 4-4-2 lineup mixing starters with the substitutes saw at the Riazor on the week before, in this sense Costa Rican keeper Keylor Navas will probably stay at the goal, veteran captain Sergio Ballesteros returns in order to join Argentine Gustavo Cabral at the centre of the defense; Pedro López will cover the right-back position, while former Celta man Juanfran will be on the left.

Valencian Vicente Iborra will be one of the pivotes at midfield, the other will come out from the duo Xavi Torres-Miguel Pallardó. Moroccan Nabil El Zhar will attack form the right wing, Juan Luis Gómez ´Juanlu’, one of the top-scorers in liga with six goals added to his tally, will attack from the left flank, while the two attackers in the formation will be Rubén Suárez and Ivorian Arouna Koné, this couple combined has scored ten goals at liga BBVA.

Defender Victoriano Rivas Álvaro 'Nano' was invoking the spirit of the Ciutat de Valencia in order to pass the round, ”We will give everything in order to achieve the comeback; I’m convinced that we are going to give everything. For this we need people attending to the Ciutat de Valencia, so we all together can make the comeback against a solid team. I hope that the magic we have sawn at our field on this year will help us to achieve the comeback before Depor.”

List of picked players: Not released

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Levante: (4-4-2) Keylor Navas - Pedro López, Ballesteros, Cabral, Juanfran – El Zhar, Xavi Torres or Pallardó, Iborra, Juanlu - Rubén, Koné.
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Lux - Seoane, Rochela, Aythami, Manuel Pablo - Jesús Vázquez, Borja Fernández - Saúl, Pablo Álvarez, Salomão - Riki.
Referee: José Luis Paradas Romero
Kick-off: (21h00 CET) Ciudat de Valencia.
Head-to-head Vs Levante: 4 wins for Depor, 2 draws, 4 wins for Levante (Copa Del Rey)
Record in Levante: 0 wins for Depor, 1 draw, 4 wins for Levante (Copa Del Rey)

ARCHIVE NEWS DEC/11

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