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PREVIEW: GIMNASTIC – DEPORTIVO (LIGA)

23 May 2012
Second “match ball” for Depor; again the Galicians face a rival that plays for nothing and will try to add the three points after the recent upset at Xérez CD; the rival has a lot of problems and only 19 players at the first team.

STATISTICS: THE WORST HOME TEAM IN THE LEAGUE
If there’s a reason to explain why Gimnástic Tarragona is the last place at Liga Adelante 2011/12 is the performance at home, because the Catalans are the worst home team in the league, with only fifteen points added at the Nou Stadi, and with only three victories playing on this condition: 5-0 Vs. CE Sabadell (matchday 12), 1-0 Vs. Elche CF (matchday 21) and 2-0 CD Alcoyano (matchday 36).

Deportivo, meanwhile, despite the latest defeat at Xérez CD, remains as the fourth best visiting team in the league, adding 29 points after 19 visits; but there’s a curse chasing the Galicians on this season: to lose each time the Blanquiazul team visited the bottom teams. And it’s that Oltra’s Depor has lost in its visits to Girona CF (19th), CD Alcoyano (20th) and FC Cartagena (21st), and now is traveling to Tarragona in order to face Nástic (22nd).

Never in the history of Segunda División had the champion ended the regular season losing games against the bottom four clubs. The closest scenario occurred on the season 1970/71, when Betis lost once against Ontinyent CF (18th), Calvo Soterlo (19th) and CD Moscardó (20th), only adding a draw and a victory against UP Langreo (17th).

Historically Deportivo has always faced problems visiting Gimnástic; actually the Galicians have just added a draw and a victory after seven visits to the Catalans. The only victory of Depor visiting Nástic took place at the old field of Avienda de Cataluña; it was a 4-1 win for the Galicians with a hat-trick of Chao plus a goal of Carlitos

That victory took place at the last matchday of the Primera season 1948/49 and has always been suspicious, because it allowed Depor to clinch the permanence condemning CD Alcoyano to Segunda. At the time Nástic was already saved –ending 9th on the season- and that was the lonely away win for Depor on that particular season. It was rumoured that the Galicians “fixed” the result in order to stay at Primera.

DEPORTIVO: AWAY VERTIGO
Crucial game for Oltra’s Depor as a victory could pave the road to Primera División, but it’s also a confrontation against the most recent demon of the Galicians: to play away from home facing a rival at the bottom. And it’s that of the nine defeats suffered by Deportivo on the liga season four of them occurred before teams that are living close or inside the relegation zone.

First Depor lost visiting CD Alcoyano (1-2), a couple of weeks later Los Blanquiazules were defeated by FC Cartagena (1-2), then it came the losses at CE Sabadell and Girona FC (both 0-1). And the feeling of concern with Depor playing on the road was reaffirmed after the latest defeat at Xérez CD (2-3), a rival that was playing for nothing.

Now the Galicians visit the last place at the standings, a team that’s also the worst local in the league and that has just confirmed its relegation to Segunda B, but somehow the Deportivismo is feeling restless regarding the possible performance of the team. The joy after the win over UD Las Palmas turned into silence and concern, though a sense of optimism still surrounds the club.

Oltra is aware of the importance of the meeting and wants to keep the unity inside the changing room, for this reason he requested to travel to Catalonia will his full squad, including the injured players, this no matter that a victory won’t secure the promotion if both RC Celta and Real Valladolid win their matches, but surely a victory will mean a last moral boost. It’s the moment of truth and any failure could be deadly. the list of picked players includes the presence of Fabril's duo Marc Martinez and Juan Carlos.

There are only three casualties for the clash, the first is right-back Laureano Sanabria ‘Laure’, who is suspended with five yellow cards; the other two are the players at the injury room: Jesús Vázquez and Diogo Salomão. Left-back Claudio Morel (adductor) is fit to play, though it’s expected that he will be on the bench as the Paraguayan only completed one full training session with the group.

Therefore, there’s only one modification in the 4-2-3-1 draw of Oltra, It’s the entry of Manuel Pablo claiming the spot of suspended Laure. The Canarian was a starter in the first two matches in liga, but several injuries left him out of action and since then the veteran has only played as a substitute, now he returns to the starting formation in order to cover the right-back position.

Canarian Ayoze Diaz will continue performing at the left side of the defense, this since Morel isn’t at 100%. The central positions at defense will continue to be for Argentine Diego Colotto and Portuguese Ze Castro.

Álex Bergantiños and Juan Dominguez are the two pivotes in the formation; it should be a special game for Álex as he played loaned at Nástic during the final part of the past Segunda season. Juan Carlos Valerón is the playmaker in the scheme, Portuguese Bruno Gama attacks form the right flank, and Mexican Andrés Guardado does it from the left.

And interesting battle is occurring up front, Riki has been the Pichichi at the team during big part of the second round, but a new muscular problem sidelined him for a couple of weeks, and Lassad Nouioui seized the moment to claim the spot of top-scorer; the Tunisian has scored four goals within the last three games and is has taken his tally to fourteen goals on the liga tournament -seventeen including the Copa Del Rey-  Lassad should be the starter in the match.

Manuel Pablo talked before the game and said that he’s ready to play, ”You always want to play, but the true is that the team has been fine. I have trained hard in order to be available and to help the team. I’m feeling fine. I haven’t played a full game since December and the lack of pace is logic, but I´ve hope and am willing to play. I’m convinced and ready to play.”

Meanwhile, Lassad Nouioui said that, “Each game is very important, and especially tomorrow as the season is ending. It’s going to be an important game. I am fine in a personal sense, but sometimes is useless, just look to what happened in the last game as I scored twice, and it was useless as it didn’t help the team. The best medicine is to forget all that’s happening and show our best, playing the game with tranquility. The fans and the players know for what we are playing, so the key is to not lose our minds. It’s the moment to speak out on the pitch.”

List of available players: (24) Aranzubia, Lux, Marc Martinez (goalkeepers); Colotto, Ze Castro, Aythami, Rochela, Ayoze, Morel, Seoane, Manuel Pablo (defenders); Álex Bergantiños, Juan Domínguez, Valerón, Guardado, Bruno Gama, Borja, Saúl, Pablo Álvarez, Juan Carlos (midfielders); Riki, Xisco, Lassad and Bodipo (strikers).

NASTIC: THE NIGHTMARE RETURNS
After a promising start as a football club, which included three participations at Primera División during the 1940’s, Gimnástic de Tarragona was condemned to ostracism and spent twenty years between Segunda B and Tercera División. After a briefly return to Segunda A for the season 2001/02, the team spent two more years at Segunda B, and finally landed for good to Spanish Second division for the campaign 2004/05.

Thanks to the work of former coach Luis César the Catalan club found some stability and even lived a fourth season at Primera -2006/07- it seemed as a new peek in the history of this club funded in 1914, but the ghost of relegation pulled the team down again and, after eight years at the top two divisions, which included two straight seasons suffering until the final matchday, the team is now returning to Segunda B.

And it’s doing it miserly, the club is in bankruptcy, the players haven’t been paid since January –something denounced by Roberto Peragón in April- and the club even had to fire three players, this in order to save some money, which reduced the number of men at the first team to nineteen.  The players that were released are strikers Hugo Bargas, Berry Powel -this last one for disciplinary reasons too- and centre midfielder Arturo García, "Arzu". The club also attempted the dismissal of attacker Antoni Adrover, "Tuni", but in the end he’s staying until the end of the tournament.

The most painful exit was the one of Dutch striker Powel, who was –and still- the Pichichi at the team with nine goals in favour; after his exit the responsibility of the goals has been for Fernando Morán, midfielder that has scored eight goals on the season, including four within the last nine matchdays.

The last hit was the demand of former sporting director Josep Maria Nogués, who presented a complain for unpaid wages (€75,000); on Tuesday, it was informed that a judge has approved an order of attachment against club’s assets, i.e. the income for the ticket sales, which fired criticism inside the team as the players believe that they should be paid first.

Coach Jorge D´Alessandro was hired at the end of October with the hope of reaching the salvation, but the Argentine/Spanish man failed in the attempt. Since there are only nineteen players remaining at the first team the coach won’t make rotations and will present a similar team to the one that drew 2-2 at Real Murcia. He has also picked a player from the Juvenil A team , Juan Millán Rubio, a 18-year-old striker that debuted with the first team in March.

The formation is a 4-2-3-1 figure, with Asturian Rubén Pérez defending the goal; ex-Hércules Manuel Ruz playing at the right-back position, while former Elche Raul Fuster, who was linked with Depor in the past, covers the left side of the defense. The couple at the centre is composed by Majorcan Xisco Campos and ex-Betis Álex Ortiz.

Ex-Hércules Rodrigo Gimeno ‘Rodri’ and ex-Lugo man Fernando Seoane perform at midfield. Sevilla Álvaro Rey attacks from the right wing, on loan player from Zaragoza Antonio Longás is the playmaker, Fernando Morán attacks from the left and Tuni is the central attacker. The ex-Mallorca man has scored three times on the season, and two of those goals came within the last four matchdays.

Manuel Ruz talked before the game; he said that Nástic will go out for everything in the last three matches of the season, “It has been a complicate year, now we’ll try to face the last three games in the best possible way, always trying to win for the fans, because the next two games are pretty, games of Primera División against Depor and Celta, so we’ll try to do our best for the fans. We will try to end as high as possible, because there are rumours of other clubs that could go down due to financial problems or due to their unpaid debts, so the best is to add more points and end at the highest position.”

About the reason why the club is relegated, the ex-Hércules man said that, ”I won’t say it was bad luck, it was the sum of the circumstances, we had a lot of injuries and at the beginning of the season we only had a few players, for this reason throughout the year we only spent two weeks outside the relegation zone, and that was a heavy burden, but I believe we have made very good games lately, the error is that we haven’t won.”

List of picked players: (20) Rubén Pérez, David Valle (goalkeepers); Mingo, Álex Ortiz, Mairata, Fuster, Xisco Campos, Ruz (defenders); Rodri, Fernando Seoane, Álvaro Rey, Moran, Longás, Dani Ábalo, Galindo, Arzu (midfielders); Peragón, Juan Millan, Tuni and Orbegozo (strikers)

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Gimnástic: (4-2-3-1) Rubén Pérez - Ruz, Álex Ortiz, Xisco Campos, Fuster - Rodri, Seoane – Álvaro Rey, Longás, Morán - Tuni.
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Colotto, Ze Castro, Morel – Álex Bergantiños, Juan Domínguez – Bruno Gama, Valerón, Guardado – Lassad.
Referee: José Maria Sánchez Martínez  (20 games on the season, 8 wins for the visitor)
Kick-off: 22h00 CET (Nou Stadi)
Head-to-head Vs. Nástic: 6 wins for Depor, 2 draw, 7 wins for Nástic (Primera & Segunda)
Record in Tarragona: 1 win for Depor, 1 draw, 5 wins for Nástic (Primera & Segunda)

ARCHIVE NEWS MAY/11

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