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REVIEW: GIMNASTIC 1 – DEPORTIVO 2 (LIGA)

24 May 2012
Happy ending for a plane Deportivo that suffered a lot against the last place at the standings; the Galicians still missing fluidity and this time punch, and it was until the final minute that the victory was secured; still, three points that could afford the promotion.

BEFORE THE GAME
Oltra decided to play with Claudio Morel performing at the left-back position; the Paraguayan was off for the past two weeks and was returning to the starting formation despite he just completed one training session before the clash. Another return was Manuel Pablo; the Canarian was replacing Laure as the Madrilenian was suspended.

Aranzubia was at the goal, Manuel Pablo covered the right-back position, Morel was at the left, while the central defenders were Colotto and Ze Castro. The pivotes at midfield  were Álex Bergantiños and Juan Dominguez, the right wing was for Bruno Gama, the left side of the attack was for Andrés Guardado, Valerón was the playmaker and Lassad the central attacker.

At Gimnástic Tarragona, coach Jorge D´Alessandro was presenting a few novelties in his 4-2-3-1 scheme, the main one was the presence of on loan player from Celta, Dani Ábalo, playing at the right wing, the other references up front were Antoni Adrover, "Tuni", Antonio Longás and Luis Morán , this last player was a real dagger for Depor’s defense.

FIRST HALF
An apathetic Deportivo played one of its worse games on the season, just at the moment when the team couldn’t fail. The Galicians barely disturbed the last place at the standings, and was even lucky to reach the half-time mark with a 1-1 in the scoresheet.

It was a calmed start; Depor was pushing up front and was trying to have the ball possession, but it found out a rival that was well placed on the pitch, though neither the Catalans were creating much damage. The first chance for Depor came at minute 7, Guardado attempted a shot from the edge of the area, the ball hit a rival and went into the path of Lassad, but his crossed attempt went wide.

The first approximation of Gimnástic was a counterattack in which Fuster found the ball at the edge of the area, but he sent the ball over the crossbar. And then it come the shocker, because the locals scored the first goal in the game.

It was another big error of the whole defensive line, because Dani Ábalo released a drilling cross from the right wing, an attempt that should have been cleared by the defense, but somehow neither Morel nor Alex nor Colotto cleared the danger, and central defender Xisco Campos came from behind in order to push the ball in from the six-yard-box.

Everything seemed a repetition from the last game at Xérez, but this time there was no immediate reaction from Deportivo; Oltra’s team was still having the ball possession, but it was plane up front; there were no quick passes and neither depth on the wing, reason why the locals were having a placid game at the back zone, so it wasn’t strange to see Depor missing to complete a shot on target within the first twenty-five minutes.

Depor’s first shot on target came at minute 29, it was an attempt of Valerón from the edge of the area that hit a rival and that was an easy catch for local keeper Rubén Pérez. Depor was frozen, just like the environment at the almost empty Nou Stadi.

And a key minute was the 31’ because the locals were close to score the second as Moran headed the ball on target after a cross of Fuster, action that was saved by Aranzubia. And from a 0-2 situation the game passed into the 1-1 scenario, because Deportivo scored the equalizer after the first combinative play for the visiting team.

Guardado and Valerón combined at the edge of the area, and the ball was passed to Bruno Gama, who fired a strong and crossed shot from the right corner of the area that was impossible for Rubén. It’s the seventh goal in liga for the Portuguese winger.

Depor’s goal just made the game more open, and the actions were pretty similar to what was saw at Xérez, because Nástic was feeling pretty comfortable on the counterattacks, mainly with Luis Moran damaging the left sector of the defense. To make things more complicated Ze Castro had to be replaced due to an injury, and the solution of Oltra was Borja Fernandez, the reason was to give a better output of the ball to the team.

But Depor never got those fresh ideas, though it had a couple of opportunities to claim the lead, but the fact was that Nastic also enjoyed of some clear opportunities, like the double chance for Fuster (41’) or the attempt of Ábalo (44’), all those chances cleared by Aranzubia

SECOND HALF
The final part started with the news that Valerón had to be replaced due to a thigh injury, he played injured the last ten minutes of the first part; his replacement was Riki. the modification kept the 4-2-3-1- figure, pulling Lassad to the playmaking function leaving the Madrilenian alone up front.

But the game followed the same path of the first half; Depor was having the ball possession, but it was a too passive and predictable, reason why Nástic was still feeling comfortable locked at the back zone, though the Catalans just released counterattacks from time to time.

Riki was close to score at minute 61, but his header missed the target; but bigger was the chance missed by Guardado two minutes later, the Mexican found a loose ball inside the area after a solo-play of Bruno Gama, but the winger incredibly missed the target when he was alone at the six-yard box.

The next attempt was for Borja Fernandez as he fired from outside the area, and he also missed the target. The so praised punch of Depor was now gone, just when the Galicians needed the most its main strength in this last part of the liga season.

Morel was the next one that attempted to score, this time surprising everyone as he threw a direct free-kick for Deportivo, but his shot searching for the top left-corner was cleared by Ruben (70’). It was evident that the visitors were growing in the game, while Nastic was looking tired. The next chance missed was for Riki, the Madrilenian found the ball at the edge of the area, but he missed the target too (73’)

The visitors were now locked at the back, but still were looking dangerous during its few counterattacks, as example the penetration by the left that ended with Moran firing on target, but Aranzubia stopped the attempt (70’).

Oltra was desperate and ordered the third modification: Xisco entered for Álex Bergantiños; the move switched the draw into a 3-4-3, because Borja joined Juan Dominguez at midfield and once again there was the trident Xisco-Lassad-Riki up front.

But Deportivo was a team without ideas; it was willing to score, but simply it was having big problems to create scoring opportunities against a rival that was fading way, and that rival, the last place at the standings, almost ended winning the match, because substitute Álvaro Rey missed a double chance that should have meant the winning goal, in the first Aranzubia made the save, and in the second he sent the ball over the crossbar just with the keeper already beaten (84’).

The desperation was evident among the Depor’s fans at the stadium, the result of Celta (4-1 win over Xérez) was forcing the Galicians to win the last two games; the players that traveled with the team, but that were ruled out of the clash were pretty nervous at the stands, while Oltra was constantly giving orders and looked pretty nervous too.

And just when the game seemed destined to the draw, it came the action of a goal that could mean the promotion. Manuel Pablo stole the ball and assisted Bruno Gama, the Portuguese winger threw a high cross that was headed by Borja at the edge of the area, the ball went into the opposite side, just into the path of Guardado, who drilled it into the far post, Xisco was there and just had to push the ball in. Easy goal, it was what Depor missed throughout the night and it just came at the last minute. 

The goal raised the euphoria among the fans at the stadium, Riki and Xisco were crying and were booked for taking their shirt off. Even Oltra was jumping like crazy after the goal. There was even a little fight among both teams when the referee whistled the end.

  AFTER THE GAME
Truly it was one of the worse games of Depor on the season; the players seemed mentally blocked and never found the way to break the deadlock of a willful but at the same time naïve Gimnástic, and the victory arrived until the final minute of the stoppage time, a play that was a mixture of the skills missed throughout the clash and the tiredness of the rival; still a goal that could mean a promotion.

Depor remain as the leader at Liga Adelante, having a four-point gap over RC Celta, side that defeated Xérez CD (4-1). The Galicians could certify the return to Primera on Thursday if Real Valladolid loses at home against RC Recreativo, if not it will have the chance to secure the ticket on Sunday as SD Huesca visit the Riazor in the last home game of the season (20h00 CET).

MATCH STATISTICS
Gimnástic: (4-4-2) Rubén Pérez - Ruz, Mairata, Xisco Campos, Fuster (Mingo 46’) - Rodri, Fernando Seoane – Dani Ábalo (Álvaro Rey 71’), Longás – Morán – Tuni (Roberto Peragon 51’)
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Colotto, Ze Castro (Borja 37’), Morel – Álex Bergantiños (Xisco 78’), Juan Domínguez – Bruno Gama, Valerón (Riki 46’), Guardado – Lassad.
Referee: José Maria Sánchez Martínez . He showed yellow card to Fuster (24’), Rodri (32’), Morel (59’), and Fernando Seoane (69’), Borja (76’), Xisco (90+4’), Riki (90+4’), Ruben Pérez (90+4’) and Moran (90+4’).
Goals: 1-0: (12’) Xisco Campos, 1-1: (30’) Bruno Gama, 1-2: (90+4’) Xisco
Venue: Nou Stadi (2,600)
Other statistics: Ball possession (42% - 58%); Attempts to score (8 – 10); Total shots (14 - 27); Shots on target (7 - 6); Saves by the keepers (4 - 6); Corner-kicks  (10 - 1); Offsides (2 - 3); Fouls committed (15 - 8); Accuracy in the passes (73.33% - 81.06%)

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