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A MIRACLE OF 25 YEARS

23 May 2013
25 years ago a last-minute goal of Vicente Celeiro gave the permanence at Segunda División to Deportivo; it’s one of the keystones for the ascending career that the club was going to live in the following two decades.

Any club has key dates marked in the calendar as crucial moments in their history, titles, big achievements, turning points in their history. There are a few at Deportivo La Coruña, and one of them was May 22, 1988. Those were dark days for Depor, the club was dragging a debt of 600 million of pesetas (€3.61 million) and was playing at Segunda after an exile of fourteen years from Primera. So, it was extremely important to keep the spot in the league in order to avoid the disappearance of the club.

The season had been terrible, the team was coached by Luis Rodríguez Vaz, who was later replaced by legendary Arsenio Iglesias. It was matchday 38 and the Galician outfit was only able to clinch seven victories in the previous 37 games. For the final game the team was penultimate and needed a real miracle to escape the relegation to Segunda B. Los Blanquiazules needed to defeat Racing Santander playing at the Riazor.

At the same time it was needed a defeat of Bilbao Athletic (Athletic B) and to see Hércules CF not getting the three points, in the end the Basques lost 0-2 visiting Xérez CD and Hércules CF were defeated at home by CD Castellón (1-2), strangely the game of Depor began with a delay of fifteen minutes, besides José Ramón suffered an injury early in the game and there were eight minutes of added time in the first half, so by the time the rivals had ended their matches, at the Riazor there were twenty minutes left and Depor knew that it only needed a victory to clinch the permanence.

But that victory wasn’t coming, Deportivo tried, but there was no way to beat visiting goalie Alba. The game was going into the stoppage time and the team was going down to Segunda B and would probably have meant the disappearance of the club, but there was a ray of light at minute 92, Jesús Hidalgo released a low cross that Vicente Celeiro, one of the symbols of Depor at the time, collected at the box and he managed to cross the goalkeeper. The miracle was made.

In 2011, Vicente talked to newspaper La Opinión A Coruña and remembered the goal, “I collected the pass from Hidalgo when I was at the edge of the area, at one side of Tribuna, then managed as I could to release the shot and it passed under the keeper’s body. I went mad, I ran into the public in order to celebrate it with the kids.”

“The impotence was so big that we beg to Alba to allow us to score a goal. But he was a professional, off course, and didn’t respond to us, instead he was stopping everything. I remember that during the celebration I embraced Arsenio and a journalist when we were at the changing room, and there’s a very emotive photo in which it’s possible to see us, though our faces are covered.” He added.

That ‘miracle’ certified the permanence at Segunda División, a few months later Augusto César Lendoiro was named president of the club, beginning the most successful stage of Deportivo, but it all was possible thanks to this incredible combination of results and the last-second goal of Vicente.

Unfortunately Vicente never managed to play with Depor at the top-flight; after that match he played one more season at the club and later left to RC Celta in order to play at Primera, two years later he retired from the game. Still, the Vilaba-born striker left a mark at the club being one of the historic scorers with 66 goals in 267 appearances throughout eight seasons at Segunda.



The moment of the miracle; Celeiro scores for Depor at the last second. Photo from Deporte Campeón

Vicente celebrating at the stands. Photo from LaVoz de Galicia

Vicente in 2000 during a friendly game
VICENTE'S GOAL (YOUTUBE)

MATCH STATISTICS
Date: Sunday, May 22, 1988
Deportivo: Jorge, Modesto, Ramón (Hidalgo 64’), Portela, Blesa, Cayetano, Vicente, José Ramón (Fontana 13’), Gil, Azpiazu, Donowa. Coach: Arsenio Iglesias
Racing: Alba, Mauri, Cantud, Villita, Óscar, Orenda (Javi 33’), Juan Carlos, Aítor, Víctor, Mire, Gabi. Coach: Delfín Álvarez.
Goal: 1-0: (90+2´) Vicente
Referee: Sus Barluenga
Venue: Riazor (12,000)

ARCHIVE NEWS MAY/13

ZAPPING


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