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 La Liga Preview: Deportivo La Coruña – Real Madrid

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mizo madrid

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PostSubject: La Liga Preview: Deportivo La Coruña – Real Madrid   Sun Aug 31, 2008 4:25 am

What: La Liga, Matchday 1
Who: Deportivo La Coruña vs Real Madrid
When: Sunday, 31st August 2008, 2100 CET
Where: Estadio Municipal de Riazor, A Coruña
Referee: César Muñiz Fernández (Asturia)
galleria zoom Real Madrid will begin the defence of their league title at Deportivo La Coruña, in a stadium that they have not won at for the last 17 years. Not the most ideal of road trips for the men in white but they will happily get this unsavoury meeting out of the way now rather than have it linger until the middle or the end of the season.

Depor’s Riazor Dominance

Deportivo made a horrendous start to the last term, stunned 0-3 at home by La Liga debutants, Almería. They struggled to recover from that early shock and it wasn’t until a remarkable turnaround from February onwards that they were able to escape the relegation zone. The Galicians main objective would be to make sure they do not suffer the same fate this time around.

But taking on defending league champions, Real Madrid on the first day of the new term is hardly the best way to go about it. Unless, ofcourse, your name happens to be Deportivo and you have a stadium in La Coruña.

The Blanquiazules have become famous – or infamous, depending on which side of the fence you’re sitting on – for their unbeaten home streak against the capital heavyweights. Such is their dominance over the merengues at the Riazor that they are exactly the kind of opponents the Galicians would want to kick-off their season against.

The home advantage in itself is a massive psychological edge for SuperDepor. But they will also have another ace up their sleeves.

Unlike Madrid, Depor have already fine-tuned their physical state and their tactical game with a number of competitive outings, four in total, in the UEFA Cup qualifiers. Not only that, they will have an immense morale boost after the brilliant 0-2 win at Hajduk Split on Thursday sent them into the competition proper.

It has indeed been an impressive turnaround by Miguel Angel Lotina’s men, considering that six months ago, they were about to start planning for life in the Segunda División.

Try, Try Again

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That will be Real Madrid’s motto as they head into this clash, although they have been trying for close to two decades.

The 31-time La Liga champions have not won at the Riazor since 1991, the same season when Depor returned to the top flight. The 17 year winless run is Madrid’s second worse away record in their history, behind only the 20 year jinx at the Camp Nou between 1983 and 2003.

Each year, the blancos travel up north to the less than welcoming region of Galicia, optimistic of ending that long-running curse. And this visit will be no different.

Madrid will have a psychological upper hand of their own going into this encounter. They are on a high and on a goal rush after putting four past Valencia last Sunday in the Supercopa in one of their most biblical and memorable comeback victories. To follow that up, Los Merengues thumped in another five against Sporting Lisbon three days later in the Trofeo Bernabéu in what was a real footballing exhibition for their fans.

The encouraging sign in all that is that they are showing no indication that their botched summer transfer plans are affecting their play on the pitch. Less assuring, however, is that those two games were at home.

During the pre-season, they have not looked as sharp upfront or at the back on their travels. That will be a massive concern because their atrocious away form at the Riazor extend to more than just a winless streak. In their last seven visits, they have only managed to pocket one single point and worse still, scored just one single goal.

Bernd Schuster’s men will have to reproduce every single ounce of the fighting spirit and winning mentality that they should against Valencia last Sunday if they are to prevent the jinx expanding to 18 years.

FORM GUIDE

Deportivo La Coruña

Aug 28 Hajduk Split 0-2 Deportivo (UEFA CUP)

Aug 19 Deportivo 2-1 Atlético Madrid (TERESA HERRERA)

Aug 17 Deportivo 1-1 Cruz Azul (TERESA HERRERA)

Aug 14 Deportivo 0-0 Hajduk Split (UEFA CUP)

Aug 06 Táchira 4-2 Deportivo (FIRENDLY)

Real Madrid

Aug 27 Real Madrid 5-3 Sporting Lisbon (TROFEO BERNABÉU)

Aug 24 Real Madrid 4-2 Valencia (SUPERCOPA)

Aug 17 Valencia 3-2 Real Madrid (SUPERCOPA)

Aug 12 Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 Real Madrid (FRIENDLY)

Aug 17 Santa Fé 1-2 Real Madrid (FRIENDLY)

TEAM NEWS

Deportivo La Coruña

Lotina’s main dilemma is in the rearguard. Having lost Fabricio Coloccini to Newcastle United, the coach will also have three key defenders missing through injury. Rightback Manuel Pablo will be out for up to eight weeks after going under a knife to remove a cyst in his right toe, while his usual replacement, Antonio Barragán is sidelined until December. Centreback Pablo Amo, on the other hand, is nursing an Achilles injury.

There are also some attacking woes for the coach. Left winger Ángel Lafita is still recovering from the appendicitis that he underwent three weeks ago and striker Xisco is also doubtful as he struggles to shrug off a hamstring strain. Swedish winger Christian Wilhelmsson has since left for Saudi club, Al-Hilal.

Aouate, Munúa, Taborda, Bodipo and Jairo are all still at the club even though they were told they have no future at the Riazor and they will continue to remain in exile despite the squad’s multiple absences.

Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Aranzubia – Laure, Zé Castro, Lopo, Filipe – Sergio (c), De Guzmán – Juan Rodriguez, Valerón, Guardado – Riki

Real Madrid

Wesley Sneijder will be out until the end of the year after tearing his cruciate knee ligament against Arsenal in the Emirates Cup in pre-season. Fabio Cannavaro has made a full recovery from his pre-Euro 08 ankle injury and he could be given his first start of the new campaign. Michel Salgado, however, is still struggling with a muscle niggle.

Rafael van der Vaart will be suspended after his straight red card in the Supercopa, but Ruud van Nistelrooy will be eligible as he was only dismissed in the same game through a double booking. Gonzalo Higuaín looks set to start on the right after impressing in the midweek Trofeo Bernabéu win, while Javier Saviola will provide the attacking back-up after shrugging off a minor muscle pull.

Robinho appears certain to remain in Madrid after the collapse of his much publicized Chelsea move, but still in an unsettled state, he looks unlikely to start.

Probable Starting XI (4-3-3): Casillas – Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Cannavaro, Heinze – Higuaín, Gago, Guti – Robben, Raúl (c), van Nistelrooy



PLAYERS TO WATCH

Deportivo La Coruña

Andrés Guardado will be the key attacking figure in this Depor squad. The Mexican is certain to set up a fascinating duel with Sergio Ramos and if the Madrid rightback abandons his post for even a second, Guardado will not hesitate to exploit the opening down his left flank. Veteran playmaker Juan Carlos Valerón is still far away from his physical and creative best but it’s these big games that these big players live for and as the most senior member of the team, his experience will be crucial.

Real Madrid

Arjen Robben has been in sizzling form in the past three games and he will have to carry that form into the start of the league season as he looks to single-handedly make up the absences of Robinho, Sneijder and van der Vaart. Gonzalo Higuaín, man of the match in the Trofeo Bernabéu, has also found some irresistible scoring appetite. The Argentine has not been given too many opportunities to start under Schuster but with the team looking deprived of attacking options on the right, Pipita have his chance to shine.

PREDICTION

It is near impossible to predict the result of the opening match based solely on pre-season performances. History and head-to-head record certainly point to a home win but this being the first match of a brand new season, Real Madrid are hoping that Depor will be more inclined to come out and attack for the win since there’s no dire need to defend in numbers and grind out a result.

Los Merengues will also look to make the most of Depor’s new and makeshift defence and that might just be the lucky break the visitors have been looking for all these years.

Deportivo La Coruña 1-2 Real Madrid.

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PostSubject: Re: La Liga Preview: Deportivo La Coruña – Real Madrid   Sun Aug 31, 2008 4:27 am

a very hard match for realmadrid always riazor is a hard studiam for realmadrid to win there 17 years in a row without win there i hope realmadrid win there this time.

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PostSubject: Re: La Liga Preview: Deportivo La Coruña – Real Madrid   Mon Sep 01, 2008 6:26 pm

and the nightmare continues , again Real fail 2 win at the Riazor.
the 2 Deportivo goals were identical , dunno where have been the defence , in the presence of players like Pepe , Ramos n Diarra n yet Depor scored 2wice in the area from headers.

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