Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Deportivo Coruna, and their defender Evaldo, centre, with midfielder Abel Aguilar, right, are struggling in the Primera Liga. MIGUEL RIOPA / AFP
Deportivo Coruna, and their defender Evaldo, centre, with midfielder Abel Aguilar, right, are struggling in the Primera Liga. MIGUEL RIOPA / AFP

Glory days in the distance for Deportivo

Once a giant in Spanish football they are struggling at the bottom of the Primera Liga, writes Andy Mitten.

Expectations have long been checked in La Coruna, the port city of 250,000 on Spain's north-west Atlantic coast.

Relegation for local heroes Deportivo in 2011 brought a grim reality for a team who had won the league 11 years earlier.

With their playing budget cut annually by their long-time president Augusto Cesar Lendoiro because he wanted to make the club more sustainable, the drop was also inevitable for a team who had been Uefa Champions League regulars five years in a row between 2000 and 2005.

Relegation briefly galvanised the club. Helped by a winning team, attendances surged. Deportivo were not beating Barcelona or Real Madrid - and they had long lost their "Supe" moniker - but they beat rivals Celta Vigo to the title and promotion.

When they beat Osasuna in the opening top-flight game this season, the optimism seemed tangible. It did not linger.

By the time Deportivo registered a second win, it was November and they were in the relegation zone. They still have not managed an away win and the club who once won the Spanish Cup final against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu were hammered 5-1 at Atletico Madrid and 6-0 at Real.

With his side bottom in December, Jose Luis Oltra lost his job as the coach, too good for the second level and not good enough for the first. The former Porto player Domingos Paciencia replaced him and enjoyed a victorious 1-0 debut over Malaga, their first win for two months.

Benefiting from the January transfer window, he has since signed the right-back Silvio on loan from Atletico and his former teammate and tough tackling midfielder Paulo Asuncao, 32, on a free transfer from Sao Paulo. They played together at Atletico.

Asuncao made reference to the former Brazil internationals Mauro Silva and Djalminha when he signed, prompting some weariness. Deportivo can no longer attract stars of their calibre.

Deportivo aim for survival. They are 19th, with 15 points from 18 games and the league's worst defence.

Just four points separate the bottom six, although teams regularly increase the rate at which they pick up points as the severity of their position dawns.

Real Zaragoza had two wins this time last year and managed to stay up.

Domingos has exceeded expectations before, taking tiny Braga to the 2011 Europa League final. That led him to the Sporting job in Lisbon, from which he was dismissed after 33 games.

He has six players on loan from the Portuguese league across the border. And he knows how to get the best from limited resources.

sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Barcelona’s Lionel Messi plays with a rugby ball during a training session at Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper training camp, near Barcelona in Sant Joan Despi, April 15, 2014. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino

In pictures: Barca play a little rugby before Copa del Rey final

Barcelona and Real Madrid will play in the Copa del Rey final on Wednesday night but the day before the match, Braca players played a little rugby during a training session at Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper training camp, in Sant Joan Despi, Spain. Barca meet Real Madrid on Wednesday at 11.30pm (UAE time) and the match will be on BeIn Sports.

 Supporters of China during the Asian Cup Qualifier match between Iraq vs China at Sharjah football stadium in Sharjah. Iraq won the match by 3-1. Pawan Singh / The National

Asian Cup expanding to 24 football teams in 2019

As part of a regional shake-up, the 2019 Asian Cup will climb to 24 teams but next month’s Challenge Cup in the Maldives will be the last, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced.

 Faisal Al Ketbi, standing, has been the poster boy for the upcoming Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Courtesy of Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship

Faisal Al Ketbi is in spotlight for world jiu-jitsu championships at Abu Dhabi

Faisal Al Ketbi is the poster boy for UAE jiu-jitsu, with his picture prominent in the billboards and advertisements for this week’s Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

 Abdelaziz Haikal, left, avoids getting tackled, but his Al Ahli side were forced to a goalless draw at home to Al Hilal, from Saudi Arabia. Al Ittihad

Al Ahli miss huge opportunity to progress in ACL

Dubai side forced to a goalless draw at home to Al Hilal. Ahmed Rizvi reports.

 Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, left, gestures from his car after winning the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang circuit near Kuala Lumpur on March 30, 2014. He will be among the favourites at the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday. AFP PHOTO / Ed Jones

F1: Mercedes look to capitalise on woes at Red Bull and Ferrari

Ferrari were left reeling after team principal Stefano Domenicali quit and Red Bull were handed a setback when they lost their appeal for Daniel Ricciardo as both incidents have heightened the mood at Mercedes ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix.

 Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa could be wearing a blue kit next season at Chelsea in the English Premier League. REUTERS/Susana Vera

Atletico’s Diego Simeone cannot stop Diego Costa move to Chelsea

Diego Costa has been the standout player for Atletico Madrid with his 26 goals, which has attracted the attention of several leading European clubs and Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea are reportedly at the front of the queue.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National