|First Division - Day 17|
Valladolid 3 - Deportivo La Coruña 1
Torres Gómez, García Calvo, Heinze, Marcos; Jesús;
Caminero, Eusebio, Fernando, Antonio López; Alberto (Pachón 65').
Team changes: Valladolid: Fernando for Fernando Sales / Depor: Helder, Fernando for Donato, Fran.
Deportivo La Coruña's away form let them down again as they crashed to defeat in the last fifteen minutes of this game. Last season they almost threw away the league title, incredibly only winning once away from the Riazor stadium in the second half of the season but still doing enough at home to end up champions. This season they started well, picking up eleven points from their first seven home games, but they are starting to falter and have now lost three in a row, including Wednesday night's cup tie where they fell to Tenerife again late in the game. True the Copa del Rey is a low priority for the Gallician side, and Irureta made ten changes for that match giving an outing to players who have not played much this season, such as Ramis and Duscher. However he returned to his first choice line up for this game, and with Donato sanctioned and César Sampaio, Fran, Turu Flores and Diego Tristán all injured, Helder came in to the back four and Fernando returned in left midfield, with Djalminha shaking off a cold to take his place in attack.
Valladolid too were knocked out of the cup by a second division side, Extremadura, and their manager Pancho Ferraro was once again under pressure to get a result here with matches against Barça and Real Madrid to come next. His side is woefully short of a reliable goalscorer, and he brought back Fernando, the young midfielder on loan from Real Madrid, to play behind lone striker Alberto. But it was another young player, Pachón, a 23 year old striker who was signed this year together with Antonio López from second division Leganés, who was to make his mark in this game, coming on as substitute with 25 minutes to go to score two goals to give his side victory. Pachón linked up with Valladolid's most experienced player Eusebio, 36 years young and getting younger every day, to take the home side into a two goal lead in a three minute period in the second half, with Eusebio battling to win the ball in the area for the youngster to open the scoring, and Pachón returning the favour for Eusebio to beat Molina with a powerful shot. Pandiani came on to get his second goal in four days and his seventh of the season, not bad for a third choice striker, but Pachón added his second near the end after linking up with his ex teammate Antonio López.
Up to the first goal it looked as if Deportivo would hold on even though Valladolid had done most of the attacking, with another of the home side's veteran players Caminero hitting the post and Helder scrambling the ball off the line from Fernando. The long cup match midweek seemed to be taking it's toll until the arrival of Pachón changed their luck, and the three points lifts them up the table to fifteenth. The result maintains their unbeaten home record, one of only three sides this season to do so after this weekend's results together with Deportivo themselves and Valencia. It also keeps up their good form against the league champions, who have now only won once in nineteen games at Zorilla. Deportivo hold on to third place, although they lose ground on leaders Valencia and Real Madrid who move four points clear, with Barcelona now snapping at their heels only a point behind. With a difficult home game against Valencia followed by two away matches in a row at Málaga and Bilbao, Deportivo need to get back their confidence if they are not to lose sight of the top spots. They do not want to appear in the history books as one-off wonders.