Real Zaragoza - The story of J. Baldó - 2018-2019 September

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  • JoshDFC
    2047 posts Fans' Favourite
    What a turn around in fortunes keep going you can win the title :)
  • KubaTown
    696 posts An Exciting Prospect
    ale85bg wrote: »
    subpop wrote: »
    I'm surrounded... any zaragozista around?

    :cold_sweat: :wink:
    I used to play with Zaragoza in FIFA 12 if it counts... :joy:

    Great results lately... Shame about the draw against Huesca, but you're still second! And there's still time to catch Levante! ;)

    There's something really great about the Granotas! Everybody cares so much.

    Que grande es ser pequeño! <3
  • Greenman019
    2745 posts Fans' Favourite
    Wow. Such a great turn around recently. Even a decent gap now to 3rd. Going to be a fun end to the season I think.
  • subpop
    3364 posts National Call-Up
    JoshDFC wrote: »
    What a turn around in fortunes keep going you can win the title :)

    I just read this... and this is what I thought until today... news soon.
    KubaTown wrote: »
    ale85bg wrote: »
    subpop wrote: »
    I'm surrounded... any zaragozista around?

    :cold_sweat: :wink:
    I used to play with Zaragoza in FIFA 12 if it counts... :joy:

    Great results lately... Shame about the draw against Huesca, but you're still second! And there's still time to catch Levante! ;)

    There's something really great about the Granotas! Everybody cares so much.

    Que grande es ser pequeño! <3

    Definitely!!
    Wow. Such a great turn around recently. Even a decent gap now to 3rd. Going to be a fun end to the season I think.

    Too fun... knowing what came next... ouch
  • subpop
    3364 posts National Call-Up
    edited February 2017
    APRIL

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  • subpop
    3364 posts National Call-Up
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    Black April. If one month ago, Zaragoza seemed to be the team to beat, now there’s panic in the offices and the locker room of La Romareda. What happened? How the whole season got almost ruined in one month?

    1) Relax. The season of Zaragoza has been a rollercoaster. Until November, the team struggled to get good results and agonized in the mid zone of the standings far from any promotion options. But from December, the team became the most regular team of LaLiga 1|2|3. The improvement was so amazing that Zaragoza seemed the main favorite for promotion and even the title. They had reached the goal of reaching automatic promotion spots in only 3 months and probably they got surprised by their own success. They felt comfortable and self-assured of their own football and they forgot to battle every single game as if it was the last… and they’ve been punished for it.

    2) Physical condition. The amazing comeback had a price. The initial IX did not rotate much during these months. Baldó put his faith in a group of players and it definitely worked for weeks. But the team looks tired lately and rotations appeared in the most important part of the season, with accumulation of matches, and the team suffered the consequences. In April, the good defensive performances disappeared and the attacking power got reduced to the minimum expression.

    3) Internal wars. Zaragoza is not a peaceful club. The doubts on the continuity of Baldó ended up having consequences in the locker room. The Board didn’t back the coach publically in the entire season. On the other hand, the crew of Lapetra has been leaking rumors about the differences between Board and manager. The club, once more, is a victim of itself.

    Three matches to go. Real Zaragoza is 5 points far from automatic promotion (6, since the head-to-head results with Tenerife are lost) and only 3 points over the position that assures a play-off spot. Automatic promotion seems unreachable at this point. It requires 3 victories for Zaragoza and an unlikely disaster for Valladolid and Tenerife. The play-off seem a safe option at this point, but the team definitely need to change the current trend as soon as possible. Dramatic end of season for Zaragoza… can we expect a happy end? We’ll see.
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  • Danimal5981
    2242 posts Fans' Favourite
    What's done is done, you're still on a play-off spot; focus on the positive!
  • Greenman019
    2745 posts Fans' Favourite
    edited February 2017
    Just need 2 more wins than Tenerife. We still believe :o

    Got 3 points over 7th as well. Playoffs should be secure.
    Post edited by Greenman019 on
  • ale85bg
    3558 posts National Call-Up
    edited February 2017
    Oh dear, what a dire month... :(
    Hopefully you won't suffer too much from this awful month... You're still in a layoff spot and you can still do it! Don't give up!

    Also, Levante are back where they belong! B)
  • KubaTown
    696 posts An Exciting Prospect
    Anything is possible - hoping for an awesome last few games!
  • subpop
    3364 posts National Call-Up
    What's done is done, you're still on a play-off spot; focus on the positive!


    Definitely, this is the best way to face future... in life!
    Just need 2 more wins than Tenerife. We still believe :o

    Got 3 points over 7th as well. Playoffs should be secure.

    Yes... "just"... :D

    And also Rayo to drop points and given that I beat Valladolid in the match against them.

    :s
    ale85bg wrote: »
    Oh dear, what a dire month... :(
    Hopefully you won't suffer too much from this awful month... You're still in a layoff spot and you can still do it! Don't give up!

    Also, Levante are back where they belong! B)

    Yep.... Levante definitely are the best team. Even in the first round, when I tied with them, they gave me a lesson.
    KubaTown wrote: »
    Anything is possible - hoping for an awesome last few games!

    Me too... there's still a chance. If not, toss a coin in the play offs. :o
  • subpop
    3364 posts National Call-Up
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  • Danimal5981
    2242 posts Fans' Favourite
    simple: that upcoming game against Valladolid is key. If Tenerife would drop points, it's a bonus; but defeating Valladolid guarantees your play-off spot and leaves promotion still up for grabs.
  • JoshDFC
    2047 posts Fans' Favourite
    edited February 2017
    Promotion is the aim still despite a great turn a round automatic is looking unlikely but finishing higher in the league will give you the advantage keep fighting
  • ale85bg
    3558 posts National Call-Up
    Yeah, I agree with Danimal5981: the mathch against Valladolid looks a lot like a "make it or break it" one... We're all rooting for you to make it! :)
  • subpop
    3364 posts National Call-Up
    simple: that upcoming game against Valladolid is key. If Tenerife would drop points, it's a bonus; but defeating Valladolid guarantees your play-off spot and leaves promotion still up for grabs.
    ale85bg wrote: »
    Yeah, I agree with Danimal5981: the mathch against Valladolid looks a lot like a "make it or break it" one... We're all rooting for you to make it! :)
    JoshDFC wrote: »
    Promotion is the aim still despite a great turn a round automatic is looking unlikely but finishing higher in the league will give you the advantage keep fighting

    You are right. Automatic promotion is very unlikely at this point.... but the minimum chance only work with a victory on Valladolid, who I remember as a tough team to defeat.

    Then obviously I need to secure playoff spots which is uncertain yet.

    The playoff is... a kind of lottery. Well... if we have to play it, be it!



  • KubaTown
    696 posts An Exciting Prospect
    subpop wrote: »

    The playoff is... a kind of lottery. Well... if we have to play it, be it!

    Definitely agree with that!

    So much more pressure, against teams that can always surprise you - it's an unpredictable situation!
  • Greenman019
    2745 posts Fans' Favourite
    Gonna be good ^^
  • Wyojasond
    11571 posts Has That Special Something
    Playoffs are always fun to follow. So many things that can happen
  • Virtual_K
    1704 posts Play-Off Hero
    A playoff does look like it will happen provided Zaragoza doesn't have a letdown in their last three matches. But don't focus on that; forget I brought it up. :# Go team!
  • subpop
    3364 posts National Call-Up
    MAY

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  • subpop
    3364 posts National Call-Up
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    Laughter, tears, happiness, sadness,… passion. This is what makes football special. And this is what we lived in the last 3 games of the season.

    Joy in Valencia and Tenerife: Levante closed their fantastic season with the Liga 1|2|3 title. Levante were the best team, the most regular, the most effective and efficient, their superiority had no rival and they were able to promote to Primera División only one year after their relegation and 4 weeks before the end of the season. Tenerife were the surprise of the season, they were not among the main favorites, they even spent most of the season out of playoff spots… but their magnificent run in the last couple of months was enough to grab automatic promotion 2 weeks before the end of the season. Tenerife is back in Primera after their relegation 7 years ago in a black period that includes 2 seasons in Segunda División B.

    Bittersweet feelings in Zaragoza, Vallecas, Valladolid and Girona. After a long 42-game season, they’ll face the playoffs now. Only one will end up achieving the final goal: promotion.

    Zaragoza’s season have been a rollercoaster. After a very irregular start of the season, “Los Maños” were able to make a chain of good results to enjoy several weeks in automatic promotion spots, but Winter got long and April was a disaster which ruined the season. The late reaction was not enough this time.

    Rayo Vallecano and Valladolid had a similar season, with ups and downs, living most of the time in playoff spots, especially in the case of Rayo, but these teams never enjoyed the required regularity to get automatic promotion. Both clubs, two classics in Primera División, will also need to shoot their last bullets in the feared playoffs.

    The fourth contender is Girona. The Catalan squad had a decreasing path during the year. Girona have spent most of the year in automatic promotion spots or fighting for them. But in the last weeks, they even risked their position in the playoffs, which were only safe when they defeated Reus Deportiu in a Catalan derby that looked like a final. Now Girona have a couple of weeks to prepare the playoffs: will we see the version of the first half of the season or the one in the second half?

    And, finally, tears. Hot and cold tears. The humble Catalan club Reus Deportiu and Mirandes have been the surprise of the season. Pundits didn’t predict their great season. As they were wandering in the mid zone of the standings during all year, their good defense finally took them to fight to enter in the playoffs. Despite they were not able to reach the playoffs, their season was good and allow them to dream in a better future.

    On the other hand, there is a bunch of teams that will want to forget this season soon. After lots of years in Primera División, Getafe CF faced the season as one of the main favorites for promotion, but ended up as an epic failure, roaming in the mid-low zone of the standings. Other clubs which have recently played in Primera División or the playoffs, like Córdoba or Almería, failed to convince again. Cordoba will not play the playoffs this season, as they did 3 out of the last 5 times. Probably, the most shocking performance of the season is Nàstic’s. Last year, the Catalans reached the playoffs, but this season could only creep in the bottom zone of the standings.
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  • subpop
    3364 posts National Call-Up
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    PREVIEW

    Zaragoza and Girona will repeat the clash of 2 years ago in what it was the most memorable playoff in recent history. Let’s analyze the different factors around the matches to come:

    - History

    Back then, Girona crushed Zaragoza in La Romareda with an outstanding 0-3, which ended up not being definitive, because Zaragoza raised from the ashes to overcome the terrible initial result with an epic 1-4 in Catalan ground. Despite this exploit, Zaragoza’s dreams of Primera División disappeared in Las Palmas.
    If we look at recent years, Girona would appear as a favorite. The Catalans play their fourth play-off in the last 5 years. In 2 occasions, they reached the final, but always with the same outcome: failure. Last year, promotion was denied by Osasuna in the final. This year, they face a new chance to achieve the so-long wished promotion.
    In the case of Zaragoza, it’s the second time that “Los Maños” will fight for promotion in the playoffs. Two years ago, Zaragoza precisely defeated Girona to play the final against UD Las Palmas, only losing due to away goals after a 2-0 defeat in the Canary Islands after the 3-1 in La Romareda. Real Zaragoza, a classic Primera División club with European trophies in their museum, face a new opportunity.

    - Precedents this season

    If we look at this season, the precedents show there’s no clear favorite. In the first round of the league, in La Romareda, Girona were the best team, but their defensive attitude ended up being their own punishment. The Catalans were twice in advantage during the game, being superior while the match was balanced, but also punished by their defensive attitude while they were leading the scoreboard. In a bad day, Zaragoza had the feeling they were able to grab a point.

    In Montilivi, last January, the match was equally intense in midfield, but the scoreboard didn’t move from the initial 0-0. Opposed to the game in Zaragoza, this time the defensive lines triumphed over the attacking ones. Under the rain, the match was well fought in the mid-zone of the pitch and tactics triumphed over fantasy.
    If we look at these two games, it’s difficult to bet for a clear favorite. Both matches were intense and balanced, so we can imagine a very tight playoff, where errors, away goals or other minimum factors can weight in the final outcome.

    - Recent form

    Zaragoza, despite the last two victories, come from a long terrible run of results that ruined their previous comeback to promotion spots. Now the unknown factor to clear up is if April’s crisis finished with the last two games. During all season, “Los Maños” have shown two different faces in different stages of the season. The irregularity is what took them to the playoff, but the format of the competition does not allow any kind of error.
    On the other hand, Girona had a great start of the season to end up suffering to grab the last playoff spot. The Catalans have spent most of the season in a comfortable position on top or near the top, but in the last weeks, the results were weak and they fell to the 6th position. Only a decisive victory in a derby against Reus Deportiu could assure the playoff spots… a victory which didn’t erase their recently irregular image.
    Considering all factors, it is not easy to predict who are the favorites to advance to the final. Both teams do not show up in their best moment, the pundits are clear: 50-50. The matches will be intense, tight and nothing will be solved until the final whistle. 180 minutes of epic and tense football ahead.


    Press conference with Joan Baldó


    Q: How do Zaragoza face the match at Montilivi (Girona)?


    JB: I am confident before the game. I look at my players’ eyes and I see concentration and good attitude. We suffered a lot recently and, despite we were unable to reach direct promotion, the last three games showed that the crisis of results have already passed. We had time to rest and rotate in the last couple of games, something that we needed after the long season, we’ve lived. I feel we are prepared.

    Q: How do you imagine the game? Which is the plan?

    The game will be played in 180 minutes and we have to be intelligent in that sense. Given the precedents this season, we know we face a strong rival, a solid defense, intense football, dangerous in attack… it won’t be easy. We know each other very well, so we have to find the way to surprise them. In any case, the plan is to be ourselves, the plan is to be closer to our best version. Definitely, if we want to advance, we need our best version.

    Q: Pundits and now you say that the playoff against Girona will be tight. Can you be more precise about the plan? Do you want an attacking Zaragoza or a moderate version of it?

    JB: You’ll see the team on the pitch… but I can tell you one thing: if we do not score in Girona, we will suffer a lot. As I said, I think that the playoff will be decided in Zaragoza, not tomorrow. I don’t expect a match with lots of goals. This is why I believe away goals can be a decisive factor. So we will definitely look for a goal in Montilivi, but sometimes the best way to score them is through patience. As always, we’ll try to have ball possession. But it’s impossible to plan a football game, so I believe in the intelligence of our players to read the game in every moment.

    Q: A question about your first XI. Juan Muñoz, your top scorer, does not enjoy his best moment of the season. In the last couple of games, Dongou Tsafack and Sergio Buenacasa have shown up in the lineups too, and even Angel. Who will be the starter in Girona?

    Of course I made a decision, but I will communicate the decision to the players before the game as is usual, so you can imagine I won’t give you the answer here. In any case, I have full confidence in all of them. Juan Muñoz is our top scorer this season. I know you, the journalists, have put the focus on him, but he works very well and he’ll score again soon. Dongou and Angel also responded when it was required, from the initial lineup or from the bench. I’m very satisfied with their work. Sergio Buenacasa is very young yet, but he showed his talent against Nàstic. It was his first match of the season and he scored a hat-trick… if he didn’t play anymore. He sent a message to me… probably I should have counted on him much more. He had one chance and he made instant impact. Here you have to blame me for not counting on him much more. In one way or another, I have full confidence in the whole squad.
  • subpop
    3364 posts National Call-Up
    KubaTown wrote: »
    subpop wrote: »

    The playoff is... a kind of lottery. Well... if we have to play it, be it!

    Definitely agree with that!

    So much more pressure, against teams that can always surprise you - it's an unpredictable situation!

    Here we go... it's Girona.

    Tough match, they have a good defense, they usually play with 5 in the back. I don't like to face them.

    We'll see.
    Playoffs are always fun to follow. So many things that can happen

    Fun to follow... yes. Even fun to play... and great if you win. But I didn't want to see me here. :D
    Virtual_K wrote: »
    A playoff does look like it will happen provided Zaragoza doesn't have a letdown in their last three matches. But don't focus on that; forget I brought it up. :# Go team!

    We were able to get up... and even rest a bit in the last match, playing with teenagers and subs.... and they came up with a 4-0!

    Go!

  • Danimal5981
    2242 posts Fans' Favourite
    This is a tough cookie..., but you have momentum on your side, it should get you through successfully.
  • subpop
    3364 posts National Call-Up
    This is a tough cookie..., but you have momentum on your side, it should get you through successfully.

    In the last 3 games, the team improved.

    I remember the 2 games against Girona as painful. They play with 5 in the back, so they don't leave too much space in the defensive lines and, at the same time, the full backs go forward when they have the ball.

    Well... it is Girona nor Brazil 1970, but I think it will not be easy.

    Considering all the rivals, Rayo is the most difficult on paper, but they are a more attacking side, so probably they make the games more open. Valladolid as Girona have a more deffensive approach... and if you score first , fine. If not, it will be hard to get something positive out of it.
  • Greenman019
    2745 posts Fans' Favourite
    Good luck :o
  • ale85bg
    3558 posts National Call-Up
    Very nice and detailed breakdown there... I agree with Baldó: if you don't score in Girona, you might aswell be in trouble. So go for it, we all believe in you!
  • subpop
    3364 posts National Call-Up
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    The first leg of the semifinals of the playoffs was intense and tight as it was predicted. In the atmosphere, there’s a general agreement about the outcome of the game: Zaragoza escaped alive from Girona.

    The match was defined by the early goal of Girona. In the minute 7, García took a lost ball and threw a missile which drilled the upper right corner of Irureta’s goal. The crowd of Montilivi exploded as their players celebrated an important goal, while the players of Zaragoza, still astonished by the superb shot, stared at each other looking for a ghost to blame for the inconvenient situation they were facing.

    Pablo Machín, Girona’s manager, couldn’t have dreamed for a better start for the game. Initially, the 5-3-2 suggested that Girona felt comfortable with a tight match and had a clear message: it was equally important to score a goal than keeping a clean sheet at home. The defensive lines with 5 defenders and 3 midfielders with defensive mentality closed every single space of the pitch, forced the rival to avoid central zones, looking for wingers who had to face fullbacks that were always helped by a central back. Zaragoza had more ball possession, but always very far from dangerous zones. And whenever Zaragoza lost the ball, Girona’s blitzkrieg counters always looked dangerous.

    In the first half, aside a couple of minor chances, wasted by a clumsy Juan Muñoz, very criticized lately for the lack of goals, there were not news from Zaragoza’s attack. Joan Baldó didn’t change the usual plan, a 4-5-1, which seemed useless against the defensive scheme built by the rival. The attacks of the visitors, always ended up with
    wingers who never won a battle or destroyed in central zones, where Ødegaard, Morán and Zapater never found a space. After 45 minutes, there was a clear winner: Girona and Machín.

    While Girona introduced a couple of changes in the lineup, refreshing defensive efforts, and everyone thought that Baldó would introduce changes, Zaragoza’s coach decided to keep things as they were. But they got even worse. Visitors began to feel the pressure of minutes and they started to risk much more in attack, individually rather than collectively. The attacking attitude had the opposite effect though, as the lost balls became counter attacks which could have increased the advantage of Girona in the scoreboard. These early minutes of the
    second half probably were the key of the game. Girona didn’t have the ball, but the game was played as Machín had imagined and they should have killed the game.

    With 20 minutes to go, Baldó finally realized that the initial plan had been a total failure and made a radical change in the system. The 4-5-1 became a very attacking 4-3-3. Ødegaard became a playmaker, Javi
    Ros and Dongou Tsafack replaced Zapater and Juan Muñoz, both of them denied all night, in the central midfield and striker positions… and, in a risky bet, the 17 year-old Romero replaced an unfortunate Lanzarote.

    The attacking changes had an immediate effect. The wingers of Zaragoza were finally able to fix the fullbacks in defense and the advanced lines of Zaragoza were able to pressure Girona’s defense to recover the ball sooner. At the same time, the central midfield had more options to pass the ball in front of them and Dongou definitely added strength and speed in Zaragoza’s attack.

    Probably too late, but Baldó finally found the way to make the defenders of Girona suffer. Still the minutes passed and Girona, despite feeling uncomfortable, fought to keep a short but good result to face the second leg. And when the match was about to die, “Lady Luck” appeared in the minute 93: Javi Ros found a space to introduce the ball into the box to find a noisy Dongou who used his strength to look for a space to shoot the rival’s goal to end up finding the post, which repelled the ball. The lost ball fell in Xumetra’s feet who only had to push the ball into Bounou’s net.

    Xumetra ran to celebrate the goal, defying a silent and astonished crowd, only followed by Dongou. The other players, local and visitors, fell on the floor. Some relieved, some others sunken, all of them exhausted. There was not time for anything else. Zaragoza found a golden goal and Girona regretted the missed chances.

    Machín (Girona manager): “It is very painful. I think we were brilliant, we excelled in defense and had chances in attack to close the playoffs here, but… football is this way, not always fair. I want to be positive though: we can do it in Zaragoza”.

    Baldó (Zaragoza mananger): “The result is very good for us, but not decisive. Probably I should have changed the system earlier in the game, but we always had in mind that we play 180 minutes, not just 90, and we only needed a goal. The substitutions had the right effect. We didn’t have our best day, but we looked for it. The prize is good”.



    HIGHLIGHTS

  • subpop
    3364 posts National Call-Up
    edited February 2017
    Good luck :o

    Thanks! ;)
    ale85bg wrote: »
    Very nice and detailed breakdown there... I agree with Baldó: if you don't score in Girona, you might aswell be in trouble. So go for it, we all believe in you!

    And we did it!!!

    Man... I saw it darker than black! There was no way to find a damn space... they were everywhere, but at the end, epic.

    The second leg will not be easy, but they'll have to get out of the cavern next time, I hope it's different. 3 matches against them, 3 draws.

    BTW, I've added a different song in the highlights to avoid the damn copyright stuff of Youtube... they use it in the Spanish TV, so I thought it was a good idea. I hope you like it.
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