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01.11.2007 11:13

Better than the table suggests

Jesús Carrillo

FC Barcelona travel tonight to the José Zorrilla in Valladolid to face the side managed by José Luis Mendilíbar. Having returned to the top flight last season, the Castilian side is struggling at third from bottom without a home win to their credit.

José Luis Mendilíba’s side topped the second division in spectacular fashion last season, but life at the higher level is proving a much more difficult ride. Most of the promotion winning squad has been kept intact, joined by goalkeeper Butelle on loan from Valencia; defenders Alexis and Diego Camacho, both signed from Levante; midfielder Vivar Dorado, formerly of Getafe, and strikers Fabián Estoyanoff (Uruguayan) and Ogbeche (Nigeria), who were signed from Valencia and Alavés, respectively.

Relegation zone

It is proving to be a difficult season for Valladolid. They have only gathered 6 points out of a possible 27, and have been especially poor at home, where they have drawn two and lost two, scoring just 5 goals and conceding 9. The draws were against Deportivo and Real Madrid, but their last two home games were defeats to Murcia, 1-4, and Athletic Bilbao, 1-2.

Reaction in Pamplona

555897.jpgValladolid have only won one game all season, and that was in their first match, an unexpected 1-0 triumph away to Espanyol. The promising start has come to nothing though. Last week it looked like they were heading for their second win of the season when they took a 2-0 lead away to Osasuna, but the Pamplona based side reacted with two late goals to snatch a draw. But the game showed a marked improvement in Mendilíbar’s players.

Youth and experience

Mendilíbar’s first eleven is a blend of young promises (such as Rafa, Sissí, Pedro López and Asier) along with players that have many years of experience of top flight football (such as Vivar Dorado, Víctor, Alexis and Estoyanoff). There are also several players that have been at the club for many a year, including the three seasons spent battling it out in the second division, namely García Calvo, Marcos, Llorente, Álvaro Rubio and Kome.
Better than the table suggests
President with a Barça past
The president of Valladolid’s Administrative Council is businessman Carlos Suárez Sureda. At 39, he is the youngest president in the first division, and is in his seventh year in the post. As a child he played basketball at FC Barcelona, and also played youth basketball for Madrid, Joventut Badalona and Espanyol. He also played professionally for Caixa Ourense in the ACB League.

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