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08.02.2009 10:47

Sporting near Europe and with no draws

Roger Bogunyà

Sporting Gijon is closer to qualifying for Europe than relegation. A curiosity of their season is that they haven’t drawn a single game with 12 defeats and 9 wins out of their 21 matches so far.

That means they’ve been able to rack up 27 points which puts them 6 off a European spot and 10 away from the relegation zone. With half the League over, it’s a fine performance by a club who spent the last ten years in the Second Division.

Attractive football

Bilic1.JPGCoach Manuel Preciado has had a lot to do with this. He kept the players who brought the side up last season and judiciously added to his squad with names like Carmelo, Camacho and Maldonado. Sporting is also one of the most attacking sides and will no doubt take a very different approach against Barça than Numancia did.

Most goals conceded

But the downside of all-out attack is that sometimes you can concede a hatful, as has happened to Sporting this term at Madrid by 7-1, Getafe by 5-1 and a 1-6 thrashing at home by Barça. As a result they have the unenviable record of most goals conceded at 44.

Making progress

But it’s not all defensive woe at Gijon. The team is making progress and last week beat Seville 1-0 after playing with ten men for an hour and keeping an organised defence. And they’ll try to do the same this evening at Camp Nou.
Photos: Sporting
Photos: Sporting
Quini back at Camp Nou as coach

Enrique Castro González, better known as ‘Quini', returns to Camp Nou in the least expected way. The ex-Barça player and current club delegate at Sporting Gijon will be in charge in the dugout after head coach Manuel Preciado and second coach Iñaki Tejada were sent off against Seville and hence are banished to the stands.

Quini is remembered in Barcelona for his goal scoring skills. He played for the club from 1980 to 1984 and slotted home 101 goals in 178 games. With the Catalan outfit he won the Cup Winners’ Cup, the Spanish Super Cup, the League Cup and two King’s Cups, one of them against his boyhood team Sporting Gijon in a final in which he scored twice. He was top scorer in the First Division on five occasions and twice in the Second.
But Quini will have to watch his step quite literally this evening. As delegate he is not allowed to enter the technical area reserved for head and second coaches, so he will have to give his instructions from the bench.

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