It's raining, it's pouring, our young lads are scoring! (5-1)

03/11/2021 22:17

Deportivo U19s sublime performance against Maccabi Haifa at the ABANCA-RIAZOR was witnessed by a crowd of over 12,000 Branquiazul supporters, breaking a record in the domestic champions path and becoming the fifth highest in UEFA Youth League history. 

Despite being a Wednesday night. Despite having bleak weather. Despite the downpour throughout the match and the hail that pelted down minutes before kick-off. Despite all of this, #ANOSAFORZA did not let the boys down. 

U19 coach, Manuel Pablo, made three changes to the starting eleven that put on a heroic display against Polish side MKS Pogoń Szczecin. Quique Teijo came on as a right-back instead of Nacho Díaz, Mario Domínguez took Seydiba Mendes' place in the midfield and Yeremay Hernández occupied Víctor Guerra's place as a right winger.

Maccabi Haifa came on with the clear intention of playing deep with a 5-4-1 formation. The Branquiazul dominance was so overwhelming that our lads didn't take long to open the Israeli bolt, as Mario Nájera scored the opener in minute 12.

Maccabi Haifa coach, former Israel international, Alon Harazi, ordered Hoter, his centre-back, to move into the midfield changing the formation to 4-2-3-1. However, this hardly changed the dynamic of the game. In the 15-minute mark, Manu Rivas's shot almost caught goalkeeper Salkind off guard. Yeremay tried something similar in minute 28 which the keeper punched out. Maccabi's first effort came in the 24th minute as Khalaili shot from the edge of the box, but the ball went flying high into the stands.

As Maccabi had a second attempt which ended up in Brais Suárez's hands, Manuel Pablo's side began to create more clear-cut chances, yet, it wasn't until just before the end of the first half that Yeremay went down and was awarded a penalty, which he converted and put the boys with a 2-0 lead at half-time. 

The second half commenced with more changes in Maccabi Haifa who were unable to restrain Deportivo, nor were they able to find any gaps to shorten the lead. This also went down the drain as Quique Teijo netted a powerful, low, right-footed shot in the 50th minute.

The boys were on a roll and the rival was trying to overcome the brutal shock of being 3-0 down. Manu Rivas almost scored the fourth with a left-footed shot that went wide in the 50th minute. Two minutes later, Mella finished a beautiful assist by Noel with a perfect left-footed shot that ended in the back of the net. 

ABANCA-RIAZOR roared as they witnessed their youngsters carry out 28 shots on target compared to Maccabi Haifa's 8. 

In the 70th minute, Emilchy had squandered the best chance for the Israeli side up until then. However, he made the most of a defensive mistake by netting in Maccabi's only goal and shortening the distance.

Maccabi Haifa's joy didn't last too long as a minute later, Hugo Baldomar scored a spectacular goal making it 5-1. 

Now, the Branquiazuis have to defend this favourable result in the second leg, which will take place in Haifa on December 8, the day of the Club's 115th anniversary. If Deportivo were to qualify, the playoff round would consist of a single match played at home against a runner-up from the groups of the Champions League Path. This tie will be drawn on 14 December and will be played on 8 or 9 February 2022.

RC Deportivo: Brais Suárez, Quique Teijo (Hugo Baldomar, min. 79), Dani Barcia, Juan Rodríguez, Manu Rivas, Rubén, Mario Domínguez (Embid, min. 74), Yeremay Hernández (Nacho Díaz, min. 74), Nájera, Mella (Padín, min. 68) and Noel (Pablo Trigo, min. 74).

Maccabi Haifa FC: Salkind, Feingold, Hoter (Levi, min. 64), Laish, Azruel, Guri (Leigh, min. 58), Shedo (Sapir, min. 71), Amer, Colley (Otachi, min. 46), Khalaili and Zaga (Elmichly, min. 46).

Goals: 1-0 Nájera (min. 12); 2-0 Yeremay Hernández, (penalty min. 45); 3-0 Quique Teijo (min. 50); 4-0 Mella (min. 56); 4-1 Elmichly (min. 83); 5-1 Hugo Baldomar (min. 85).

Referee: Helgi Mikael Jónasson (Iceland) booked Colley (min. 4), Zaga (min. 43), Shedo (min. 67) and Yeremay Hernández (min. 70).

Incidents: First leg of the Second Round of the UEFA Youth League Domestic Champions Path at the ABANCA-RIAZOR, with an attendance of 12,189 spectators.