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Deportivo wastes penalty kick, remains winless under Seedorf

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MADRID (AP) — Clarence Seedorf remained winless as Deportivo La Coruna coach after a 0-0 draw with Espanyol in the Spanish league on Friday.

Deportivo squandered chances including a second-half penalty kick taken by Lucas Perez. Its winless streak reached 10 games in all competitions.

It was the third game in a row without a victory since Seedorf took over to try to avoid relegation. Deportivo was 18th in the 20-team standings, in the relegation zone.

In addition to the missed penalty, Deportivo twice hit the posts in front of a supportive crowd at Riazor Stadium. The players left the field applauded by the local fans despite the setback.

Perez’s penalty attempt was saved by Espanyol goalkeeper Diego Lopez in the 65th minute. Lopez, who earlier this season stopped a penalty taken by Lionel Messi, dived to his right to stop Perez’s low shot.

The match marked the Deportivo debut of veteran Ghanaian midfielder Sulley Muntari. He played alongside Seedorf at AC Milan, and was signed this week after a trial period.

Espanyol, 15th in the standings, hasn’t won in seven matches, since it ended Barcelona’s 29-match unbeaten streak in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals. Espanyol’s last league win was in January, seven rounds ago.

Barcelona defends its seven-point lead in the standings when it hosts Girona on Saturday. Second-place Atletico Madrid visits Sevilla on Sunday.

Deportivo La Coruna hires Seedorf as coach

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MADRID (AP) Spanish club Deportivo La Coruna hired former Dutch player Clarence Seedorf as its coach on Monday for the rest of the season.

“I’m happy to have this opportunity to work in football again, in a club with so much history and in a league that gave me so much,” said Seedorf, who played for Real Madrid in the late 1990s.

The former defensive midfielder replaced Cristobal Parralo, who was fired on Sunday, two days after a 5-0 loss at Real Sociedad extended Deportivo’s winless streak to seven matches. The club is 18th in the 20-team Spanish league, in the relegation zone.

“It’s a difficult situation,” Seedorf said. “I like to take on these challenges. It would be easy to go to a place where everything is working well. I can help the club.”

After a long playing career at several top clubs, Seedorf made his coaching debut with AC Milan in 2014, staying on the job for a few months. He also had a brief coaching stint in Chinese football in 2016.

“We did a good job at Milan but it was a complicated moment for the club,” Seedorf said.

He said his lack of coaching experience shouldn’t be a problem, noting Zinedine Zidane had even less experience when he took over Real Madrid’s helm.

Seedorf played for Milan, Inter Milan, Sampdoria, Ajax, and Brazil’s Botafogo. He won the Champions League five times, two with Madrid, two with Milan, and one with Ajax.

Seedorf starts working on Tuesday, and his first match in command of Deportivo will be on Monday at home against Real Betis.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga