Squad news

REVIEW: DEPORTIVO 0 – SPORTING GIJON 3 (LIGA)

26 Oct 2008
Nightmare week for Deportivo. Lotina’s squad wasn’t able to pass little Racing seven days ago, it was crushed by CSKA in Moscow and now humiliated at the Riazor by Sporting, club that was the worst defence at Primera Divisi??n but that achieved a clean sheet at Depor’s territory. The Galician team was terrible in this game, it wasted its chanced and fell down against a Sporting that knew how to take advantage of the opportunity.

BEFORE THE GAME
Coach Miguel Angel Lotina sent the expected lineup with Angel Lafita performing as the playmaker, also with Pablo Alvarez and Andr?s Guardado on the wings, and with Riki as the reference in attack. Manuel Pablo also started the game despite the fears of Lotina about his physical condition.

The surprises were at the side of Sporting. Coach Manolo Preciado rested his top goal scorer, Mate Bilic, and allowed the entrance of David Barral while Neru continued in the centre of the defence. Another surprise was to see Luis Mor??n covering the right wing despite he was not fit enough due to a thigh injury. 4,000 fans of Sporting were at the Riazor, something remarkable since only 18,000 local fans were supporting Depor.

FIRST HALF
Maybe this has been the most weird game in recent times judging by how the things started. And it’s that Deportivo have enough chances to take the lead in the score within the first twenty minutes, more in concrete five opportunities that were all wasted by Lotina’s squad. The first one just seconds after the kick-off as Riki sent out a cross of Filipe that was previously deflected by a rival.

But Sporting sent his first warning at minute 8, Diego Castro made a great play on the right and he assisted Michel, but the final shot went out. Just a first look of what the Galician striker would do later. After this play, the other four chances of Deportivo occurred. At the 12th minute, Diego Colotto headed a corner-kick from Sergio, keeper Cuellar was defeated but captain Rafael Sastre was in the right place as he cleared the ball in the goal line.

Two minutes later Angel Lafita had his chance after a pass of Pablo ?lvarez, the Aragonian was alone in the area, but his shot was deflected by a defender and went to a corner-kick. Then it was time for Andr?s Guardado, at minute 15 the Mexican had an attempt to score after a pass of Riki, but his shot was stopped by Cuellar.

And the must clear opportunity for Depor occurred five minutes later, again with Guardado as the main protagonist. The ex-Atlas found the ball in the area after a big error of Sastre, the same defender that saved Sporting minutes before, but despite been alone against the keeper, the Mexican missed the opportunity as his shot went over the crossbar. As it usually occurs in the cruel world of football when a team misses so much chances, the visitors scored their first goal in the next play.

David Barral sent a shot that Aranzubia barely deflected, the ball was left in front of the Basque keeper and the same Barral tried to reach the rebound but he was pulled first by Albert Lopo. Referee Teixeira Vitienes called the penalty. Barral himself came to score his second goal on the season beating Aranzubia with a shot that went into the centre of the goal.

And just as it happened in Moscow, when Depor allowed two goals in a matter of three minutes after a good start, Sporting Gij??n replied with a deadly counterattack that showed the miseries at Deportivo.  And it was the same David Barral who started the play, the C??diz-born player run all over the right wing after a his team mates intercepted a bad pass of Lopo, then he sent a drilling and perfect cross that found Carmelo Gonz??lez alone in the penalty spot, Lopo tried to clear the ball but the Catalan didn’t reach it, instead the Canarian beat Aranzubia just pushing the ball in. And as it happened against CSKA, Depor was now facing a rival that was playing with deadly counterattacks against the fragility of its defensive zone.

Then things became worse with the pass of the minutes. Pablo ?lvarez, who was doubtful all over the week due a hamstring string, was replaced by Juan Carlos Valer??n at minute 37. It isn’t clear if it was a tactical change or a modification caused because the ex-Sporting was not feeling fine. The true is that Lotina used the change trying to solve the mess on the pitch. Valer??n became the playmaker at the squad and Lafita passed to cover the right wing.  But the shock became bigger one minute before half-time as Diego Colotto saw a direct red card after a doubtful foul over Barral. The Argentinean was the last man, but it’s also true that Barral was also committing a foul.

It was an incredible scene at the Riazor. During the first minutes it seemed that Depor had all in favour in order to take a comfortable victory, but instead it was losing by two goals after the first forty five minutes, and to make things worse it was now forced to search the comeback with only ten men on the pitch. Curiously, of the four home matches of Depor in the current liga season, this is the third time in which Lotina’s squad suffers an expulsion.

SECOND HALF
The smell of the defeat was everywhere at the Riazor. A squad that had barely scored on this season was now forced to conquer two goals in 45 minutes and with only ten men on the pitch. Lotina tried to recompose the scheme as he kept playing with the same men in attack and with only three defenders at the back, something that opened the holes to Sporting. That’s why the visitors were the better side during the second half. Always insisting with the deadly duo Luis Mor??n-Diego Castro on the wings and with Barral waiting at the centre.

The second half started with Juan Carlos Valer??n falling inside the penalty box after he was trying to receive a pass from Riki, but referee Teixeira Vitienes didn’t have the guts to call the penalty. At minute 60, Guardado had an attempt to score as he sent a shot from mid-distance, but his final effort went directly to the hands of Cuellar. These couple of plays represents the only chances of Depor within the first 20 minutes in the second part, just a demonstration of how terrible was Depor playing.

Sporting Gij??n was feeling more comfortable with the pass of time, and the true is that they had enough chances to score more goals, but Daniel Aranzubia appeared with three important saves. First miraculously saving a short-distance effort from Diego Castro after a corner-kick (62’). Later it was a one-to-one play against Luis Mor??n (67’). And finally a direct free-kick of Diego Castro (71’).

It was clear that Depor was broke. Lotina tried to refresh the things with the entrances of Mista and Juan Rodr?guez replacing Riki and Sergio, but things continued the same. The Galician team was lost in attack and its defensive line was imprecise, starting with Albert Lopo, player that again had a terrible night as he was involved in the two goals of the Asturians.

At minute 68, Depor finally had a chance to reduce the distance in the scoresheet through a shot of Guardado after a pass of Valer??n, but again the ball went directly to the hands of Cuellar. Five minute after this action, Aranzubia appeared again to make an important save, once again against a direct free-kick  of Diego Castro.

It was now clear that Depor would not achieve the comeback, the squad was broke in two and the lack of ideas was evident. At least the players were trying to score a goal. At minute 76, Lafita sent a dangerous shot that passed inches away from the post, and four minutes later the referee disallowed a goal of Mista after an offside.

But the holes left in the defensive sector were bigger enough to allow a new goal from the visitors. First Aranzubia stopped a header of Bilic, who entered replacing Carmelo some minutes before. And then it came, it was a masterpiece from Sporting. A great play of Camacho ended with the goal of Diego Castro, Michel had the ball in the left corner and passed it to Camacho in the centre, then Depor was trying to use the offside trap, but the drilling pass of Camacho beat the trick and left Castro alone against Aranzubia, the Pontevedra-born player just had to drill the ball to the right side of Aranzubia. There was no time for more as Depor’s fans left the Riazor defeated and as the 4,000 visiting fans were dancing at the stands.

AFTER THE GAME
A new 0-3 score for Deportivo, the second in just three days. It was an unbelievable match, Depor had the chances to define the things since the start, but the lack of goals is now killing the team as Lotina’s players wasted all the occasions just to end the first half with a disadvantage of two goals and with one less man. The second half was just a complement in which Depor was only a shadow against an ordered Sporting.

This is Depor’s first home defeat of the season and the first one in five months, the previous one was the 0-2 against Villarreal in the closing match of the past liga campaign. The result leaves Depor in a complicate situation, with just nine points and now only three points above the salvation. To make things worse, the squad has now to face two away games in the next seven days (Elche in Copa and Betis in liga).

MATCH STATISTICS
Deportivo: Aranzubia - Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Colotto, Filipe Luis - Sergio (Juan Rodr?guez 72’), De Guzm??n - Pablo ?lvarez (Valer??n 37’), Lafita, Guardado - Riki (Mista 72’).
Sporting Gij??n: Cuellar - Sastre, Gerard, Neru, Canella - Camacho, M?chel - Luis Mor??n, Carmelo (Bilic 66’), Diego Castro (Omar 87’) - David Barral (Matabuena 80’).
Goals: 0-1: (22’) Barral (penalty), 0-2: (26’) Carmelo, 0-3: (84’) Diego Castro. Referee: Teixeira Vitienes. He showed yellow card to Neru (36’), Camacho (40’), Aranzubia (43’), Lopo (71’) and M?chel (72’). Colotto was sent off (43’)
Venue: Riazor (22,000)

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