Squad news

REVIEW: DEPORTIVO 3 – ATHLETIC 1 (LIGA)

23 Nov 2008
Great victory for a Deportivo that continues to live near to the European places. The Galicians were superior against the Athletic of Caparr??s though the visitors were close the tie the actions through a missed penalty and later as they pushed strongly during the final minutes of the second half. Depor had enough chances to conquer a bigger score and Guardado had to come during the stoppage time to conquer the definitive goal in the game.

BEFORE THE MATCH
Caparr??s and Lotina sent the expected lineups to the grass of the Riazor. Both playing with a 4-2-3-1 system. At Depor the novelties were the presences of Antonio Tom??s in midfield and Rodolfo Bodipo in attack. Also the return of Z?© Castro in order to replace suspended Lopo. A novelty outside the pitch was that Pablo Alvarez got injured during the warm up (muscular), therefore he was sidelined from the game and Cristian Hidalgo took his place at Depor’s bench.

At Athletic Bilbao, Caparr??s was trusting in Fernando Llorente as his main reference in attack. The only novelty compared to the squad that defeated Osasuna was central defender Fernando Amorebieta, he was replacing injured Ustaritz Aldekoatalora.

FIRST HALF
It was a frenetic start at the Riazor. The actions begun with a Deportivo that was pushing strongly up front, the Galicians had the first chance with a free-kick of Guardado that was sent to the box and that was cleared by the defenders (1’). Then Guardado and Verd?? combined and the Mexican sent a cross to the far post that was near to enter to the goal (3’). One minute later, Athletic responded with a double occasion. First with David L??pez firing on target after a pass of Susaeta, then it was Javi Mart?­nez who had an attempt to score after a new pass from Susaeta, in both occasions the ball was deflected by Filipe.

One minute later, Lafita tested from mid-distance, but his attempt was contained by Iraizoz. After some minutes of peace, Bodipo tried again from mid-distance and once again Iraizoz contained the danger (9’). The intensity of the first minutes left an image of two teams searching the victory with everything they had, but things were coming more clear with the pass of time, because Depor was having the initiative while Athletic preferred to wait and push strongly in midfield and trying to create surprise with its counterattacks. Something they never fulfilled due the concentration at Depor’s squad. That’s how the ball ended to be for the home side and the visitors started to suffer in the game.

At minute 12, Lafita was close to score as he fired a strong shot that went near to the post, he was assisted by Guardado through a brilliant pass to the box. Verd??, Lafita and Guardado were very active as they were the motors in midfield, they were constantly surpassing their marks and were seeking for dangerous crosses, but the problems was that the Basques were defending well and they were clearing all the balls sent to the area.

However, the aerial game was the way that Deportivo used to score the first goal of the game, Llorente fouled Piscu at the right side, Joan Verd?? took the free-kick and everybody was expecting for a cross to the box, but instead the Catalan sent a direct shot to the near post, Iraizoz was able to clear the danger in the goal line, but Z?© Castro found the ball and scored his first goal wearing Depor’s shirt. A deserving lead for the best side over the grass.

The excitement was rising in a almost desert Riazor, two minutes later referee Mejuto Gonz??lez whistled a doubtful penalty after the same Z?© Castro fouled Llorente during a corner-kick of David L??pez. But Daniel Aranzubia stopped the shot from the penalty spot that was made by Iraola. It was a brilliant move of the Basque keeper as the shot was going to the bottom right corner of the keeper (25’).

And the roll-coaster of pure emotions didn’t end in that point, because then Deportivo became a little hurricane that was close to score the second goal with three clear occasions in a matter of just two minutes. First Orbaiz committed a huge mistake leaving a dead ball to Guardado, the Mexican faced Iraizoz in a one-to-one action, but the keeper stopped the shot of the winger in two occasions (27’), in the continuation of the play, Verd?? was close to score after a pass of Bodipo, but a defender cleared the danger, finally Bodipo found the ball in the final part of the play and the Guinean sent a shot on target that was cleared to corner-kick by defender Ocio.

After the whispering at the stadium, both teams continued involved in a very active game as Antonio Tom??s (33’) and Orbaiz (34’) had attempts to score from mid-distance, but Iraizoz and Aranzubia stopped the ball without problems. The first half ended with a clear penalty of Amorebieta over Rodolfo Bodipo, the problem is that referee Mejuto Gonz??lez didn’t see it and he whistled it until the local players protested the action. Anyhow, it was a clear foul inside the box and Joan Verd?? capitalise it beating Iraizoz with a shot sent to his left side. The bad news for Depor is that in the Rodolfo Bodipo suffered a knee injury during the play of the penalty. Mista replaced him.

No matter both teams allowed an open game in the first part, it was Deportivo who was having the best chances to score the goals, Caparr??s’ tactic of using the counterattacks wasn’t effective, and his team was broke in midfield, mainly because Guardado, Lafita and especially Verd?? were dominating the ball and more than that, they were creating dangerous plays that Athletic never knew how to stop. Besides, Piscu and Z?© Castro were very solid in defence. Maybe the only problem for Depor is that Lotina’s players were focusing the attacks in endless crosses that the rivals were easily blocking. No matter this situation, Depor had a comfortable 2-0 advantage after the first 45 minutes.

SECOND HALF
Caparr??s sent Joseba Etxeberria to replace Garmendia, a move that was trying to give more velocity to the attacks from the visitors. And Athletic was the first side that enjoyed of a clear chance to score, it was a cross in a free-kick taken by David L??pez that Llorente found inside the box, but his shot went out when he was alone against Aranzubia (50’).

But once again Depor took the control of the actions and soon the occasions started to arrive. The first chance for Deportivo in the second part was new play of Joan Verd??,  the Catalan was assisted by Mista and faced Iraizoz in a one-to-one action, he eluded the keeper and felt down to the ground, but referee Mejuto Gonz??lez didn’t want to whistle a new penalty for the locals (52’). Three minutes later a sequence between Guardado and Mista ended with the ex-Valencia sending a shot that was stopped by the visiting keeper. Athletic reacted and in the next play, Jav?­ Mart?­nez assisted Llorente inside the box and the marksman tried to drill the ball between the legs of Aranzubia, but the Basque keeper cleared the ball to corner-kick.

Athletic was lost on the pitch and Caparr??s decided to change the system introducing Ion Vel?©z for David L??pez. But the occasions continued to be for Deportivo. At minute 60, and after a corner-kick of Guardado, Z?© Castro made a wonderful play inside the box to assist Verd??, the shot of the Catalan was deflected and then Antonio Tom??s sent the ball over the crossbar. These were the best minutes of Deportivo, the Galicians were displaying a good game and the third goal seemed to be a matter of time.

Then Sergio replaced Antonio Tom??s at minute 64, the Cantabrian was slightly injured after a play occurred in the first half. Depor continued as the only owner of the game. At the 66th minute, a new combination between Lafita and Guardado was near to end in the third goal for the Galicians, but the cross of the Aragonian was sent out by the Mexican. Two minutes later Mista had a disallowed goal after a cross from Filipe, the Murcian attacker was offside.

But despite the domination of Deportivo, Athletic Bilbao was able to find a goal at the most unexpected moment, it was a cross of Orbaiz that Javi Mart?­nez headed inside the box. Mart?­nez was the youngster that scored the two goals during the last win of the Basques at the Riazor two seasons ago. The goal gave some initiative to the visitors, Caparr??s’ side was now pushing strongly in attack, situation that was leaving spaces at its defensive sector. Opportunities that Deportivo was trying to capitalise with the fast moves from Verd?? and Guardado.

However, the result of the efforts from both sides was a more cautious game, a match with the ball stuck in midfield. Manuel Pablo and the rest of defenders were very solid and the only way in which the visitors were able to create something was through long-distance shots that always went out. Meanwhile Deportivo continued basing its game in fast combinations, the problem is that all the attacks were ending in crosses to the area that didn’t find any receiver or that were cleared by the defenders. Therefore Depor started to become nervous with the pass of time, it had enough chances to secure a bigger win, but now it was trying to be careful as the game was approaching to the final ten minutes.

And Athletic lost its most clear chance at minute 84, it was one of the few errors at Depor’s defence throughout the night. A long ball left Llorente alone against the goal, the striker fired on target but the ball hit Javi Mart?­nez and went out just when Aranzubia was already beaten. Cristian entered for the final five minutes as he replaced Lafita. Depor suffered in the final minutes as Athletic was trying to find the equaliser, but the true is that the visitors weren’t able to create a clear chance.

Actually, it was Deportivo who scored the third goal. It was a counterattack after Athletic was taking a free-kick at Depor’s area, the play was started by Sergio and ended with Filipe Luis sending a cross that Andr?©s Guardado capitalised. It is the second goal of the Mexican on the liga season. The game ended with a shot of Orbaiz that went out.

AFTER THE GAME
Deserved victory for a Deportivo that passed over Athletic Bilbao. It was an entertaining game between a Depor that had an inspired trio on the pitch: Verd??, Lafita and Guardado, while Athletic speculated with counterattacks that never harmed Lotina’s side. However the visitors always had the chance of a comeback as they missed a penalty and after they found a goal in the second half, however the goals of Verd?? at the end of the first half and the one of Guardado in the stoppage time secured the three points for the home team.

Now Depor returns to fight for the European places, because the Galician are 7th in the table tied with sixth-place Atl?©tico Madrid (18 points). Meanwhile Caparr??s’ Athletic Bilbao continues in relegation zone. The next game in liga will be played on the next Sunday as Depor visits Estadio De Los Juegos Medit?©rraneos in order to face UD Almeria (17h00 CET). But before, Lotina’s squad has to face Feyenoord Rotterdam in matchday 03 of the UEFA Cup group stage, game that will take place on Thursday at the Riazor (21h00)

MATCH STATISTICS
Deportivo: Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Piscu, Ze Castro, Filipe (Cristian 87’) –Antonio Tom??s (Sergio 64’), Juan Rodr?­guez – Lafita, Verd??, Guardado – Bodipo (Mista 45’).
Athletic: Iraizoz - Iraola, Ocio, Amorebieta, Balenziaga – Susaeta (Del Olmo 85’), Orbaiz - Javi Mart?­nez, David L??pez (Ion V?©lez 58’), Garmendia (Etxeberria 46’) - Fernando Llorente.
Goals: 1-0: (23’) Z?© Castro, 2-0: (42’) Verd?? (penalty), 2-1: (72’) Javi Mart?­nez, 31: (90+5’) Guardado.
Referee: Mejuto Gonz??lez. He showed yellow card to David L??pez (32’), Orbaiz (47’), Guardado (86’) Z?© Castro (88’), Verd?? (90+3’)
Venue: Riazor (14,000)
Other statistics: Ball possession (53% - 47%); Total shots (19 - 19); Shots on target (10 - 6); Saves by the keepers (4 - 1); Corner-kicks  (10 - 7); Offsides (4 - 0); Fouls committed (18 - 14); Accuracy in the passes (82.89% - 82.87%)

ARCHIVE NEWS NOV/08

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