Squad news


19 Dec 2010
Disappointed result for a Deportivo that could have ended the first part with a big score in favour, but that left the Riazor with only one point inside the pocket after the reaction of Sporting in the second half. Guardado left the pitch injured.

Coach Miguel Angel Lotina surprised everybody as Juan Carlos Valerón and Juan Dominguez were starters in the game; It was the second appearance of El Flaco at the starting eleven on the liga season, while the Galician young midfielder was completing his first match as starter on the tournament. Another novelty was to see Guardado returning to the starting squad after been out injured for a month.

The lineup was still a 5-2-2-1; with Dani Aranzubia at the goal, Manuel Pablo covering the right-back position, Norwegian Rindarøy was on the left sector, while the central defenders were Colotto, Lopo and Aythami. Juan Dominguez and Ruben Pérez were the two pivotes; Valerón was the playmaker performing towards the right wing, Guardado did the same on the left and Adrian was the central attacker.

At Sporting, coach Manolo Preciado presented the expected squad; with Diego Castro, Nacho Novo and David Barral as the main references in attack. Also and as it was expected, at least 4,000 fans of Sporting were at the Riazor.

Interesting start for Deportivo; the Galicians made thirty solid minutes and had countless occasions to score some goals, but it only capitalized one of those opportunities; later Guardado had to be replaced and Sporting pushed strongly in attack, but the Asturians lacked quality and were unable to create danger against Aranzubia.

The starting lineup gave the impression that Lotina was going to present a new variant in his scheme with five defenders: the fact of trying to move the ball over the grass leaving behind the long throws. And it was evident since the first minute that Depor was going to do that, because the Blanquiazul team changed its tactic of searching for the head of Juan Rodriguez through long balls, and now the Andalusian was on the bench while Depor was more worried in completing quick and drilling passes trying to surprise the static defensive line of Sporting.

And in this way Depor had the initiative within the first half an hour, with Guardado very active on the left wing, with Valerón switching between the centre and the right wing, and with Adrian moving all the way around the attacking line; which game mobility to Lotina’s team, however there were no scoring opportunities within the first ten minutes.

The first approximation of Depor came at minute 11; it was a cross of Rindarøy that Adrian almost collected at the box, but Botia cleared the danger to corner-kick. And the first goal came after the corner-kick; it was a short play of Valerón in which Ruben Perez attempted from the edge of the area, the true is that it was a horrible attempt, but his shot turned into a volley that was a perfect pass to Guardado, who was inside the area and attempted to score from the left corner after eluding a rival, his drilling shot was saved by Juan Pablo, but Aythami Artiles was there to collect the rebound and score his second goal on the season from close-range. It is the ninth goal of Depor after a set-piece, and also the ninth allowed by Sporting on these kinds of actions.

The Asturian tried to react and Luis Moran had two attempts to score on the left side, in the first his shot from close-range was saved by Guardado (16’), and then he missed to collect a cross from the edge of the area (18’). The visitors were growing in the match as now Depor was relying on the counterattack, and in that way the Galicians had their next three big opportunities in the game.

In the first Valerón made a perfect assist to Adrian, who entered into the area by the left sector to end trying to chip the ball over visiting keeper Juan Pablo, but unfortunately his crossed attempt just went close to the far post (21’); two minutes later Juan Dominguez assisted Guardado and the Mexican attempted from the left corner of the area, and Sporting’s goalie made the save; and at minute 26 the sequence of the first action was repeated as Valerón drilled the ball to leave Adrian alone against Juan Pablo, but the shot of Adrian just smashed the body of the visiting keeper.

Then Guardado suffered a relapse from his hamstring problem and the doctors decided to replace him, therefore Juan Rodriguez entered to the pitch, with the modification Juan Dominguez, moved  his position to the left and Rodriguez was now joining Ruben Pérez at the centre. Now it seemed that Depor was returning to the “old tactic” as it was common to watch long throws searching for the head of the Andalusian midfielder.

The exit of Guardado also coincided with a moment in which Depor missed depth in attack; Sporting was trying to take initiative, bust just had a couple of long-range attempts that didn’t give problems to Aranzubia. Their only clear opportunity for the visitors came after an error of Depor’s keeper in which his clearance was recovered by Eguren; then the Uruguayan sent the ball to the box, but Barral was unable to head the ball on target and went out close to the left post of the keeper.

Discrete second part of a Deportivo that lost all the impetus of the first minutes on the first part; Lotina lasted too much in making the modifications and paid the price as Sporting got the reward for its effort with Diego Castro equalizing the things just minutes before the final whistle.

The second part started as the first ended, with Sporting pushing in attack but without finding the needed depth, while Depor was waiting at the back, always led by a Valerón that was giving glimpses of his class with short plays that were releasing the pressure that was put over the defensive line. However, Depor was missing punch in attack as the Galicians were unable to create anything within the first ten minutes, but neither Sporting did too much against Aranzubia

Depor’s first approximation came at minute 65; it was a play of Valerón and Juan Dominguez that ended with Adrian releasing a dangerous cross into the path of Juan Rodriguez, but Botia cleared the danger.

At the middle of the half Croatian Bilic entered for Luis Moran, modification that switched a disappeared Nacho Novo to the right wing, the move also left the Croatian striker playing behind Barral. At minute 66’ Juan Dominguez had an attempt to score, but the ball was cleared by the defensive line of Sporting. One minute later the long-range shot of Ruben Perez, this time after a corner-kick, went over the crossbar.

Sporting was practically surrounding Deportivo’s area and still was missing the needed quality to surpass the deadlock of Depor, but it was also worrying to witness how the locals were failing to create danger against Juan Pablo, that’s why Lotina decided to refresh the attacking line allowing the entry of Riki for Adrian. The Asturian striker was incisive at the start of the first part, but in the second he was lost, though it also had to do with the fact that he was forced to delay his position in order to be in contact with the ball. Neither Riki did too much in the match.

Later Valerón was replaced by Saul, but Sporting was still the leading force in the match; the visitors were close to score at minute 84 with a long-distance shot of Rivera missed the target and the Asturians got the deserved reward at minute 89; it was a great play of right-back Lora, who chipped the ball over Rindaroy to enter into the box and sent a cross to the centre that Diego Castro found to just push into the back of the net from close-range. It is his fifth goal in liga and also the fourth playing against Depor.

That goal also put an end to a streak of three straight wins at home for Depor and also with the unbeaten condition of Aranzubia, who spent 428 minutes without leaking a goal at the Riazor, at least to mention that it is the best mark of Depor since the arrival of Lotina.

Depor, however, was losing two golden points that were already inside the pocket and desperately attempted to rescue the victory in a new set-piece, but the header of Colotto after the cross of Ruben Pérez was stopped by Juan Pablo. There was no time for more.

Disappointment at the Riazor as Depor wasted all the good things made in the first part to end allowing an equalizer at the final stretch of the match, therefore the Galicians lost two golden points at home. The true is that Sporting deserved the result as it was the leading force in the major part of the game. The injury of Guardado affected the plans in the first part, and later Lotina lasted too much in making the modifications, which also helped to explain the final score.

Now the team will play its next liga game until 2011 as it will visit Athletic Bilbao, game that hasn’t been scheduled as la liga is still discussing the dates. Depor, however, will play on Tuesday as the Galicians return to Copa Del Rey in order to face Córdoba CF (20h00); it’s the first-leg of the last-16 round and it will be played at El Arcangel stadium.

Deportivo: (5-2-2-1) Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Colotto, Aythami, Lopo, Rindarøy – Rubén Pérez, Juan Domínguez – Valerón (Saúl 81’), Guardado (Juan Rodríguez 30’) – Adrián (Riki 74’)
Sporting: (4-2-3-1) Juan Pablo - Lora, Botía, Gregory, José Ángel – Eguren (Ayoze 79’), Rivera – Luis Morán (Bilic 61’), Nacho Novo (Miguel De Las Cuevas 79’), Diego Castro –Barral
Goals: 1-0 (12’) Aythami, 1-1: (87’) Diego Castro.
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo. He showed yellow card to Lopo (15’), Barral (33’), Luis Morán (60’), Ruben Perez (65’), Botia (68’), Aranzubia (84’) and Juan Rodriguez (90’)
Venue: Riazor (18,000)
Other statistics: Ball possession (45% - 55%); Total shots (12 - 9); Shots on target (7 - 3); Saves by the keepers (2 - 6); Corner-kicks  (3 - 9); Offsides (1 - 2); Fouls committed (9 - 11); Accuracy in the passes (76.31% - 81.30%)



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