Squad news


03 Jan 2011
Important victory for a Deportivo that had problems at the beginning and at the end of the clash, but that achieved the first three points of 2011 thanks to the great display of Adrian, who scored twice and caused a real chaos at Athletic.

Miguel Ángel Lotina chose to play with Adrian and Lassad at the starting eleven, therefore Valerón was sat on the bench. It was a 5-2-2-1 lineup; with Aranzubia at the goal, Laure at the left-back position, Manuel Pablo was on the right side, while the central defenders were Lopo, Colotto and Aythami. Juan Dominguez and Juan Rodriguez were at midfield; Lassad and Juan Dominguez were the two playmakers and Adrián was the central attacker.

At Athletic Bilbao, Fernando Llorente passed a late test and went directly into the starting eleven for the match against Depor, and therefore Joaquin Caparrós was presenting a 4-4-2 figure, with the Navarran and Gaizka Toquero in attack. But central defender Fernando Amorebieta was a last-minute casualty due to flue, his spot was claimed by Ustaritz Aldekoatalora.

But there were more fresh news at the Basque team, because Caparrós was presenting all kind of novelties at his starting squad; despite saying that he wasn’t thinking of the Copa Del Rey clash against Barcelona the Sevillan coach sidelined important players from his scheme, like Gabilondo or Javi Martinez, tough 18-year-old wonder Iker Muniain was part of the starting squad.

Entertaining first half in which Athletic Bilbao put the scoring opportunities and Depor the goal; the Basques were very superior within the first five and the last eight minutes of the half, but they forgave too much, while Depor just needed to capitalize a tough call in a penalty to take the lead. Despite that Depor was having problems in attack, the true is that Adrian and Lassad were making interesting things, the Asturian was giving a lot of problems with his velocity as he caused a penalty and a red card, while the Tunisian was creating danger with his pace and passes. The defensive line had all kind of problems with Llorente, maybe it was a product of the small changes that Lotina made to the draw.

The first scoring opportunity came just 40 seconds after the kick-off; it was a throw-in in which Toquero sent the ball into the box, Laure missed to clear the danger, then Llorente was there and was able to surpass Aythami, but his shot just went close to the left post. The next big chance came at minute 5; it was a high cross coming from the left that Aythami couldn’t head properly, the ball entered into the area and Colotto lost the mark over Toquero, but the striker missed the target as his crossed shot just passed inches away from the far post of Aranzubia.

Depor was unusually distracted at defence, maybe because the players were moved from his usual positions, Lopo was used to perform on the left spot at the line of three central defenders, but this time he switched the place with Colotto, without forgetting that Laure was at the left-back position and Manuel Pablo on the right.

Neither things were working in attack as the arrivals of the Galicians were too slow and never created any danger, at least within the first twenty minutes. The only connection between Lassad and Adrian ended with a drilling pass of the Tunisian that left the Asturian alone against local keeper Iraizoz, but he was offside (13’).

If within the first five minutes the locals were harassing Depor’s goal, the next thirty minutes were more balanced, with a Depor that was constantly stealing the ball at midfield, though without creating a clear goal attempt. The next chance in the game came at minute 16, it was a free-kick for Athletic that David Lopez sent into the area, Juan Rodriguez headed the ball backwards and Aranzubia had to fly in order to clear the danger to corner-kick.

And Depor found the first goal in a fast counterattack that ended in a penalty; it was a long pass of Laure that Adrian transformed into a long run into the goal, he eluded Castillo inside the area and then tried to do the same with Ustaritz, but the central defender pushed the Asturian striker and referee Rubinos Pérez whistled the penalty. It was a protested call at the stadium. Adrian himself came to score from the penalty spot against a static Iraizoz that only saw how the ball entered by the right-bottom corner.

The goal affected the pace of Athletic, now the Basques weren’t finding the fresh ideas that they had at the start of the game, while Depor started to practice his strategy of the counterattacks, which was giving good results as the locals were losing the ball at midfield against the trio composed by Ruben Perez, Juan Dominguez and Juan Rodriguez, while later Lassad and Adrian were trying to combine in attack in order to make more damage.

 In that way it came the next important play in the match, Ruben Perez stole the ball at midfield and then Juan Rodriguez released a high and long pass that again left Adrian alone against the opposite goal, and again the striker was fouled though this time it was at the edge of the area, but the play cost the red card to central defender Mikel San Jose as he was the last man when he pulled the shirt of the striker.

But the fact of been with one man less on the pitch didn’t affect Caparrós´ team, actually they looked more dangerous within the last eight minutes of the first part. At minute 38 Athletic had a big opportunity to equalize the game, but Llorente sent over the crossbar a free-kick coming from the edge of the area. Two minutes later Llorente and Iraola combined inside the area and the final shot of the defender was saved by the leg of Aranzubia.

The half ended in a dramatic way as first Toquero missed the goal after a great assist of Muniain, the striker was alone against Depor’s keeper, but instead of searching to score he tried to assist Llorente and Aythami intercepted the pass and sent the ball out. In the resulting corner-kick Llorente headed the ball inside the area and the second header of Gurpegui from close range just went over the crossbar. And in the stoppage time Juan Rodriguez was sent off as he picked a second yellow card after a tough foul over Castillo. Depor was leading in the scoresheet, but it was leaving a feeling of uncertainty.

If the first part was entertaining the second was dramatic, Depor found a quick goal and things were under control, but the late goal of the locals transformed the last five minutes and the stoppage time into a real drama, with Athletic still having countless opportunities, even with  keeper Iraizoz heading the ball on target. The fairest result would have been the draw, but the true is that Athletic paid the price for wasting so many opportunities, while Depor just seized his chances. 

Lotina just lasted three minutes in making his first substitution; it was the entry of Antonio Tomas for Lassad, move that was trying to cover the spot left by the expulsion of Juan Rodriguez. It seemed that things weren’t changing as Athletic continued to waste its opportunities.

Orbaiz (50’) and again Llorente (51’) missed again the chance to equalize the game. And after those plays Adrian scored the second goal, it was a long throw of Aranzubia sent to the area of Athletic, the high pass was going directly into the path of the two central defenders of the locals, but somehow Adrian managed to collect the ball and then fire a rocket from the edge of the area that Iraizoz couldn’t stop. It is the second time on the season that a single player of Depor scores twice in the same game –Guardado did it against Getafe-

Despite the two-goal advantage Depor wasn’t feeling comfortable on the pitch, it was having long ball possessions , but the Basques never surrendered and were still having some clear occasions, like the solo-play of Muniain that was saved by Aranzubia (56’) or the free-kick of David Lopez that Gurpegui sent into the hands of Depor’s keeper (58’).

Caparrós was desperate and sent Ion Velez, Susaeta and Gabilondo to the pitch, but with the pass of the minutes the defensive line was more focused; with the central defenders alternating and clearing all the danger, while Laure and Manuel Pablo were making a big physical effort running throughout the sides.

There were two keys why Deportivo wasn’t suffering at this stage of the game, the first was that Athletic was no longer putting pressure at midfield, which made easier the life to the Galicians as they were moving the ball at ease, besides the Basques were now desperate and focused all their efforts in attack on long throws and the aerial game, which just made simpler the life to the defensive line of Lotina as they just spent the time clearing the ball out.

Athletic was able to create a scoring chance until minute 81; it was a play of Susaeta on the left corner of the area in which Lopo touched the ball with the hand when he was on the ground, the referee didn’t whistle anything and then Susaeta ended releasing a drilling cross that was cleared by Laure. Lotina tried to refresh midfield with the entry of Juca for Ruben Perez, but everything changed as soon as Fernando Llorente finally scored a goal for the locals, it was a long pass from midfield to Iraola, who entered into the area by the left side to chip the ball into the box, and the Navarran striker just had to head the ball in from the goal line.

That goal changed the game as now Athletic Bilbao was all over Depor’s area in the quest for the equalizer; the miracle didn’t came mainly because Aranzubia made the saves and because the locals continued missing the countless opportunities that they had. Even Iraizoz missed the chance to score as his header after a corner-kick hit the body of Manuel Pablo (90+3’). Before Pablo Alvarez replaced Adrian, who was the most incisive player for the Galicians as he scored twice, provoked a penalty and even caused two red cards for the rival.

The final opportunity was for Athletic as Gabilondo took a direct free-kick that was going into the left top-scorer, but Aranzubia made the save (90+4’). The Basques ended the game with nine men after Ustaritz was sent off with two yellow cards as he pulled the shirt of Adrian during a counterattack for the visitors.

Maybe it was unfair, as Athletic Bilbao had countless opportunities to score more goals, but in the end the three points taste as gold for Depor. The Galicians had several problems at the start and at the end of the game, while in the middle it controlled the actions. But the key was an inspired Adrian, who led to the victory as he scored two goals, plus causing one penalty and two expulsions. Depor starts 2011 in the best possible way thanks to this victory.

The win is leaving Depor at the tranquil zone of the standings, with 21 points –the half of the target to clinch the permanence- On next Saturday Lotina’s players host FC Barcelona at the Riazor  (22h00 CET), but first the Galician team will face the second-leg in Copa against Córdoba FC (Wednesday, 20h00 CET).

Athletic:: (4-4-2) Iraizoz - Iraola, San José, Ustaritz, Castillo (Gabilondo 61’) – Orbaiz, Gurpegui, David López (Susaeta 58’), Muniain– Toquero (Ion Velez 58’), Llorente.
Deportivo: (5-2-2-1) Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Colotto, Aythami, Lopo, Laure - Rubén Pérez, Juan Rodríguez - Juan Domínguez (Juca 84’), Lassad (Antonio Tomás 48’) - Adrián (Pablo Álvarez 89’).
Goals: 0-1 (22’) Adrian (penalty), 0-2 (52’) Adrian, 1-2 (86’) Llorente.
Referee: Antonio Rubinos Pérez. He showed yellow card to Gurpegui (9’), Laure (42’) and Aythami (66’). San Jose (34’) and Juan Rodriguez (45+1’) were sent off.
Venue: San Mamés (35,000)
Other statistics: Ball possession (55% - 45%); Total shots (19 - 7); Shots on target (7 - 3); Saves by the keepers (1 - 6); Corner-kicks  (9 - 1); Offsides (2 - 6); Fouls committed (17 - 16); Accuracy in the passes (83.36% - 78.20%)




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