Squad news


08 May 2011
Déjŕ vu for Deportivo in Gijón; for the second straight time Sporting was rewarded with a last-minute penalty, which prevented Depor’s third away win on the season. A painful draw for the Galicians that could cost the permanence.

Lotina kept the mystery of the lineup until the last second; usually he releases the starting eleven some hours before the kick-off, but in this opportunity he gave the list with the starting eleven until the players were at the changing room. Guardado was dragging an adductor injury; he made a late test in the morning and asked to take part of the game. But the main surprises were the trio that the coach put in attack: Valerón, Adrian and Riki. The last two men even had a few weeks without taking part of the starting squad.

In the end, and despite all the rumours, the Basque coach presented a surprising 4-3-3 lineup; with Aranzubia at the goal, Laure played at the right-back position, Manuel Pablo performed on the left, while the central defenders were Aythami and Colotto. At midfield there was a trivote: Juan Rodriguez, Juan Dominguez and Guardado. Adrian was covering the right wing, Riki attacked from the left and Valerón was the central attacker.

At Sporting, coach Manolo Preciado also kept the mystery until the last second; because he tested a 4-3-3 squad on Wednesday, then he changed to a 4-2-3-1 figure on Thursday, and on Saturday he returned to the 4-3-3, with a trivote at midfield composed by Sebastián Eguren, Ignacio Cases and ex-Betis man Alberto Rivera. Miguel de Las Cuevas and Barral were the main references in attack.

The Galician team was supported by a group of enthusiastic fans; more than 3,000 though only that number entered into the stadium. But it must be informed that there were some incidents before and during the game. According to the fans, a group of them was attacked by the police without any provocation, and the officers commented to reporters that some Depor’s fans were launching bottles against them. Also, during the match accidentally a barrier separating the public at the stadium fell down and two Depor’s fans were injured and were taken to the hospital. Both persons are fine.

Deja Vú. Last year, Depor felt robbered at El Molinón after Antonio Rubinos Pérez whistled a last-minute penalty that meant a 1-2 defeat against Sporting. And this time the history was repeated as referee Javier Estrada Fernandez whistled two inexistent penalties, one of them at the last minute, to have a direct impact in a 2-2 draw that could be really expensive for Deportivo.

To explain that the game was intense, both teams knew that the victory was the only road to the permanence and for this reason they were pretty offensive. The scheme of Lotina was surprising. A 4-3-3 in which Guardado was a pivote that was constantly joining the attacks, while Valerón was beyond the trio of midfielders, but the masterpiece of the Basque coach was the combination Riki-Adrian. Both attackers were a dagger coming from the wings, actually the major part of the most dangerous plays for Depor came out from their boots.

Sporting had the first chance in the game as Nacho Cases assisted De Las Cuevas, who attempted a crossed shot that was saved by Aranzubia (2’). But the team that struck first was Deportivo. The goal of the Galicians came after Riki stole the ball at the right wing, then the Madrilenian ran until he drilled a cross that Adrian found inside the box, the Asturian hit the ball and it turned into a volley that neither Botia nor Juan Pablo couldn’t deflect.

The locals were in shock and lasted several minutes to react; their only opportunity in the next twenty minutes was a play of Ayoze that Colotto blocked (16’). The game was exactly where Depor wanted: it had an early advantage against a team that was confused, and therefore it had the chance to define the things through the counterattack. And Depor had two big chances to increase the lead through a counterattack. 

The first one turned to be  the first big error of referee Rubinos Pérez, Adrian sent a long pass from midfield and into the path of Riki, who ran until the edge of the area and he had a great opportunity to score, but local keeper Juan Pablo made a sliding tackle that, despite not touching the striker, should have been whistled as a penalty as the keeper clearly had the intention of hurting the rival. It also should have been a red card (27’).

Then Riki and Adrian switched their roles and now the Madrilenian assisted the Asturian, who was close to face Juan Pablo one-on-one, but Botia cleared the danger (31’). And just four minutes later, referee Rubinos Pérez committed his second big error in the game. Jose Ángel was releasing a cross inside the area and the ball went into the path of Laure, the Madrilenian turned off and the ball hit the back of his neck, but the referee whistled a penalty as he thought that it hit his hand.

Then ex-Tenerife man Ayoze García Pérez came and scored his first goal on the season from the penalty spot. That goal was what the motivation that Sporting needed and the locals started to push in attack. At the 37th minute, Lora released a cross that Barral headed inside the box, but his attempt just passed close to the right post.

But then, just when the visitors were suffering the most, Depor scored the second goal, the play was started with a great pass of Valerón, who assisted Guardado, then the Mexican drilled the ball into the edge of the area and into the path of Adrian, who entered into the area eluding two rivals plus Juan Pablo to gently sent the ball into the back of the net. With both goals Adrian is now the Pichichi at the team with seven goals added to his tally.

Despite Sporting had the ball possession on this half (68%), Deportivo convinced with its performance as it was looking as an offensive and effective team, something unseen on Depor’s visits across the tournament. The Galicians were regaining the advantage and Sporting had a big chance to tie the actions at the last minute of the stoppage time, it was a great shot of Jose Ángel in a free-kick that hit the crossbar.

Depor held on the advantage… until Rubinos Pérez screwed the things again. It is true that Sporting made a big effort and completely dominated the game in the second part, but it’s always painful for any team to allow a goal at the last minute, especially if the team is playing for important things. Depor was still looking dangerous within the first fifteen minutes, but later the visitors were just protecting the result, something that was going to be fatal.

The second part started with another great pass of Valerón, who left Adrian alone against Juan Pablo, but the Asturian tried to chip the ball over the keeper, something that didn’t work. The strategy was still working for Lotina. Adrian and Riki were a constant threat for Sporting, while Valerón was lighting the way with his accurate passes at the centre.

But the last 30 minutes were different, because Depor became into the defensive team of always, while Sporting started to grow in the game. De Las Cuevas sent the first warning with a shot that missed the target (56’). Two minutes later Lora released a dangerous shot that was blocked by Aranzubia.

Then Preciado switched the tactic allowing the entry of Luis Moran and Bilic for Nacho cases and Ayoze. Then Depor’s players started to have more problems, because they were facing two strikers, Barral and Bilic, this last one was pretty active at the end of the encounter. The visitors were just answering with sporadic counterattacks, like the one in which Valerón assisted Riki, who fell down inside the area (70’). It wasn’t penalty.

Riki was tired and was replaced by Juan Dominguez, the modification meant that the youngster claimed the spot of Guardado, and now the Mexican was switching positions with Adrian on the wings. But the side that was attacking was Sporting.

The most critical moment for Depor was between minutes 76 and 79; first Los Rojiblancos saw how Bilic was heading a corner over the crossbar (76’), later Barral missed the target from the edge of the area after collecting a cross from the right (77’), and the most dangerous play was a shot of Andre Castro, who just three minutes before was replacing Alberto Rivera, the Portuguese hit the corner of the far post with a strong shot from the edge of the area.

Within the last ten minutes it seemed that the result was done, Sporting was insisting, but it never created the same sense of danger than in the previous minutes. The only chances for the Asturians were two long-range shots of Bilic (82’) and Andre Castro (88’). Both actions were stopped by Aranzubia. In the middle, Lassad replaced Adrian and the Tunisian made a great play on the left wing in which he assisted Juan Dominguez, but the youngster couldn’t score from close range and his shot was blocked (84’). Later Pablo Álvarez replaced Guardado.

And the tragedy came at the last minute of the stoppage time, Sporting was having the ball in which was supposed to be the last play in the match, and the locals got a doubtful penalty that cost two points to the Galicians. In the play Barral received the ball when he was at the left corner of the box, Rubén Pérez was running alongside him and both men fell down to the ground. At the beginning Estrada Fernandez didn’t whistle the penalty, but his assistant made the call and then the penalty was awarded. It was very doubtful, perhaps driven by a hand of Aythami inside the area in a previous play, though that action neither was a penalty as it was accidental. In the end Barral himself came to score his fifth goal on the season from the penalty spot. There wasn’t time for more.

Another polemic game for Deportivo at El Molinón; last year Rubinos Pérez whistled a last-minute penalty that meant a 1-2 defeat against Sporting. Now Estrada Fernandez whistled two inexistent penalties, one of them at the last minute, and Depor only picked a tasteless point after been leading the scoresheet through the major part of the game. Still, Adrian scored two goals and Depor had one of its best away games on the season.

To mention that there were some incidents between the referees and Depor’s staff after the final whistle; Javier Estrada Fernandez reported in the act of the game that Lotina called him “scoundrel” and that he insisted that the penalties were inexistent. Also, the second coach of Sporting, Tejada Fernandez, was sent off at minute 80 after a verbal discussion with Juan Rodriguez. Therefore Lotina might be suspended for the clash against Athletic Bilbao.

The draw isn’t enough for Deportivo as Getafe and Malaga won their games; the Galicians might even end the matchday in relegation in case that Zaragoza isn’t able to beat Osasuna. Any other result in that match will leave Depor inside the pit with three matchdays remaining in the calendar. The action continues in midweek as Lotina’s team hosts Athletic Bilbao at the Riazor (Tuesday, 20h00 CET).

Sporting: (4-3-3) Juan Pablo – Lora, Iván Hernández, Botía, José Ángel –Eguren, Alberto Rivera (Andre Castro 76’), Cases (Luis Morán 63’) –De Las Cuevas, Barral, Ayoze (Bilic 63’).
Deportivo: (4-3-3) Aranzubia – Laure, Colotto, Aythami, Manuel Pablo – Rubén Pérez, Guardado (Pablo Álvarez 89’), Juan Rodríguez -  Adrian (Lassad 85’), Valerón -  Riki (Juan Domínguez 74’)
Goals: 0-1: (8’) Adrian, 1-1: (34’) Ayoze (penalty), 1-2: (39’) Adrian, 2-2: (90+4’) Barral (penalty)
Referee: Javier Estrada Fernández. He showed yellow card to Cases (14’), Laure (33’), De Las Cuevas (66’), Iván Hernández (80’), Barral (81’), Juan Rodríguez (85’), Aythami (90+4’) and Colotto (90+4’)
Venue: El Molinón (25,000)
Other statistics: Ball possession (56% - 44%); Attempts to score (5 – 5); Total shots (17 - 9); Shots on target (9 - 4); Saves by the keepers (2 - 5); Corner-kicks  (3 - 5); Offsides (2 - 3); Fouls committed (15 - 7); Accuracy in the passes (85.48% - 75.99%)




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