Competition news


12 May 2008
The media in Spain praised the performance of Deportivo at the Vicente Calder??n, although the more emphasised thing was the return of Atl?ętico Madrid to the biggest competition in Europe. The papers in Galicia appointed the strategy implemented by Lotina was useful in order to control the game, but not to create enough chances in attack.

La Voz de Galicia: After the breakdown at La Romareda, place where Zaragoza went over Deportivo, Lotina prepared this new away game with the clear intention his midfield would not fell down this time, for which he retouched the scheme in the centre and ended with a 5-4-1 against Atl?ętico Madrid. Instead of two pivotes and two playmakers, he used a diamond in midfield, with Wilhelmsson ahead of De Guzman, Sergio on the right and Juan Rodriguez on the left. This slight variation gives greater consistency to midfield, with more presence in the area. But the problem is the usual: Lotina has to choose between this domain, which gives to him control and ball possession, and the depth, very impaired without Lafita.

With Juan Rodriguez on, Deportivo commanded the game on the pitch and threw Atl?ętico out from the meeting, who seemed anything else but not a squad searching the Champions League. However, this Depor without mordant just barely took advantage of this domain because it just attacked briefly and without shooting on target. But it dominated. So much that Camacho and Raul Garcia were missing the ball and Atl?ętico was lost at the Calderon, because it didn't know how to put its tooth over a seamless Deportivo that was playing very comfortable, so it opted for the only available resource: the counterattack.

And then, it was when the problems for Los Blanquiazules begun. With the offensive arsenal that Atl?ętico's Ag??ero and company possess, the offensive poverty of Depor became into a luxury, something too expensive, because it's very difficult for Los Rojiblancos to remain scoreless. A mismatch at the edge of half-time was enough to lose the initiative and the game. Lotina didn't alter the picture until the entry of Taborda and Depor was lost in its own inefficiency. Alfonso Andrade.

Marca (Madrid): 4,070 days, something that can be said really fast, or what is the same, more than eleven years is what Atl?ętico Madrid has needed in order to return to the elite of European football, to get a ticket for the highest continental competition, to the Champions League. But it did it in its own and particularly way, suffering until Ramirez Dominguez whistled the end in a meeting against a Deportivo that, realistically, if it had taken a point from the Vicente Calderon, it wouldn't be unfair, for nothing. But for once, the fate was favourable to Los Colchoneros. First, with a goal not without fortune at the end of the first act, scored by Diego Forl??n, then with a shot of Fabricio Coloccini that hit the left post of the goal defended by Leo Franco, just five minutes before the end. Javier Fern??ndez Borrell.

La Opinion A Coru?▒a: Once again without goal. The intentions of Lotina with the change of Juan Rodriguez for Angel Lafita was only partially successful. Deportivo took the ball possession at the Vicente Calderon and arrived with danger to the edge of the area. It only missed the forcefulness of other meetings to take the advantage in the score and play later with the anxiety of Javier Aguirre's team. With the presence of Juan Rodriguez, Deportivo knew how to manage the ball and it played calmly. In addition, both Sergio and De Guzman dominated the game with much discretion to exploit the speed of Xisco and Wilhelmsson, during their continuing efforts towards the wings.

Since that point, the team suffered from naivety and it didn't represent any problem to Leo Franco. The Argentinean goalie who didn't have to work hardly simply because Deportivo only shot on target once during the first part. It was a free-kick of Filipe from 30 meters. The second half began with the same script than the first 45 minutes. Deportivo had the ball, it was trying to carry out with the attacks based in the combinative game, but it didn't approach to the area. Meanwhile, Atl?ętico was basing its actions on fast counterattacks when it managed to snatch the ball from the Galicians.

Lotina maintained its initial bet despite the changes made during the second half. He simply refreshed the positions with the entries of Riki for Xisco and Angel Lafita for Christian Wilhelmsson. The fatigue played in favour of Atl?ętico's interests during the second half. Javier Aguirre's team had the best choices, when the union between Deportivo's defenders and midfielders began to disappear. Los Blanquiazules remained without power in front of Leo Franco, except in actions during the stationary plays, which this time were wasted by a lack of wisdom.

The final summary is that what wasn't achieved by the game of Los Colchoneros, was conquered through an isolated action in which the ball fell at the feet of one of their lethal strikers. The Uruguayan Forl??n only needed to put his boot during a cross of Maxi in order to leave his team in advantage. Deportivo closed the league as a visitor and gave the desired impression by its coach since the start of season, but at the same time showing the same deficiencies at the hour of been defining the plays. Arturo Pati?▒o.

AS (Madrid): I guess it had to be like that: suffering until the end. The crowd at the verge of a nervous breakdown, unable to watch the game, fearing the tragedy. Yes, it had to be like that. But when Ramirez Dominguez whistled the end, the Calderon erupted, the players went mad and buried a decade of mediocrity, of total misery and a slow return to the summit. Atl?ętico achieved the Champions (League), eleven years later and that is the only thing that matters.

Without mystery nor suspense life would be meaningless, and Atl?ętico is a life with a striped suit, so let us begin by the climax. Minute 86. Depor, as motivated as if they were fighting to win the title, it had Atl?ętico locked up in its area through lateral free-kicks. Behind were the huge saves by Aouate and the long-hour in which the locals played with comfort. Fear was flooding everything.

And in one of those magical disappearances by the Madrilenian defence, Sergio was found alone with the ball two meters from the goal. Time was stopped. And with it, the defenders. It were five seconds that seemed an eternity for the Calder??n. The midfielder lifted his head and he saw the entrance of Coloccini, alone, totally alone. It was a goal or goal. And it was post. Not content with its first favour, the goddess fortune somehow avoided the instinctive clearance of Antonio Lopez to smash the ball into the chest of Leo Franco in its way to the goal. The ball ended up far away and I hope that with this, it also clears the complains and the other topics. Fate must be a deserved thing my friends.

And yesterday Atl?ętico had deserved it. Especially by its two heroes and its captain, Forl??n, Ag??ero and Maxi. It was this last one who contagious all his companions with a spirit and concentration often non-existent. This was a big day and Simeone was needed. Instead it was Maxi, chasing every ball as if it were Marilyn Monroe. Or almost. Camacho and Raul Garcia were lieutenants with projection. The attitude was a job for both of them.

About the football, it was a matter of the same ones. Ag??ero still immense, doing well what's easy, difficult and also the impossible, as to control the ball and shot in tenths of a second, something that would fractured a couple of vertebrae to any other human. But Aouate saved three clear chances and when he avoided the keeper, De Guzman appeared to cover his shoulders.

So the goal was a thing of Forl??n, just when half-time and the nerves were appearing. Good pass from Maxi and a shot of Forl??n that went between the legs of Aouate. A deserved reward for the Uruguayan, who has been playing dead for several weeks and instead of been issuing complaints, its scoring goals and running, endless effort.

Please forgive me the fans of Depor for its minor role in the chronicle so far, but its good game fell victim to the rival's party. The defeat hurts, but less. The UEFA has finally escaped, something that was almost impossible, but the chances for the Intertoto still intact, which today is almost the same, in the good way. A draw at the Riazor against Villarreal will be enough to close its resurrection with a trip to Europe. And the base promises.

Good Depor. Yesterday it missed some spicy, with Xisco disappeared. But the ball was theirs for a long time and always knew what to do with it. De Guzman did the dirty work, while the resurrected Sergio put the talent and Wilhelmsson, speed and insistence. However, although Pablo committed a silly penalty on Riki, its attacks were more a feeling than a reality. Leo Franco didn't have many problems than the ones committed by himself. A few, by the way.

And so, between the domination of the visitors and fugitive local attacks, it came the shock of Coloccini, the end and the celebration. The fans were removed from ten years of misery, a relegation, the infamous biennium in hell, many signings that were a comedy, so many disappointments that neither were hurting (not too much), painful jokes, sad Intertotos and the goodbye of the only one that honoured the shirt, Fernando Torres. Some even approached Neptune (a monument in Madrid where Atl?ętico's fans used to celebrate its titles), who looked surprised: poor man, he neither remembered. Perhaps excessive, but understandable. Atletico is a team of Champions League and its on its way back to greatness. It was about time. I?▒ako D?şaz-Guerra.

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