Competition news


22 Mar 2009
Grey game for a Deportivo that continues to miss the European positions. Lotina’s side took an early advantage thanks to Verd??, but the game of Betis complicated the things and Aranzubia had more interventions than the chances enjoyed by the local strikers.

Lotina surprised everybody as he left Tunisian Lassad sited on the bench, therefore Riki started the game in attack. The rest was the same squad that lost at Sporting Gij??n, with Guardado, Lafita and Verd?? as the companions of Riki up front. In defence, Colotto was making his second straight appearance in liga covering one of the two spots at the centre.

At Betis, coach Francisco Chaparro kept Arturo Garc?a ?Arz??’ in the formation while David Odonkor was on the bench. The main hopes for the visitors were with the quartet composed by Emana, Mark Gonz??lez, Oliveira and Sergio Garc?a.

The first part was without doubt the best half of the game, because Riki and Emana were the forces breaking the balance over the pitch, the ones that were creating the best opportunities to score for both teams. Deportivo was the side that started strongly, with Juan Rodr?guez sending a wide shot just 44 seconds after the kick-off.

Lafita was another player that was very active in the first part, he sent two dangerous crosses that didn’t find any receiver. Then Verd?? appeared trying to surprise Ricardo as the Catalan chipped the ball into the goal, but the visiting keeper was there to stop his effort (6’). And Betis responded with an impressive shot of Oliveira after a pass of Mark Gonz??lez, Aranzubia ?flied’ through the air and was able to deflect the ball and later it hit the crossbar. In the end the Basque keeper contained the rebound.

And surprisingly, the goal of Depor came in the next play, because Aranzubia cleared the ball rapidly and starting a fast counterattack for the home side. The ball was chased by Riki until the edge of the area, Ricardo came out but he missed to clear the ball, then the Madrilenian striker was faster enough to get the rebound on the right, elude three rivals with a double manoeuvre and sent a volley to the penalty spot, place where Joan Verd?? arrived to just push the ball in. It is the sixth season goal for the Catalan and the fifth in this liga campaign.

It was the perfect start for Depor, with just nine minutes in the clock and already with the advantage in the scoresheet. But the true is that Lotina’s side never felt comfortable over the pitch, mainly because the moves of Achille Emana were a real headache for Depor’s defence throughout the game. Just one minute after the goal, the French had an attempt to score after a pass from Juanito, but his effort went out.

At minute 14, the same Emana appeared again and he was close to tie the actions, this time through a free-kick, but Aranzubia saved Depor. And at the 17th minute, Verd?? missed a clear opportunity to double the advantage for his team. Again the play was started by the couple Riki-Lafita as the Aragonian sent a cross that was headed by the Madrilenian, it turned into a perfect pass that left Verd?? alone against the goal, but inexplicably, the Catalan sent the ball over the crossbar.

Then the match reached an strange period of ten minutes in which three penalties were protested by both teams, first it was Betis as Laure committed a mistake that left Mark Gonz??lez alone against Aranzubia, the Chilean felt down inside the area as the keeper was trying to stop him, but Ayza G??mez didn’t whistle anything (25’). Three minutes later Colotto was touching the ball with the hand inside Depor’s area and again no call was made.

And at minute 32, Guardado was falling to the ground inside of the visiting area, again no call was made. In counterattack of that play, Betis found the equaliser. And all thanks to Achille Emana as he directed the play drilling a perfect pass between Laure and Lopo that Sergio Garc?a found inside the box to beat Aranzubia.

Just one minute later, Aranzubia was saving Depor as the keeper stopped an attempt of Mark Gonz??lez after a pass from Oliveira. The goal blocked the mind of the Galicians as they wouldn’t reach the goal of Ricardo in the remaining tem minutes of the first part. Actually, Betis was closer to score again as Aranzubia had to save, again, a dangerous shot of Sergio Garc?a after a pass from Mark Gonz??lez (41’).

As it happened in the first part, Depor was the side that was better at the start of the half. The first approximation was for the locals as Riki was close to score through a dangerous free-kick that Ricardo was forced to sent to a corner-kick (46’). But after that occasion, Depor, disappeared from the pitch, literally, manly because the visitors were more worried about keeping the tie than to search for the victory.

The spaces were now obstructed and the duo Lafita-Riki missed fluidity while the local had more difficulties to generate offensive game. Then Lotina decided to make a couple of changes, Verd?? and Riki left the pitch, this last player suffering muscular problems, while Valer??n and Lassad entered to the game. But the true is that the level of the locals didn’t improve no matter the modifications.

Actually, what occurred was the opposite, because it was Betis the side that had two clear chances in the final twenty minutes. First as Oliveira had an attempt to score from a direct free-kick that was saved by Aranzubia (74’). And eight minutes before the end, the Brazilian was also close to score after a great pass of Sergio Garc?a that left him alone against Aranzubia, and again the Riojano saved Depor as he won the one-on-one confrontation.

In the middle of these two actions, Lassad had the best chance of Depor in the second half, all after Laure assisted him inside the area, the Tunisian sent the ball over the crossbar no matter he was alone against the goal (80’). Also, for the final 15 minutes, Cristian entered for Guardado. The Mexican had a discrete participation, because he was not so incisive in attack, and even failed a couple of passes that compromised his team in defence.

For the first time on the season, Depor was unable to win a game at the Riazor after taking the lead in the scoresheet. It was a promising start with Verd??, Lafita and Riki as real threats for Betis. The Galicians even took an early lead in the game thanks to a great play of the recent father Riki. But Betis was always a hard rival that, leaded by Emana, gave hard battle. Aranzubia even had to make three vital saves in order to keep the game tied. In the second half, the offensive game of the first part disappeared, only two attempts from Riki and Lassad were the only approximations for Depor in the final 45 minutes.

The result is a huge step backwards for Depor, because again the Galicians missed a new opportunity to enter into the UEFA zone. Depor still 7th thanks to the huge defeat of Malaga at Barcelona (0-6), but the win of Valencia at Racing (0-1) plus the defeat of Atletico at Mallorca (2-0) is leaving a ?knot’ of four teams tied with 43 points (Atletico, Valencia, Deportivo and Malaga). In the next weekend, there’s no football due the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, therefore Depor returns in 15 days as Lotina’s side will pay a visit to last place RCD Espanyol (date to be announced yet). For that game Juan Rodr?guez is suspended as he picked the fifth yellow card of the liga season in this game.

Deportivo: Aranzubia - Laure, Lopo, Colotto, Filipe Luis - Sergio, Juan Rodr?guez - Lafita, Verd?? (Valer??n .62’), Guardado (Cristian 77’) - Riki (Lassad .62’).
Betis: Ricardo - Nelson, Melli, Juanito, Fernando Vega - Eman?? (Monz??n 88’), Memeth Aurelio, Arzu, Mark Gonz??lez (Dami?? 58’); Sergio Garc?a (Rivera 88’), Oliveira.
Goals: 1-0: (9’) Verd??, 1-1: (33’) Sergio Garc?a.
Referee: Ayza G??mez  He showed yellow card to Mark Gonz??lez (51’), Sergio (53’), Juan Rodr?guez (64’),Melli (71’), Oliveira (88’). The coach of Betis,  Paco Chaparro, was sent off (89’)
Venue: Riazor (20,000)
Other statistics: Ball possession (54% - 46%); Total shots (18 - 16); Shots on target (4 - 7); Saves by the keepers (3 - 1); Corner-kicks  (5 - 1); Offsides (5 - 2); Fouls committed (17 - 11); Accuracy in the passes (79.59% - 86.27%)



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