Competition news


11 May 2011
Two lucky goals and a big heart. That was what Deportivo needed to clinch a huge victory that approaches the permanence. The team struggled a lot as it missed the same fresh ideas of the game with Sporting.

On Monday, Deportivo and Athletic didn’t give any clue of their lineups for this meeting, but it was totally different on Tuesday. Depor’s first team trained in the morning and Lotina tested the same lineup used against Sporting, with the novelty of Lopo replacing Aythami at the centre of the defense. It was the same at Athletic Bilbao, because the club presented the lineup of the team in its website five hours before the kick-off, an unusual thing on these days.

In the end Lotina presented a 4-3-3, with Aranzubia at the goal, Laure played at the right-back spot, Manuel Pablo performed on the left, Colotto and Lopo were the central defenders, the trivote figure was composed by Juan Rodriguez, Rubén Pérez and Guardado. Riki and Adrian were the two attackers, while Valerón played behind the duo.

At Athletic, Caparrós was presenting his best starting eleven; with Fernando Llorente and Gaizka Toquero as the two references in attack. Iker Muniain was recovered from a knock and was a starter on the left wing. Another novelty was that Mikel San José was sat on the bench and his place at the centre of the defense was claimed by Fernando Amorebieta.

Also, two hours before the match it was known that Lotina was suspended for two matches due to his protests against referee Estrada Fernandez in the past meeting with Sporting. He followed the match from the stands [he was in a radio booth]. The competition committee also lifted the yellow card saw by Laure in that match.

A very nervous Deportivo had a lot of problems against a calmed Athletic, a feeling that was increased as the Basques found a quick goal in one of the many errors committed by the Galicians. But Depor was also lucky to find a goal at the middle of the half, just when the situation seemed very complicated.

There was a polemic play at minute 1, Valerón drilled a pass into the area and Riki was chasing the ball and fell down to the ground as Iraola was trying to clear the danger. It wasn’t penalty. And all the enthusiasm at the stands disappeared in the next minute as Gaizka Toquero scored for the visitors.

Valerón lost the ball at midfield and Iraola ran thirty meters to end drilling a perfect pass into the edge of area, and Toquero was there to turn off and cross Aranzubia with a quick move. It was an error of the central defenders, but also of the midfielders as nobody was able to cut the run of the right-back.

The goal frozen the spirit of Deportivo and also of the fans at the Riazor, the team was looking too nervous, while the Basques were feeling pretty comfortable with the ball possession, always trying to complete quick plays searching for the wings to end releasing crosses targeting the head of Llorente.

Depor was inexistent in attack within the first twenty minutes, and it was lucky enough to find a goal from nowhere. The play was made up between Adrian and Guardado, the rebound was found by the Asturian attacker, who released a crossed shot that was going out, but it hit Gurpegui and it went to the far post of Iraizoz and then into the back of the net. Still, the referee gave the goal to Adrian, who now has eight in his tally.

The goal brought a refreshing calmness to Deportivo, now the Galicians were having more ideas and at the same time were putting more pressure at midfield, which started to give a lot of problems to the rival, but still Athletic was dangerous up front through the runs of Muniain. At minute 25, in one of those plays, Iraola released a cross from the right and Llorente was alone enough to head the ball on target, but it hit the crossbar.

In the rest of the first part Depor had the initiative and the ball possession, but despite been trying to move the ball with the same velocity than against Sporting, the true is that the Galicians never found the cracks at Athletic’s defense. The only clear chance within the last fifteen minutes was a combination between Juan Rodriguez and Adrian at the left side of the area, the Asturian ended the play sending a volley cross searching for Guardado, and the ball hit the crossbar.

More drama for the second part; Depor was still jammed in attack and missed the same sparkle saw at El Molinón just three days before, but again it found the goal in a new play where a rival ended touching the ball to score a precious goal. Then the team spent the last fifteen minutes protecting the golden victory.

The final forty-five minutes had the same tension of the first part; things were equal at the start; Valerón was the best man at Depor with his accurate passes, while Llorente and Toquero were a real threat for both Colotto and Lopo. However, both teams lacked depth and there wasn’t any clear attempt to score within the first ten minutes.

And the first chance to score in the half came until minute 57; Valerón drilled a perfect pass into the area, Riki was there, but his powerful shot went into the centre, just where Iraizoz was standing, and the ex-Espanyol goalie cleared the danger.

Meanwhile, Athletic was having some sporadic chances, like a header of Llorente or a volley of Iraola that almost surprised Aranzubia. At minute 60, Juan Rodriguez found a rebound at the edge of the area, but his shot went over the crossbar.

Guardado was unusually inaccurate with his plays, which caused problems to Riki and Adrian as all the weight of the game was passing through the boots of Valerón, but the main concern was that the players were exhausted, and some men were dragging some minor injuries, like the cases of Guardado, Manuel Pablo and Adrián.

And just when the team seemed more tired, the second goal for Depor arrived. Again Valerón lighten the way as he drilled a pass into the left wing, Adrian ran ten meters and drilled a new pass into the path of Riki, but left-back Castillo came from behind with a sliding tackle; he tried to clear the danger but instead he scored the goal as Riki was already waiting at the far post.

The second goal raised the party at the stands and a sense of relief could be perceived; Riki had a big chance to score the third goal after a new pass of Valerón, but the Madrilenian throw himself into the ground instead of searching the goal, and he was booked for the show (73’). It wasn’t a good game for the ex-Getafe man.

Then Lotina, who lasted 76 minutes without making any change, started to shake the bench. Firstly he removed Juan Rodriguez from the pitch, the curiosity is that Aythami Artiles was the one that entered for him. The Canarian central defender played the last fifteen minutes as a defensive midfielder, joining Rubén Pérez.

 Depor spent the last fifteen minutes locked at their own side of the field; Athletic Bilbao had the ball possession, but never was able to find any crack at Depor’s defense, just during a cross from the left that found Toquero alone against Aranzubia, but the twisted header of the striker missed the target. Lotina spent the last minutes trying to waste some time and allowed the entries of Lassad and Juan Dominguez for Adrian and Riki. Then all the players celebrated the victory as the referee whistled the end.

It wasn’t a good presentation of Deportivo’s players, but sometimes the result is more important than the performance and everybody left the stadium with smile on their faces. Depor had to come from behind –the second time on this season- and conquered a valuable victory that lights the road to the permanence. Valerón played a great game and his best partner in attack was Adrian.

In other results Malaga and Racing Santander won their games and are close to reach the permanence, but Sporting and Getafe lost, and with tomorrow’s game between Real Sociedad and Zaragoza, the matchday will end with at least four clubs below Depor, which means a big relief in La Coruña. On Sunday, Depor visits the mighty Barcelona CF (21h00 CET), side that could be celebrating the title that day if tomorrow the Catalans are able to add at least one point against Levante UD.

Deportivo: (4-3-3) Aranzubia – Laure, Colotto, Lopo, Manuel Pablo – Rubén Pérez, Guardado, Juan Rodríguez (Aythami 76’) – Adrian (Lassad 85’), Valerón, Riki (Juan Domingue90+1’).
Athletic Bilbao: (4-4-2) Iraizoz - Iraola, Ekiza, Amorebieta, Castillo - David López (Gabilondo 67’), Gurpegui (Itturaspe 57’), Javi Martínez (Ibai Gómez 76’), Muniain - Toquero, Llorente.
Goals: 0-1: (3’) Toquero, 1-1: (23’) Adrian, 2-1: (71’) Castillo (o.g.)
Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz. He showed yellow card to Juan Rodriguez (30’), Guardado (44’), Gurpegui (50’), Riki (73’) and Amorebieta (90+1’)
Venue: Riazor (34,000)
Other statistics: Ball possession (47% - 53%); Attempts to score (6 – 6); Total shots (10 - 12); Shots on target (3 - 3); Saves by the keepers (1 - 2); Corner-kicks  (5 - 4); Offsides (3 - 3); Fouls committed (6 - 12); Accuracy in the passes (80.04% - 76.73%)




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