Competition news


22 Nov 2008
Depor searches a second consecutive victory at home as it hosts Athletic Bilbao at the Riazor. Lotina is missing Riki who is injured and has planned to play with Bodipo in attack, while Guardado will keep his place despite the long trip from Mexico. At Athletic, all hopes are on Fernando Llorente, striker that’s living a very good moment.

During this liga season, the record of Deportivo at the Riazor has been positive, and it’s that the Galicians have added ten of the fifteen points disputed there. However, after eleven matchdays, Lotina’s Depor hasn’t been able to achieve a back-to-back win at home. The season at the Riazor started with the win over Real Madrid (2-1), later the squad drew with Mallorca (0-0), defeated Numancia (1-0) lost with Sporting (0-3) and the last result was the 1-0 victory over Espanyol a fortnight ago.

Therefore Depor searches to add two straight wins at home and at the same time, to keep intact its European aspirations. In front it will have an Athletic Bilbao that still in the drop zone though it defeated last place Osasuna during the last weekend (2-0). So far the Basques haven’t won yet playing away from san Mam?s on this liga season: 0-0 at Malaga (matchday 02), 1-1 at Recreativo (matchday 04), 0-4 at Sevilla (matchday 06), 2-3 at Real Madrid (matchday 08) and 3-3 at Mallorca (matchday 10).

Historically, the Riazor has been a tough stadium for Athletic Bilbao, but the Basques have achieved two victories and one draw there within the last four seasons, the only defeat in that period was the 0-3 setback of the past season. A curiosity is that Athletic rarely scores more than one goal during its visits to La Coru?a, the only occasion in which the Basques scored three goals was in the 3-3 draw of the season 46/47, while they have remained scoreless in 16 of 38 Primera matches played in La Coru?a.

Riki has been ruled out of the squad that will face Athletic Bilbao due to an injury on his right knee (tendonitis). Lotina hopes the Madrilenian will be fit for the UEFA Cup game against Feyenoord Rotterdam, but he won’t be able to play on this match. That’s why the Basque coach has decided to replace him with Rodolfo Bodipo, forward that’s making his second appearance as starter in this liga season (the previous one was at Pamplona against Osasuna).

Bodipo was supposed to be a ?discard’ at the beginning of the season, but Lotina has been counting with him in recent games, and the Guinean attacker has responded with two goals, one in Copa against Elche and other in liga against Real Betis. With Riki out of the squad, Lotina has included Omar Bravo and Mista in the list for the game. The Mexican is returning after the long trip from North America though he only played eight minutes in the game against Honduras, while the ex-Valencia is coming back after a cervical contracture that sidelined him of the game with Atl?tico Madrid. 

Another novelty is that Albert Lopo is suspended after picking his fifth yellow card of the season on the past weekend, his place will be taken by Z? Castro, defender that missed the game against Atl?tico Madrid for contract reasons. His partner at the centre of the defence will be Adri??n L??pez ?Piscu’, youngsters that replaced the Portuguese at the Calder??n stadium. The defensive zone is completed with Daniel Aranzubia at the goal, Manuel Pablo at the right-back position and Filipe Luis on the left side.

Midfield was supposed to be territory for Sergio and Juan Rodr?guez, but in the last training Lotina tested Antonio Tom??s in the position of Sergio, therefore that will be the main doubt until the kick-off. Other of the doubts during the week was to know if Lotina will keep playing with Andr?s Guardado at the left wing, this after the Mexican completed an exhausting journey to America that included 90 minutes in a very physical encounter between Mexico and Honduras, but the player said on Friday that he was fit to play and Lotina decided to include him on his plans for the match. The offensive formation is completed with Angel Lafita covering the right wing and with Joan Verd?? performing on the playmaking function.

It will be a special game for Daniel Aranzubia, keeper that spent his whole sporting life at Athletic, as he explained during the week: ?In football you spend the time fulfilling stages and I am very proud of been there for 14 years, but it is over and now I am living a new phase. Sometimes you don’t own your destiny. Of course, I would love to spend more years there, but right now I am at Deportivo and I am willing to have more years here.?

About his supposed confrontation with Caparr??s when he was at Athletic, the Basque keeper said ?Of course, I will say hello to him. It is a matter of tastes. For some coaches you should play, for others you don’t count. You can’t please everybody. I have to demonstrate some things to myself, to the people and to my coach, and nothing more.?

Juan Rodr?guez also talked before the encounter, the Andalusian was emphasizing the importance of a victory ?We have to correct the errors committed on the other day and try to fix them out against Athletic. We must be ambitious and look everyday for more things. We are in a comfortable position and those three points are fundamental in order to stay there.? About the fact of been facing Caparr??s, the Andalusian said: ?It is only one more game, it doesn’t matter who is the coach or the team we are facing, we always need to go out for the three points.?

Z? Castro, who is returning after missing the game against Atletico, was saying that anything could happen in la liga, and that Deportivo is currently fulfilling a good campaign ?In this liga anybody can win or lose a game due the minimal detail. As example: we were playing fine against Atletico and later they scored four times, and against Betis we could reach half-time losing in the score and we ended winning 0-3. That’s what makes so spectacular this league. Right now we face a game that’s very important for us. To win it would mean to continue with our positive streak. For me, we are fulfilling a great season.?

The absence of Riki represents the third casualty for injury reasons in order to face the game against Athletic, the other two players at the injury room are Pablo Amo and Julian de Guzman. Cristian and Laure were not called for technical reasons, while Dudu Aouate and Gustavo Mun??a still sidelined by Lotina.

Called players (18): Aranzub?a, Fabricio (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Adri??n L??pez ?Piscu’, Ze Castro, Colotto, Filipe (defenders); Antonio Tom??s, Guardado, Juan Rodr?guez, Lafita, Pablo ?lvarez, Sergio, Valer??n, Verd?? (midfielders); Bodipo , Mista and Omar Bravo (strikers).

The Basque team still living in relegation, but in its last three official matches it added four of six points in liga plus the pass to the next round in Copa del Rey. And the main responsible for all this was Fernando Llorente, striker that scored a goal in the stoppage time to allow a 3-3 draw at Mallorca, and that later scored a decisive penalty at Huelva to certify the qualification in Copa. To end his great week, the Pamplona-born attacker was the executioner of Osasuna during the past weekend as he scored the second goal that gave the second victory of the season to Athletic.

National coach Vicente Del Bosque is an admirer of Llorente and that’s why the striker was called for the friendly against Chile, game in which he debuted with Spain’s senior squad as he performed during the last twenty minutes. However, Llorente had a poor start of season, because he only scored one goal within the first nine games, but now has added two to his tally within the last two liga matches. The fans are even seeing him as the successor of Ismael Urzaiz, one of the historic scorers at the club. So far, the 23-year old striker has scored 20 goals in 106 Primera encounters. And until now, he never scored a goal against Deportivo.

Other player that has helped the squad with his goals is Andoni Iraola, right-back defender that has scored three times on the liga campaign (all from the penalty spot). Two of those three goals came within the last four matches. Also, the game at the Riazor represents the second return of Joaqu?n Caparr??s to La Coru?a after his exit from Deportivo. As it happened during his stage at the Galician side, Caparr??s has been making several changes in the lineups of Athletic, like for example in the double pivote figure, place where youngster Markel Susaeta was a starter in the first four games just to end in the bench in the following four. He regained a place in the 2-0 win over Osasuna, move that sited Francisco Javier Yeste on the bench. Now Yeste is a last-minute casualty for the game due to a muscular problem. Other injured player is defender Koikili Lertxundi (ankle sprain). Despite the rotations in past games, for the confrontation against Depor, it is expected that Caparr??s will keep the same formation that defeated the Navarrans.

But there’s a forced change the ex-Sevilla manager needs to complete. In the game against Osasuna, central defender Ustaritz Aldekoatalora had to be replaced at minute 31 due to an abductor injury. Same problem that has sidelined him from the trip to La Coru?a: But in the other hand, Fernando Amorebieta has finally surpassed a muscular injury that left him out of action during the last two and a half matches. Therefore, The Venezuelan with Basque origin will take the place of Ustaritz at the centre of the defence.

The rest will be the same squad of the past weekend, with keeper Gorka Iraizoz at the goal, Iraola at the right back position, Amorebieta playing alongside Aitor Ocio at the centre of the defence and Mikel Balenziaga on the left side, this last player is fulfilling his first season at Primera Divisi??n. In midfield, Markel Susaeta will keep his place alongside Pablo Orbaiz in the double pivote function. Javi Mart?nez, youngster that scored the two goals during the last victory of Athletic at the Riazor (2006/2007), will perform on the right wing, ex-Osasuna David L??pez in the playmaking function while Joseba Garmendia will cover the left.  Finally Llorente will play up front.

Gorka Iraizoz will be the keeper of the squad, the ex-Espanyol talked about the good moment lived by Aranzubia, his ex-rival at Athletic ?I am really content for him. After all he has been through, he deserved this joy. He’s a great person, a great professional and deserves everything he is currently living.? About Lotina, coach that allowed his debut at Primera, the ex-Espanyol said: ?I admire Lotina and I must give the thanks to him. It will be a pleasant reencounter, but I want to win my game and later to see things are fine for him. His defensive strategy is pretty strong. He knows the importance of achieving a clean sheet and only leaks a few goals.?

Defender Andoni Iraola was explaining the needs of Athletic at this point of the season ?We still in the drop zone and the teams at the back are tighten the situation. It is clear we needed to win the past game, but the true is that we need to win more than one match. What we need is a good streak of victories, not to win one and let time pass. We must find a good streak to reach those teams that are talking, the ones that are now out of our reach.?

Finally, Iraola talked about the rival ?They are fine though the other day they allowed four goals from Atl?tico. They harmed us in strategic plays during the past year and we must be alert, they also have in-form players up front. In the end Depor is a good team that’s making a good start of season and that made a good second round in the past year. They are facing the game with confidence and represent a good team that will put things difficult to us.?

Midfielder David L??pez is also hoping for victory ?We should keep adding three points against a direct rival, so we must go through this. They play well in defense and we must take advantage of our chances. Depor is a compact block and that means this is going to be a tough match.?

Called players (18): Iraizoz, Armando (goalkeepers); Amorebieta, Garmendia, Iraola, Aitor Ocio, Etxeita, Balenziaga (defenders); David L??pez, Gabilondo, Susaeta, Orbaiz, Gurpegi, Javi Mart?nez (midfielders); Del Olmo, Llorente, Etxeberria and Ion V?lez (strikers).

Deportivo: Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Piscu, Ze Castro, Filipe – Sergio or Antonio Tom??s, Juan Rodr?guez – Lafita, Verd??, Guardado – Bodipo.
Athletic: Iraizoz - Iraola, Ocio, Amorebieta, Balenziaga - Susaeta, Orbaiz - Javi Mart?nez, David L??pez, Garmendia - Fernando Llorente.
Referee: Mejuto Gonz??lez
Kick-off: 21h00 (Riazor)
Record Vs Athletic: 28 wins for Depor, 22 draws, 26 wins for Athletic (Primera)
Record at the Riazor: 20 wins for Depor, 11 draws, 7 wins for Athletic (Primera)


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