Competition news


02 Nov 2009
First draw in liga for Deportivo; Lotina’s team could only pick up a point after having the initiative throughout the match and even after hitting the post in three opportunities. However the Galicians still living in Europe.

Lotina decided to return to the 4-2-3-1 system and included Lassad Nouioui in the starting formation; it was the first appearance of the Tunisian striker as starter since been replaced at half-time during the visit to Tenerife. Also, it was a novelty to see Juan Rodriguez occupying the right wing, though the Andalusian midfielder is used to play in different positions. Lotina knew that Sporting is a team that puts a lot of pressure up front and trusted in Lassad, Riki and Juan Rodriguez in order to bring the needed mobility to the Galician squad.

Aranzubia was at the goal; Manuel Pablo was at the right-back position, Filipe defending the left sector, Albert Lopo was fit to play and joined Diego Colotto at the centre. Sergio and Antonio Tomás were the two pivotes, Juan Rodriguez covered the right wing and Andrés Guardado was attacking by the left. Lassad was the playmaker and Riki the lonely attacker.

At Sporting, coach Manolo Preciado was presenting the expected 4-2-3-1 formation, with Miguel de Las Cuevas as the main reference in attack. As it was expected, at least 7,000 Asturian fans traveled with the team and were cheering Sporting at the Riazor.

The game started with a polemic play; Riki was left alone against Juan Pablo and the keeper touched him trying to block the ball, the Madrilenian player fell down to the ground, but referee Pérez Burrull didn’t whistle anything. It must be reminded that Sporting Gijón is the Primera team that has committed more penalties on this season (5).

After the play, it must be said that it was an equal start, with both teams trying to find their game over the grass of the Riazor. Sporting was spending the time at their zone and trying to surprise through a counterattack, while Depor was having the ball, but having difficulties trying to connect three straight passes, reason why the attacks of the locals were ending in long throws coming from Lopo and Colotto.

At minute 11 Juan Rodriguez had an attempt to score, the play was started by Filipe, who assisted the Andalusian midfielder, but the shot of the ex-Malaga player was deflected by a rival. Four minutes later Manuel Pablo started a counterattack after Sporting was throwing a free-kick at Depor’s area, the Canarian assisted Lassad, who sent the ball over the crossbar from the edge of the area.

The first clear approximation for the visitors came at the 19th minute, a cross from Luis Morán was searching for central defender Gregory, but Lopo arrived first and cleared the danger. Depor responded with a great play of Riki after a pass from Colotto, the Madrilenian controlled the ball with the chest and released a strong shot that hit the post.

By the time of Riki’s play, Depor was having the initiative, but it was lacking effectiveness and some good luck in attack, while the visitors were still trying to surprise through counterattacks that never represented a problem for Aranzubia. Captain Miguel Marcos Madera ‘Michel’ had to leave the game due to injury reasons and he was replaced by Sergio Matabuena, a defensive substitution because Michel is one of the brains at midfield while Cantabrian Matabuena is a defensive player, something that just made more difficult the attacks from the visitors.

At minute 41 Lassad was assisted by Guardado and attempted an acrobatic shot, but it was stopped by Botia. One minute later Depor found the reward for its performance in the first part, and it couldn’t be in a different way: a set-piece. Sergio threw a free-kick at one side and the resulting cross was headed by Juan Rodriguez inside the area, the ball hit the crossbar and rebounded in the goal line, then Lassad just had to push it in. It’s the second goal in liga for the Tunisian and the eighth for Depor in stationary plays.

The first part ended as it started: with polemic. Because central defender Gregory lost the control and hit Juan Rodriguez, action that deserved a red card, but Pérez Burrull didn’t even whistle a foul, something that caused a fight on the pitch. Depor deserved the lead, with Riki and Lassad bringing the needed mobility and that was giving a lot of troubles to Sporting. Filipe and Guardado were also very active, while the counterattacks of Sporting were ineffective.

The script was the same of the first part, with Deportivo having the initiative and with Sporting trying to reach the equaliser through a fast counterattack. The difference is that this half was played under a pouring rain. In the first minute Guardado sent a dangerous cross that visiting keeper Juan Pablo cleared. At minute 50, Riki was again close to score, Manuel Pablo sent a good pass and the Madrilenian had an attempt with the heel, but the ball just passed close to the left post.

Depor was still insisting, Riki, the most dangerous attacker at Depor, made a great play on the right and he sent a cross into the path of Lassad, but Matabuena arrived first and cleared the danger. The first approximation for Sporting came at minute 57, Diego Castro led a counterattack after a corner for Depor, but the Galician player missed the target from the edge of the area. One minute later Lora sent a cross that Barral headed into the hands of Aranzubia.

A new response came by Depor, once again a play made by Riki and with Lassad as the assistor, it ended wit the ex-Getafe firing on target, but also into the hands of Juan Pablo. Sporting started to push up front and little by little it was reaching Aranzubia. At minute 64, De Las Cuevas found the ball after a corner-kick, but he missed the target from close-range.

And the visitors found the goal at minute 69, Aranzubia attempted a long pass and Antonio Tomás couldn’t control the ball, quickly De Las Cuevas found the space to assist Diego Castro, who eluded Aranzubia to score the goal. It was also the first error committed by the defence in the game. Depor responded with a goal scored by Lassad after a corner-kick and after Colotto hit the crossbar, but it was disallowed for offside. The goal of Colotto would have counted, but it was just the third shot that hit the post for the locals and the proof that this was an unfaithful night against the visiting goal.

In the next play Diego Castro attempted from mid-distance, and Aranzubia responded making a great save. Then Lotina decided to make his first modification as striker Adrian replaced Antonio Tomás, who was having muscular problems. The modification moved Riki to the left wing, Juan Rodriguez was joining Sergio in midfield, Guardado was on the right, while Adrián was attacking from the centre.

Depor fought hard to achieve the lead, but a mismatch at the middle of the second half was costing two points now, with only fifteen minutes remaining, Lotina’s team was trying to score the second and definitive goal, but nothing was working, to switch the wingers was just adding problems to Depor as Guardado could only throw one proper cross from the right. That cross was sent into the path of Lassad, but the Tunisian sent the ball over the crossbar (78’).

Then Lotina made a new substitution, Pablo Alvarez replaced an exhausted Riki. ‘The Shark’ was playing on the left wing, while Guardado was still performing on the right. Sporting spent the last minutes locked at its own area, Depor tried to break the deadlock, mainly trough crosses from both wings, but it was impossible.

Depor wasted in one isolated play all the good work done during the first half; because Lotina’s team deserved better luck after hitting the post in three occasions, after a disallowed goal and after a penalty at the start of the match that wasn’t conceded by the referee. Riki and Lassad were the best players for the home team, and a distraction at the middle of the second half allowed the equaliser from Sporting. It’s the first draw in liga for Deportivo.

Despite the result, the Galicians still living in the European zone, thought now in the sixth place after the victories of Valencia FC (1-0 at Malaga) and RCD Mallorca (1-0 Vs Racing Santander). Now the Galicians travel to Madrid in order to face Getafe FC (Saturday, 18h00 CET).

Deportivo: Aranzubia - Manuel Pablo, Colotto, Lopo, Filipe - Sergio, Antonio Tomás (Adrián 75’)- Juan Rodríguez, Lassad, Guardado – Riki (Pablo Álvarez 82’).
Sporting: Juan Pablo - Lora, Gregory, Botía, Canella – Míchel (Matabuena 35’), Rivera - Luis Morán, De las Cuevas (Carmelo 85’), Diego Castro – Barral (Bilic 67’).
Goals: 1-0: (42’) Lassad, 1-1: (69’) Diego Castro
Referee: Alfonso Pérez Burrull. He showed yellow card to Antonio Tomas (31’), Barral (31’), Lopo (35’), Matabuena (63’) and Canella (90+2’).
Venue: Riazor (20,000)
Other statistics: Ball possession (51% - 49%); Total shots (9 - 7); Shots on target (6 - 5); Saves by the keepers (1 - 1); Corner-kicks  (10 - 3); Offsides (4 - 0); Fouls committed (14 - 10); Accuracy in the passes (82.72% - 81.23%)




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