Competition news

REVIEW: ATHLETIC 2 – DEPORTIVO 0 (LIGA)

16 May 2010
Depor closed its worst second round within the last nineteen years as it fell down at San Mamés in a new demonstration of impotence. The team did nothing in the first part and reacted until the second, but it couldn’t score against an Athletic that seized its chances.

BEFORE THE GAME
Some novelties at both squads; coach Miguel Angel Lotina allowed the return of Antonio Tomas to midfield, reason why Juca started the actions sited on the bench. Also, Riki didn’t pass the late test after been dragging a thigh injury and was left out of the meeting, therefore Lassad Nouioui was the one starting in attack.

The rest was the expected 4-2-3-1 squad; with Manu at the goal, Manuel Pablo covering the right-back position, Filipe returning to the starting eleven and playing on the left, while the central defenders were Lopo and Ze Castro. Sergio was joining Antonio Tomas at midfield, Juan Rodriguez covered the right wing, Adrian was at the left, Valerón was the playmaker and Lassad the central attacker.

At Athletic, coach Joaquín Caparrós presented the novelty of 17-year-old kid Iker Muniain performing at the left wing; Javi Martinez was also a novelty as he joined Ander Iturraspe at midfield. But all eyes were upon keeper Armando Riveiro and midfielder Joseba Etxeberria, duo that was retiring. Also to mention that referee Mejuto Gonzalez is retiring from la liga, his last game will be the Copa final between Atletico and Sevilla.

FIRST HALF
After resurrecting against Mallorca, Deportivo fell back into the arms of death as it did nothing against a rival that seemed more motivated. And it’s that Depor only had two scoring opportunities in the first part, half in which it showed again the same miseries that caused the shortcut of the second round in la liga.

The game had a decent pace since the start, but without too many scoring opportunities, at least within the first fifteen minutes. The ball was passing more time at midfield, which was normal since both teams were playing for nothing. The first opportunity was for Deportivo as Koikili was close to score an own goal, but Armando saved his team (5’), in the next play Sergio attempted from mid-distance, but he missed the target. That was going to be the lonely approximation of the visitors within the first forty minutes.

And it’s that, little by little, Athletic started to grow in the game, something that was clear after Iker Muniain scored the first goal. It was a solo-play at the left wing that ended with the youngster eluding Manuel Pablo and releasing an impressive shot that went to the top left corner of Manu.

Since that point the dominance of Athletic was overwhelming, and Manu became into the best player at Deportivo, because he made four key interventions to avoid more goals. First clearing a cross of Susaeta  that was looking for the head of Llorente (24’), in the next play he stopped a close-range effort of the same Llorente.

In the middle of the storm, Adrian had to be replaced due to an ankle sprain, he was replaced by Ivan Perez, who covered the spot of the Asturian at the left wing. The true is that the attacking line was totally disconnected, Lassad and Valerón weren’t seen and Depor lacked depth. Meanwhile the locals had four straight occasions in which they missed the target: Koikili (27’), Muniain (30’), Etxeberria (32’) and San José (34’)

Deportivo was able to reach the opposite area until the end of the first part, and it was a clear chance as Manuel Pablo released a cross from the right that Lassad met inside the area, but his final shot just went close to the post (40’). Two minutes later Manu made his third save in the game as he blocked a shot of Susaeta. The half ended with Depor having a better ball possession, but without having a clear chance.

SECOND HALF
Depor seemed more focused at the start of the second part, though the side that had the first opportunity was Athletic, it was in a new play of Muniain -the best player of Athletic in the game- in which Etxeberria attempted from close range, but he just hit the net by the outside (46’). Then, the visitors started to react, Juan Rodriguez had an attempt to score after a cross of Filipe (47’). And one minute later Iván Pérez missed the target after a new cross, this time released by Juan Rodriguez.

At the 50th minute, Armando had to stop a shot of Antonio Tomas, now it was clear that Depor was stretching on the pitch. Athletic was also trying to attack, which allowed the public at San Mamés to watch a nice second half. The difference at Depor was that Valerón and Lassad were finding each other, which allowed to have more depth in attack, though Depor wasn’t able to score.

At minute 63, Manu made a new save for his team, this after a cross of Koikili that hit Manu, Llorente and Zé Castro to end in the arms of the Asturian keeper. Then Mista replaced Lassad, it could be the last game at Depor for the Murcian attacker, this after the words of Lotina on Friday’s press conference.

Then the emotive moment of the game came as Etxeberria was replaced by Toquero, the midfielder is retiring after a fifteen-year career at Athletic Bilbao and after playing his last year of contract for free. A clear chance to define the game came at minute 74, Depor took a lateral free-kick and the play ended in a counterattack in which Llorente attempted from long-distance, but the ball hit the crossbar.

However the Basques never felt sorry for that play, because in the next one they scored the second goal. It was clear that Depor’s players were already in vacations as Javi Martinez released a shot from long-distance without any opposition, the shot of the Navarran player was a drilled effort that went to the far post of Manu, who couldn’t do anything against that attempt.

The goal killed the interest in game and then Lotina made the last substitution of the season as Juca entered for Sergio. Nothing interesting occurred within the final minutes of the season, just a lateral free-kick of Juca that Lopo headed out (90+2’)

AFTER THE GAME
Deportivo ended a disappointing second round with a new defeat in liga, this time against an Athletic Bilbao that neither was playing for anything important, just for the pride of offering a victory to Etxeberria. Depor played a bad first part, it improved in the second as Valerón and Lassad started to have a better connection, though it was useless as the Basques were the ones that scored the goals.

Lotina´s team is ending the liga campaign in the tenth place, far from Europe, though with the salvation achieved since a while ago. Now the team is beginning its vacations, though the players will continue to train until Thursday. Deportivo will start the pre-season 2010-11 on July 8.

MATCH STATISTICS
Athletic: Armando - Iraola, San José, Ustaritz, Koikili – Susaeta, Javi Martinez (Gurpegui 77’), Iturraspe (Muñoz 60’), Muniain – Etxeberria (Toquero 72’), Llorente.
Deportivo: Manu – Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Ze Castro, Filipe – Sergio (Juca 80’), Antonio Tomas – Juan Rodríguez, Valerón, Adrian (Iván Pérez 26’) - Lassad (Mista 65’).
Goals: 1-0 (19’) Muniain, 2-0: (77’) Javi Martinez.
Referee: Manuel Enrique Mejuto Gonzalez. No cards were shown. 
Venue: San Mamés (33,000)
Other statistics: Ball possession (51% - 49%); Total shots (21 - 14); Shots on target (6 - 5); Saves by the keepers (5 - 4); Corner-kicks (12 - 0); Offsides (1 - 4); Fouls committed (17 - 13); Accuracy in the passes (78.74% - 80.97%)

* RESULTS & FINAL STANDINGS

ARCHIVE NEWS MAY/10

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