Bilbao run broken by Adrian
Deportivo La Coruna striker Adrian Lopez took centre stage to help his side shatter Athletic Bilbao's six-match winning streak at San Mames with a 2-1 away win.
Adrian won and converted a first-half penalty to put Depor ahead, was the player brought down that led to Mikel San Jose's 34th-minute dismissal and also netted Depor's second goal seven minutes into the second half. That proved enough to help improving Depor claim their sixth win of the season, although Athletic will feel they deserved at least a draw out of what was an entertaining encounter.
The home side received a boost on the stroke of half-time when Depor were also reduced to ten men, Juan Rodriguez picking up a second yellow card, and star striker Fernando Llorente gave Athletic further hope when he made it 2-1 in the 86th minute. However, the Basque side found themselves down to nine men soon after when Ustaritz Aldekoaotalora was dismissed, and despite laying siege to the Depor goal in the closing stages they could not save themselves from a rare home setback.
Depor, who had looked relegation candidates before hitting form a few months ago, took the lead against the run of play in the 22nd minute when the referee awarded a penalty for Ustaritz's challenge on Adrian in the box.
Ustaritz, who got the ball, was furious with the decision but all he got for his complaints was a yellow card and Adrian added salt to the centre-back's wounds as he fired a perfect spot-kick just inside the post. Athletic's mood worsened 11 minutes later when San Jose was shown a straight red for tripping Adrian after the Depor striker had got in behind the home defence.
Despite those blows, Athletic could easily have been on level terms by the break with Llorente, Andoni Iraola, Gaizka Toquero and Carlos Gurpegi all having decent opportunities. The hosts could not get the equaliser, but they got the next best thing as Depor lost their numerical advantage when Rodriguez was dismissed right on the stroke of half-time.
At that point dominant Athletic must have been confident of extending their winning streak at San Mames despite still trailing, but they suffered a big blow in the 52nd minute when Adrian netted his second after beating Gorka Iraizoz from the edge of the box.
Athletic piled forward after that in a bid to get a foothold back into the match, and they got themselves a lifeline when Spain striker Llorente - who had been a fitness doubt in the lead-up to the game - headed in his 11th goal of the season. The sending off of Ustaritz dented Athletic's hopes of getting an equaliser, but even still they created a number of good chances in the closing stages.
The impressive Daniel Aranzubia denied Llorente and Igor Gabilondo while Athletic goalkeeper Iraizoz almost scored from a corner when his goal-bound header was blocked by Depor defender Manuel Pablo, but in the end it was not to be for Joaquin Caparros' outfit.