Match Report / Real Sociedad 1-1 Malaga

Matchday 26 – Real Sociedad 1 – 1 Malaga – Match Report

Saturday 27th February 2016

12,783 Spectators

A poor attendance of under 13,000 saw a tight match in which Real Sociedad were denied a fifth straight league win.  Malaga, who held Real Madrid last week, continued their climb up the table and have now lost just one of their last five league games.  It was a cold and wet night in San Sebastián which contributed to the low crowd numbers.

Malaga’s excellent defensive ability was once again prominent and their well organised system allowed them to resist the home team.  They combined this with a hard working ethic ensuring they kept players behind the ball, making it very difficult for Real to break through them.

There was little to choose between the two teams for most of the match. It was a cagey affair for long stretches, both teams realising that a mistake might cost their team all three points. This resulted in a congested midfield as both teams attempted to stifle any creativity showed by their opponents.

The first half ended very evenly but the second half saw the home team gain the upper hand in terms of possession and territory as they pushed forward into the Malaga half.  However Real were unable to find a breakthrough and Dune Cop the Croatian, who was in impressive form for Malaga, opened the scoring in the 57th minute. The goal was against the run of play, but Cop found the net from close range after Roberto Rosales’s touch eluded the Real defence.

Real head coach Eusebio realised that he needed to change the dynamic of his team and in the 74th minute replaced Bruma and Mikel Gonzalez with Imanol Agirretxe and Esteban Granero.

The introduction of Granero allowed Ruben Pardo to push further forward and he became increasing influential as the minutes ebbed away. La Reala continued to search for an equaliser and they proceeded to lay siege to the Malaga box, firing in crosses for Agirretxe who was finally providing an attacking focal point inside the Malaga penalty area.

In the 81st minute, on the edge of the Malaga penalty box, Xabi Prieto headed down a free-kick and the ball dropped to an unmarked Imanol Agirretxe, who smashed the ball home into the top corner.  There were strong suspicions that Agirretxe was offside but the officials allowed the goal to stand and it was a fantastic finish by a player returning after a two month injury layoff.

Although Real continued to attack, the match ended with honours even and both team gaining one point.   Overall Real played well against a solid and well organised opponent, a draw was probably a fair result.   The return of both Agirretxe and Granero after lengthy injuries absences was most welcome and Real Sociedad look in good shape for the final third of the season.

The match statistics showed: Possession 60/40% in favour of Real, we managed 7 shots of which 3 were on target.  We won 8 corners and received 4 yellow cards: Inigo (20 minutes), Yuri (60 mins), Deigo Reyes (74 mins), and Rulli (78 mins).

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