Paul Murray´s Match Report – Fix. 5
Paul Murray´s Match Report – Fix. 5 – Granada vs Real Sociedad
After the disappointing home defeat by Espanyol on Saturday La Reala travelled south to Andalusia for the away midweek fixture at Granada.
The goalkeeper problem was resolved by Real paying the €100,000 release clause to enable second string keeper Olazabal to play. With Rulli suspended head coach David Moyes decided to persevere with Olazabal despite his after match criticism of the reserve keeper’s performance against Espanyol.
Inigo Martinez rejoined the squad as did David Zurutuza , both players were selected to start. Markel Bergara was again left out with Chory Castro joining him in not travelling. The return of Zuru was welcome however I don’t understand the exclusion of Markel.
The match started with Real fielding a very attacking line up and we soon got the upper hand in midfield. Zuru played on the left wing and it was from his 7th minute cross that Agirretxe got a glancing touch to open the scoring. This was a great start for us and calmed any nerves that we had. The next 25 minutes were fairly even with neither side really threatening their opponents goal. Granada were unlucky when they had a good penalty claim rejected after Inigo body checked a Granada forward. Inigo made no attempt to play the ball in a rash challenge that should have resulted in a spot kick. Granada were still complaining when in the 33rd minute Agirretxe scored his second after a terrible defensive blunder by Doria. Half time with a 0-2 lead was more than we could have wished for. The first half had become a midfield battle with Real winning 53% possession. From this we only generated two shots, both of which registered goals but we only win one corner kick.
The second half commenced with Real unchanged. The game became really scrappy with both teams giving away possession by loose passing. De la Bella was booked on the hour after he held back the optimistically named Granada forward Success Isaac. Bloody hopeless Isaac would have been more accurate!!
Granero was replaced by Pardo in the 52nd minute, Canales by Prieto (69 mins) and Vela by Bruma in the 83rd minutes. But despite the changes the team continued to play in a controlled fashion and we held the same shape throughout.
We were playing well on the counterattack with some good long passing for Vela and Agirretxe to find space. We were also pressing Granada very effectively but often wasted the possession we gained with a poor pass. Our third goal came on 78 minutes when again Agirretxe broke away and on this occasion lobbed the ball over the keeper as he tried to close down the space his defence had left. It was a great finish by Agirretxe and was a fitting reward for all his movement and hard work throughout the match. Zuru stuck to his task really well, staying in the wide left hand position for the entire match. His disciplined performance gave the team a really good balance which made a significant contribution to this victory.
It should be remembered that it took us until 16th March and Matchday 27 last season to chalk up our first away victory, so it could be said that we are 6 months ahead of schedule already this season!!
The €100,000 we spent to allow Olazabal to play looked a bit of a wasted investment after the match as Granada had been so hopeless, however it may serve to re-build his confidence after his poor performance against Espanyol. I did notice that Olazabal is a poor kicker, especially of a moving ball and his positioning from corners (about 4-5 metres off his line) was most unusual. It screamed “Dodgy Keeper” to me!!
The players showed really good commitment and effort. The team is much better with the introduction of Canales and Zurutuza made a substantial contribution, giving the team a better balance. David Moyes should be congratulated for playing such an attacking formation. His ambitious tactics allowed us to gain our first win this season. All he has to do now is to find somewhere else too live!!
Overall we had 51% possession, 8 shots (5 on target), 3 corners and had 4 players booked (Graneo, De La Bella, Vela and Pardo).