Paul Murray´s Match Report / Real Sociedad 0-0 Bilbao
Matchday 6 – Match Report
Real Sociedad 0-0 Athletic Bilbao – Sunday 27th September 2015
The first Basque Derby of the season was a hard fought but generally uninspiring affair containing little goal mouth action.
The teams were well match but neither had started the season as they would have wished with Athletic Club having only collected 3 points so far courtesy of a home 3-1 win against Getafe. Real were 2 points better off after their impressive 0-3 midweek victory away at Granada.
Real made two changes from the Granada match with Rulli replacing Olazabal in goal after his one match suspension and Pardo replacing the injured Granero in midfield. Zurutuza was selected to continue in the wide left attacking position. Carlos Vela was again made captain which I thought should have been given to Iñigo.
This mediocre start to the season by both clubs was reflected in the relatively poor attendance of 26,310 which is 6,000 less than the capacity of the Anoeta. The home supporters have also been unimpressed with the lack of attacking play by their team so far this season.
The first half was an even affair but with very little penalty area action. Sergio Canales had said before the match that Real would attack from the start and his promise was seemingly kept for the opening two minutes. Sadly things petered out after that and the game became a fairly dour midfield battle, with both sides often losing possession carelessly. I would like to tell Sergio that although he kept his promise we would prefer it to continue for about 10 times longer!!
Illarra picked up an early 8th minute yellow card which slightly restricted his normal game. He also was lucky in the 40th minute not to give away a penalty when he blocked a shot which flew up onto his arm with his hands away from his body. This could easily have been given but the referee was in a generous mood and waved away the Athletic appeals. 0-0 at half time with little to cheer about from either team. 1999 was the last time this fixture had ended without a goal, a run of 26 matches.
The second half followed much the same course as the first but Athletic did begin to press our midfield, gaining greater possession. Neither of our full backs had managed to get forward much during the first half which stifled our attacking options. This pattern also continued for much of the second period until Moyes, in the 71st minutes introduced substitutes Bruma and Prieto who replaced Canales and Zurutuza. Prieto added little to the match but Bruma livened things up often combining well with De la Bella who suddenly seem to remember he was allowed to cross the halfway line.
In the 85th minute manager Moyes introduced Jonathas to replace Agirretxe and the Brazilian nearly scored immediately after his introduction. But it was not to be and although Real finished the stronger of the two teams the game ended in a goalless stalemate.
We had a total of 12 shots of which 5 were on target, 4 corners and had 3 players booked: Illarra (8 mins), Pardo (52 mins) and Inigo (70 mins). The possession statistics were 48/52 in favour of Athletic Club.
Overall I would conclude that this was another cautious performance by Real with still little inventive or creative play from our midfield. Again I would rate Pardo as very ordinary with his use of dead ball situations (both corners and free kicks) being very poor. Our transitional play was too slow and our full backs did not press forward enough. On the positive side the central defensive partnership of Inigo and Reyes is maturing very well. The facts show that they have now played 4 games together in La Liga and are yet to concede a goal.
They can keep that up for as long as they like as far as I am concerned!!!