Paul Murray´s Report / Real Madrid 3-1 Real Sociedad

Matchday 17 – Real Madrid 3-1 Real Sociedad – Match Report

Wednesday 30th December 2015 / 69,896 Spectators

The unusual kick off time did not deter nearly 70,000 spectators watching this match where the visitors put up substantially more resistance than I had anticipated.

Real Sociedad manager named both Jonathas and Agirretxe to play up front in an ambitious attacking line up but this was fated to be a short lived experiment when Imanol Agirretxe was injured in the 17th minute following a heavy challenge from home keeper Keylor Navas.  He was replaced by Bruma who was surprisingly preferred to Carlos Vela by manager Eusebio.

Just prior to the departure of Agirretxe his strike partner Jonathas was denied a penalty in the 13th minute when he was fouled by Pepe.  The referee chose to dismiss the legitimate penalty appeal in a decision that called the accuracy of his eyesight into serious question.

Ironically the first half later saw two debatable penalties being awarded to the home team by a referee who at times appeared to be wearing a white shirt.  The first was given in the 24th minute when Benzema went down under minimal contact to win the spot-kick.  Penalty king Ronaldo stepped up but inexplicable blazed the ball over the crossbar, the away supporters rightly felt that justice had been done.

Ronaldo was given another chance from the spot after 42 minutes when Yuri was judged to have handled the ball as he blocked Gareth Bale’s cross. The ball bounced off Yuri’s leg and onto his arm with the referee judging it to be a deliberate act.  How he was supposed to get his arm out of the way is anyone’s guess.  It was a very harsh decision and Yuri who had already been booked was fortunate that he did not receive a second yellow card.

Just as half time beckoned Sergio Canales went down unchallenged and has apparently severely damaged the cruciate ligament in his left knee.  This serious injury is the latest in a long line of injury problems suffered by the unlucky player who will be out for at least 6 months.

It is reported that during the half time break Real Sociedad President Jokin Aperribay approached the referee to complain that his team were being robbed, he apparently said that he was going to report the matter to the Police.  The normally mild mannered President was obviously incensed by the referee’s performance in giving 2 penalties to the home team.  I would suggest that if he does report the matter to the police then at the same time he takes the opportunity to report David Moyes for the crime of taking money under false pretences for the last 12 months, especially for any money spent on language lessons!!

Ruben Pardo replaced Canales and the second half began with the visitors pushing forward searching for an equaliser.  This duly arrived in the 49th minute when Jonathas out muscled Pepe on the edge of the penalty area to provide Bruma with an opportunity to fire the ball across Navas to score his first La Liga goal.  It was a brilliant finish from the Portuguese winger who had his best game for La Reala.  It would be interesting to see what he can do if he was played on the right wing which would permit him to use his favoured foot and go outside of his defender.

Ronaldo restored the lead for the home team when he volleyed home a corner after 67 minutes. Carlos Vela was introduced immediately as the visitors searched again for an equaliser, but as has become usual this season he had little impact.  The visitors conceded the final goal in the 86th minute when we were caught out by a quick break by Gareth Bale who provided an excellent pass for substitute Lucas Vazquez to fire home from the edge of the penalty area.

Overall we emerged with real credit from this match, the experiment of playing Elustondo in a central defensive position was successful as he acquitted himself very well.   Rulli had a fine match in goal making numerous good saves, but I still have reservations about his kicking ability.  Carlos Martinez also marked his return with a steady performance but the impact of the injuries suffered by Agirretxe and Canales may have a significant and negative affect on the second half of this difficult season.  The upcoming match against fellow strugglers Rayo Vallecano is a fixture that Real Sociedad cannot afford to lose.

The match statistics showed: Possession 52/48% in favour of Real Madrid, we managed 12 shots of which only 2 were on target.  We won 2 corners and received 3 yellow cards: Yuri (32 mins), Carlos Martinez (41) and Illarra (62).

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