Real Sociedad 2-0 Sevilla: Michel's first match in charge ends in defeat as Carlos Vela inspires Basques to victory
A scrappy contest ended in a precious victory for the home side as they move four points clear of the drop zone in La Liga
By Doug Patient
A nervy San Sebastian celebrated as Carlos Vela and Ruben Pardo Gutierrez secured a precious 2-0 victory for Real Sociedad against Sevilla in Monday's La Liga encounter.
Michel was overseeing his first match in charge of the visitors, but tasted defeat as La Real distance themselves from the relegation zone courtesy of a well-earned win.
The game kicked off with both teams clearly afraid to lose, as only two points separated the sides, and the nervy atmosphere seemed to be getting to the players with a series of strong tackles flying in. Most notably, Jose Antonio Reyes was scythed down by Markel Bergara, but no card was given.
Chances were few and far between in the first half; Arsenal loanee Vela had the clearest glimpse of goal after the ball was chipped through, but the forward could not quite get the ball under his control.
On 27 minutes, Vela then laid back for Pardo outside the area, but he only managed to scuff his shot into the side netting. Real’s Agirretxe then had a half-chance from the edge of the box with five minutes of the half left, but while he caught his volley sweetly, the shot went wide.
The visitors had their chances too, however. Alvaro Negredo had a decent opening on 32 minutes, but his header skimmed over the crossbar, while Manu Del Moral natched at a volley to blast over a few minutes later.
The second half was much the same as the first. Sevilla showed flashes of class, yet they did not seem to have the confidence to string anything meaningful together, and not winning in seven La Liga games was certainly affecting them.
One of these flashes of skill arrived on 55 minutes with a darting run from the impressive Reyes - but he was stopped in his tracks unceremoniously by Inigo Martinez.
As the game entered into the last half hour, it became apparent that if the deadlock was going to be broken, then something special would be required, and it duly arrived 25 minutes from time.
Sociedad’s Xabi Prieto curled in a cross, and Vela struck a stunning first-time volley into the net, bringing a dull contest to life.
However, if you thought that was special, then just a few minutes later, Pardo eclipsed it. His vicious strike from outside the area whizzed into the top corner, and this was the last real action of the game as the home side held on for a victory defined by two wonderful goals.
Victory for Phillipe Montanier’s team is valuable, as they move above Sevilla, and can start looking up rather than over their shoulder. The away side, on the other hand, will be devastated with the loss, and Michel has much work to do to improve the fortunes of the Andalusian club.
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