The defender conceded a penalty and scored an own goal ...La Real recorded a comfortable victory in the Basque derby over Athletic Bilbao tonight, leapfrogging four teams in the standing to reach an Europa League spot. Ex-Liverpool defender Mikel San Jose was the culprit tonight as he conceded a penalty in the first half, converted by Xabi Prieto, and scored an own goal after the break to condemn his team to their seventh loss of the season.
The game was very even in the early minutes with neither team enjoying clear domination over the other. Still, the first chance of the game came as early as the second minute when San Jose had a thunderous volley from just outside the six-yard area parried by Claudio Bravo.
Athletic Bilbao had another opportunity to break the deadlock through Igor Gabilondo in the 15th minute, but the midfielder blasted a shot from the left side of the penalty area wide of the right post. Real Sociedad went close minutes later when David Zurutuza saw a header from the ecntre of the box blocked.
In the 24th minute the referee pointed to the spot after San Jose handballed in the penalty area. Prieto scored on his first attempt, but had to retake the penalty as Gorka Iraizoz was off his line. He did not make a mistake in this try either, and Real Sociedad were one up.
The goal gave La Real more confidence in attack and they had two glorious chances to double their lead in the minutes before the break. Around the half-hour mark Joseba Llorente had a good header fly widet and in the 37th minute Antoine Griezmann hit the right post with a volley on open goal after winning a battle in the air with Iraizoz.
Two minutes into the second half San Jose had an opportunity to draw the game level, but flashed his header from the centre of the box high and wide. Things got from bad to worse for San Jose as the ex-Liverpool man scored an own goal in the 48th minute.
Athletic Bilbao tried to mount a comeback, but were ultimately unable to break Real Sociedad's stubborn defence. Fernando Llorente failed to put the ball past Bravo with a header from just outside the six-yard box in the 62nd minute, and in the following attack Joseba Llorente could have scored the third, but could not keep his headed finish from inside the penalty area down.
Pablo Orbaiz and Gaizka Toquero had their chances in the remaining minutes, but could not take them and the game ended 2-0.
Real Sociedad's first win in the Basque derby in six years sees them climb to sixth in the standings, while Athletic Bilbao are eleventh. La Real's next league game is a visit to Barcelona on the 12th of December, while Los Leones host Espanyol on the same day.