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Deportivo La Coruña
April 28, 2013
• Estadio Municipal de Anoeta, Donostia-San Sebastián
Referee: David Fernandez Borbalan
• Attendance: 28097
Íñigo Martínez 35'
G. Castro 73'
Agirretxe 87', 90'+
That's it from me, see you next time folks!
Have mercy, what a finish to that game! Sociedad are deserved winners, but Valencia rode them hard all the way. It's finished 4-2, and suddenly Sociedad look favorites for that final Champions League spot ahead of Valencia and Malaga!
90' + 5'
The game restarts and is immediately ended!
90' + 4'
Goal Imanol Agirretxe
WHAT A GOAL FROM AGIRREXTE! A seemingly harmless header out of defence to the halfway line sees Agirrexte suddenly free himself with a turn. he sprints half the length of the field, keeping the defence at arms length, and lobs the ball wonderfully over Alves!
90' + 4'
BUT THEY NEEDN'T" HAVE WORRIED!
90' + 4'
The fans inside the Anoeta are absolutely baying for the final whistle. Intense shots of heads in hands, nails being chewed down into stubs, and just a nerve-wrecking experience in the stands.
90' + 2'
...but it's straight into the wall. Disappointing.
90' + 2'
OOOOHHH....free kick to Valencia about 25 yards out, dead centre! Jonas is over this...
JONAS WITH A LIFELINE! Banega with a stinging strike from outside the box, Bravo's parry leads back into the penalty area, and Jonas is first to follow up the rebound into the back of the net! 3-2!
As things stand, Sociedad are heading five points clear in fourth place!
Assist Xabi Prieto
Goal Imanol Agirretxe
SOCIEDAD WILL TAKE THE POINTS HERE! Another quality goal from the home side! Prieto whips in a great cross towards the far post, and Agirrexta meets it with a slick half-volley that Alves cannot keep out via a slight deflection!
AGIRREXTE SEALS IT!
ALVES KEEPS THE GAME ALIVE! Brilliant reflex save from the keeper to keep out a close-range strike on the turn from Agirretxe!
BANEGA! He seemed surprised that he was onside after being played in, and takes too long to line up his shot...deflected wide for a corner. He should have gotten one on target!
Yellow Card Asier Illarramendi
The game really stretched now as we enter the closing stages of tonight's clash. It's really up for grabs here! I think Valencia may still have it in them to steal a goal, but just as likely are Sociedad to make it 3-1.
Valencia attempt to hit back with a succession of corners. But the Sociedad defence is equal to everything that is thrown into their area.
Off goes the excellent Castro, his race is run for this evening. A goal and an assist, how priceless could his display be in the large scheme of things?
Sociedad clearly on the front foot, and they could have had a third! Vela's rasping drive is well held by Bravo, and the blue and whites are swarming all over the opposition box.
Assist Imanol Agirretxe
Goal Chory Castro
That goal should be on the cover of counter-attacking football's magazine. An absolutely scintillating goal! It starts when a Valencia free-kick at the edge of the Sociedad box is cleared. Castro and Agirretxe then proceed to carve through the Valencia defence, sprinting the length of the pitch, all one-touch passes between the pair. Agirretxe squares to Castro in the box, and he finishes coolly!
A BLISTERING COUNTER! SOCIEDAD IN THE LEAD!
Yellow Card Markel Bergara
I want to hear from you la Liga fans! Get in touch on Twitter @keeghann!
DE LA BELLA! A lot of oomph behind that shot, but it's not as accurate as it first looked. Well wide of the far post in the end. Still, he was allowed a good amount of space to line up that one!
Cissokho with an excellent parry on a tricky delivery by Castro. Too bad he's a left-back. As clear a handball as you will ever see. Sociedad should have a penalty, no question. What was the referee thinking?
Yellow Card Albelda
Vela's first touch takes him away from Albelda...but the veteran plows right through the former Arsenal man. Definite yellow card, and the referee obliges. No complaints form Albelda.
It's been all Valencia for the last ten minutes or so. The fans are growing a little more frustrated in the stands as their team struggle to get the ball out of their own half.
Feghouli sells Parejo a little short with the pass on the overlap down the right, but Parejo does well to recover and sneak the ball into the area. Martinez reacts quicker than Soldado, however, and clears the ball from danger.
Soldado earns the ire of the crowd for a spell of play acting, moments before Banega drags a shot about a foot wide after skipping past his marker on the top of the box.
Poor free-kick from Vela, drifting wide of the far post. The tempo of the game is dropping ever so slightly, but it's still an absorbing game!
Bravo has no problems from the resulting free kick, it's straight at him.
Bergara is absolutely incensed after the referee calls him for a foul just outside the box, despite the midfielder appearing to simply win a physical duel with Jonas.
Cissokho needs to be careful! Already on a yellow card, he clips the heels of Bergara, and is lucky to avoid a second booking!
Mathieu again shows good speed to put Vela off a clipped ball into the box. Both players have been heavily involved in the early stages of the second half so far!
Vela with another telling ball int the area, with his weaker right foot as well. But no one is there to attack it. That was exactly the kind of cross that old Darko Kovacevic would have loved to head in!
Feghouli is called for a handball after bumbling his way into the area. He's not been a happy camper so far, has he? Been on the periphery of the game for the most part.
Excellent recovery pace from Mathieu to catch up with Xabi Prieto, and step in to regain the ball.
Not a bad ball at all from Carlos Vela into the area, but Chori Castro mistimes his jump at the far post and the ball sails over his head.
Here we go again! Thoughts, comments, questions or wisecracks? Send them in to me on Twitter @keeghann.
1-1 is about a fair a score as I can imagine, such has been the back and forth nature of the game. Roberto Soldado opened the scoring, only for Inigo Martinez to level things up not long after. Game on for the second half! See you in a bit!
45' + 1'
Yellow Card Ever Banega
45' + 1'
We've barely ha a minute of injury time before the referee signals the end to a great half of football.
Can one of Carlos Vela's teammates please stand up for him? The Mexican is felled again by a meaty challenge, he's clearly been targeted by Valencia.
This first half has been an absolute pleasure to watch. Both teams are playing with nothing held back. Your guess is as good as mine as to who will win this one.
Banega plays into Soldado, who, 20 yards out, only has eyes for goal. Feghouli gets out of the way but he needn't have bothered, as the effort is as tame as a box of kittens, and is right into the arms of Bravo.
CASTROOOOOOHHHHH...inches, inches wide from the free-kick. Alves was struggling to get across to cover his post!
Yellow Card Jérémy Mathieu
Mathieu takes one for the team, and takes one out of Carlos Vela. A late tackle impedes the Mexican from racing through towards the box. Clear free-kick and a booking.
Assist Chory Castro
Goal Íñigo Martínez
EXCELLENT FROM INIGO MARTINEZ! The corner is played short, and Castro whips it toward the far post. Martinez springs into the air and sidefoots it into the roof of the net. Who would have thought that the centre back had it in him? Well, he has scored twice from his own half in his career, so I guess he's used to surprising people.
Corner to Sociedad after more good defending from Ricardo Costa takes the ball away from Agirretxe.
Banega is left nonplussed after Carlos Martinez flings himself to the turf...and wins the free kick. Simulation wins on that occasion.
Actually, replays have showed that Bravo did get a touch on that ball, and he was about two feet outside the penalty area! Surely a Valencia free kick and a yellow for the keeper?
GET YOUR BEARINGS BRAVO! Soldado nearly pounces on a bouncing ball that the Sociedad keeper misjudges on the edge of the area, trying to avoid handling outside the box.
How do Sociedad respond? My colleagues in the Goal.com war room gave Valencia little chance of pulling off a result, but here they are with the lead, thanks to Soldado's 18th league goal.
Assist Aly Cissokho
Goal Roberto Soldado
The striker gives Valencia the lead! Cissokho with the cross from the left byline, and Soldado ghosts in to nod home deftly at the near post! By the time the defence noticed, the ball was in the back of the net! Clinical, poacher's stuff!
WONDERFUL FROM RICARDO COSTA! Castro seemed to have all the time in the world to pick his spot from close range, but one second of delay allows the defender to dive into the ground and cut out the finish!
Sociedad quickly back down the other end of the pitch. They are really spreading the play excellently down both flanks.
Yellow Card Íñigo Martínez
Mathieu and Jonas are queuing up, but it's Parejo who takes responsibility...and its not far wide! Flashed right across the face of goal, but was bent the wrong way.
Soldado is taken out in full stride by Inigo Martinez. A mix of sloppiness from the defender and the sharpness of Soldado. Free-kick for Valencia in a good position, remember what happened when Mathieu took the last one...
Sociedad settling more and more into the game, and have won a succession of corners. Carlos Martinez whips in a fantastic cross into the centre of the box that Diego ALves safety-firsts over the bar.
Cissokho by the way has become our first booking of the game for impeding Xabi Prieto.
Yellow Card Aly Cissokho
Man it's good to see Real Sociedad relevant again as a footballing force. There wasn't a neutral alive who wasn't secretly rooting for them to take the 2002-03 Liga title - a league that they led for two-thirds of that season. The Basques have been through hell since, relegated in 2007, but they're back now and in superb form.
Banega and Feghouli exchange swift passes at the top of the box. But the third pass goes wide to Jonas, whose execution is dreadful, failing to pick out CIssokho on the overlap. Vela shields the ball out of play.
It's been a thoroughly absorbing start to the game. Both teams are clearly aware of what's at stake - European football, and the potential for a boatload of cash and perhaps just a little prestige. Let's hope that this trend endures for the other 80 minutes in this match.
Ever Banega tries to crash one in from 25 yards out, but the Sociedad defence get some meat in the way of the ball!
BRAVOOOOOOOO! BRAVOOOOO!!! What a scintillating save! Mathieu bends an absolutely perfect free-kick that is so accurate, it seems destined to curl inside the side netting. But Bravo travels across his goal admirably, and uses two hands to push the ball around the post!
You, Feghouli are a lucky duck. The Algerian escapes punishment for a blatant handball where he made little attempt to get his hand out of the way.
CARLOS VELA....SO CLOSE! The Mexican comes close to breaking his three game scoring drought, cutting in from the right flank onto his favored left foot, and bending a dangerous effort just, just wide of the far post!
Here we go!
The teams are on the pitch, and kickoff is imminent...
Los Che's ongoing and seemingly endless financial problems make Champions League qualification a huge relief on their monetary woes. Valencia are unbeaten in five, but have not won an away game in nearly three months. Sociedad have hit 18 goals in their last six home games, so the omens do not bode well for the visitors, who have kept only two clean sheets on the road all season.
That, of course, was their brave runners-up campaign of the 2002-03 season, where the little and large strike duo of Darko Kovacevic and Nihat led Sociedad to within a whisker of pipping Real Madrid for the Liga title.
The Basques have been on an incredible tear recently, wheeling off a 14-match unbeaten streak to turn what looked like a season of mid-table mediocrity into a potential Champions League berth for the first time in ten years.
Sociedad: Bravo; Martínez, Inigo, Mikel, De la Bella; Markel, Illarra: Vela, Xabi Prieto, Chory; Agirretxe.
Valencia: Diego Alves, Joao, Ricardo Costa, Mathieu, Cissokho, Albelda, Banega, Parejo, Jonas, Feghouli, Soldado.
The teamsheets are in...
The top three places in Spain may be all but decided, but the battle for the fourth and final Champions League place rages on. Thanks for joining me, Keeghann Sinanan, for Goal.com' live play-by-play of the crucial matchup between Real Sociedad and Valencia at the Anoeta Stadium.
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