Mind the gap, Real Madrid! Real Sociedad frustrate La Liga holders as Barcelona pull further clear at top of the table

Vinicius Junior Real Madrid 2022-23Getty Images
  • Vinicius and Rodrygo a constant threat
  • Remiro a rock in goal for Sociedad
  • Real lose ground on Barca at the top

TELL ME MORE: Real Madrid offered an electric performance in their first league outing at the Santiago Bernabeu since the World Cup break, but came back with nothing to show for it. Alexander Sorloth should have put the away side ahead after just six minutes but failed to connect with a wicked cross from just a few yards out. The miss appeared to shock Madrid awake, with Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo then proving to be a constant threat down the wings. Vinicius in particular will wonder how he didn't get on the scoresheet at all.

The Brazilian nutmegged Igor Zubeldia and Aihen Munoz in the space of five first-half minutes but failed to find the target. He then fired straight at Sociedad keeper Alex Remiro after Brais Mendez's misplaced pass put him one-on-one at the stroke of half-time. Madrid's dominance continued after the break, with Remiro twice denying Vinicius and Zubeldia flying across to block a near-certain goal from Rodrygo. While Sociedad offered a marginal threat on the counter, it will be Madrid who will be ruing their missed chances, as Ancelotti's side lose vital ground on Barcelona, or are now five points clear at the Liga summit.

THE MVP: For all their dominance and attacking threat, Real Madrid were unable to make the breakthrough. Some will place the blame on the inadequate finishing of Vinicius and Co, but in truth, Real Sociedad goalkeeper Remiro was a rock between the sticks. The Spaniard racked up seven saves and proved impenetrable from both long and close range, with key interventions coming specifically against Vinicius, most crucially either side of half-time. Remiro epitomised Sociedad's determined defensive display, and his latest showing explains why Imanol Alguacil's side boast one of the best away records in La Liga.

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THE BIG LOSER: Remiro was called into action largely due to Real Sociedad's inability to keep Vinicius and Rodrygo quiet. Left-back Munoz in particular enjoyed a torrid time at the Bernabeu, being turned this way and that by both players and ending up on the receiving end of an outrageous nutmeg from Vinicius in the first half. The Spaniard had no answer to the abundance of pace and skill on display, and would have been made to pay if Vinicius had had his shooting boots on. A tiresome evening was cut short prematurely when he was replaced by Diego Rico at half-time.


Vinicius Junior Real Madrid 2022-23Getty ImagesRodrygo Real Madrid 2022-23Getty ImagesCarlo Ancelotti Real Madrid 2022-23Getty Images

WHAT NEXT? After Sunday's frustrating draw with Real Sociedad, Madrid host league strugglers Valencia on Thursday knowing anything less than three points could allow Barca to extend their lead at the top even further.