|First Division - Day Two|
One of my favourite expressions by a football manager who shall be nameless was "it was a game of two halves Brian, and we played crap in both". The game at the Anoeta stadium in San Sebastian was however a game in two halves in the traditional sense of the phrase, with the first half going to Atlético de Madrid and the second being won clearly by Real Sociedad. Atlético left out Juninho but were able to play Hugo Leal in midfield instead of Bejbl after his provisional transfer came through late last week, and Ranieri also brought in Solari and Chamot for Toni (the defender) and Correa. Toni (the goalkeeper) kept his place in goal ahead of Molina despite a disastrous debut last week, and Ranieri's confidence in the player has convinced Spain's manager Camacho to include him in his squad instead of Molina for the upcoming matches. Bernd Krauss decided to leave out Argentinian international Juan Gómez for José Felix Guerrero (Julen's brother), and Columbian striker Bonilla made his home debut with De Paula on the bench. Ranieri's choice of Solari came good, the Argentinian winger opening the scoring in the 8th minute, getting in behind the defence to drive José Mari's cross past Alberto from close range. At half time Atleti were ahead and it looked like last week's loss at home to Rayo was just a case of opening night nerves. However Krauss brought on Oscar De Paula on the hour, an inspired substitution which transformed the game. Within a minute of being on the field De Paula had levelled the game, scoring with his first touch from López Rekarte's cross. Six minutes later Real were ahead, Bonilla skilfully controlling a long pass with his chest before rounding Toni to score. Atleti were reduced to ten men when Chamot was sent off for a silly retaliation on De Pedro, and Bonilla scored his second when he followed up on a rebound after Toni had saved from De Pedro. De Paula headed a fourth in injury time after Bonilla turned back another cross from López Rekarte to make the final result 4-1. Real moved temporarily to the top of the table for 24 hours, and although it is too early to talk about a crisis (some will already), Atlético seem to be back in the same old rut they got caught in last season.