First Division - Day 21

Real Sociedad 2 - Celta 2

Real Sociedad: Asper; Loren, Corino, Julio César; López Rekarte, Xavi Alonso (Jauregui 60'), Luiz Alberto, Aranzábal; Khokhlov, Llorente (De Pedro 60'); Jankauskas (De Paula 80'). 3-4-2-1.
Celta: Cavallero; Coira (Tomás 60'), Berizzo (Noguerol 65'), Cáceres, Yago; Giovanella, Vagner; Karpin, Mostovoi, Edu; McCarthy (Catanha 40'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Real: Xavi Alonso, Aranzábal for Tayfun, De Pedro / Celta: Coira, Cáceres, Edu, McCarthy for Velasco, Juanfran, Gustavo López, Catanha

1-0. 19. Khokhlov. Header following cross from López Rekarte on right.
2-0. 70. Jankauskas (penalty). After Noguerol sent off for handling in area.
2-1. 71. Loren (own goal). Turned Karpin's cross into net pressured by Catanha
2-2. 92. Mostovoi. Took through ball, turned and shot from edge of area.

Real Sociedad threw away a two goal lead in the last twenty minutes of the game in this relegation battle with Celta. A victory could have taken John Toshack's team out of the drop zone and to within three points of their rivals, confirming a revival which started with a great victory against Racing last week. They fancied their chances too against a depleted Celta side missing three suspended players, Velasco, Juanfran and Gustavo López, with Djorovic also out injured and the off form Catanha left on the bench by manager Víctor Fernández.

Real attacked from the start and Giovanella had to clear off the line from Llorente with Cavallero beaten. A few minutes later the San Sebastian side took the lead through Khokhlov who got ahead of the defence to head López Rekarte's cross back past the stranded keeper. Celta came back and Asper saved twice from McCarthy before the South African striker had to leave the field injured, Catanha coming on earlier than expected. Midway through the second half Cavallero had to save from Khokhlov, and two minutes later the Russian came forward again, bending a shot past the keeper which Noguerol blocked on the line with his upper arm. It was a close thing but referee Andradas Asurmendi had no doubts and pointed to the spot, producing a red card for the unfortunate young defender who had only been on the park for five minutes or so.

Jankauskas converted the kick and the Real players lost concentration, probably dreaming of their second win bonus in a row. That was fatal, and before they had time to think Karpin had drilled a hard low cross in from the right for Catanha which Loren intercepted, only to see the ball enter his own net. The ten men kept up the attack, and in injury time Mostovoi got in the way of a wayward long shot by Vagner, and with the ball falling kindly turned to shoot past Asper. The point was saved and Celta go on to Mallorca to play their cup match midweek. Toshack took his players off to Switzerland for a four day training session, and undoubtedly he will be concentrating on how to keep a lead, his team having thrown away several matches recently. They at least move up a place over Osasuna, but with three matches now in a row against the top three clubs he was hoping for more.