|First Division - Day 20|
Athletic Bilbao 2 - Real Sociedad 1
Javi González, Lacruz, Oscar Vales (Murillo 46'), Larrazábal;
Carlos García, Alkiza; Tiko, Ezquerro, Joseba Etxeberria (Felipe 82');
Team changes: Bilbao: Oscar Vales, Carlos García, Tiko, Ezquerro for Murillo, Orbaiz, Julen Guerrero, Yeste / Real Sociedad: Luiz Alberto, Kovacevic for Pikabea, De Paula.
Athletic Bilbao won their local derby against Real Sociedad 2-1 on Saturday night, the first time they have won against their neighbours in their own San Mames stadium for nine years. Curiously the two managers at that time were the same as now, Jupp Heyckes and John Toshack, both in earlier spells with their respective clubs. Both made changes to their line ups this week, with Toshack drafting in his new signing Darko Kovacevic up front and bringing back Luiz Alberto after a one match ban. Heyckes strengthened his defence with Oscar Vales (also back after a suspension) and Carlos García, and replaced Julen Guerrero and Yeste with Tiko and Ezquerro. The introduction of Tiko in particular proved to be an excellent choice, the youngster turning out to be the match winner with two excellent goals to add to the two he scored in the cup midweek.
Real started off strongly though, with Kovacevic involved in two or three goal opportunities right from the opening minutes. The match was not the typical hard fought passionate derby though, with both sides testing the water warily early on, and the visitors closing down the hosts' forays down the wings and keeping a tight watch on Urzaiz. Bilbao had to find another way through and they did so close to half time after a quick passing move left Tiko free to blast a shot wide of Westerveld, the first goal he had let in since joining the club three games ago. However before half time the visitors were level, De Pedro capping his return to form with an excellent free kick round the outside of the defensive wall which caught Lafuente unprepared.
Heynckes brought on Murillo at half time for the injured Vales, the youngster playing in his first derby against the side his father and his uncle turned out for, and a few minutes later Toshack replaced Xabi Alonso, who was less effective in a defensive role and was also in danger of getting himself sent off. Real were getting back on top, but then Tiko struck again with a goal out of nothing, taking Ezquerro's cross-field pass and unleashing a shot from outside of the area which left Westerveld clutching at air. Still the San Sebastian side didn't give up, and Kovacevic turned on a headed pass from Luiz Alberto to shoot low past Lafuente. It appeared to be a good goal, but Medina Cantalejo surprised one and all ruling it out for a non-existent foul. Toshack was livid, and eventually won himself a red card after going over the top with his insults to the referee. It was an important decision though, the victory taking Bilbao up to second in the table four points behind Real Madrid, whereas Real Sociedad were left firmly down in next to bottom place. There didn't seem that much to choose between them on the night.