First Division - Day 21

Real Sociedad 1 - Alavés 2

Real Sociedad: Westerveld; López Rekarte, Kvarme, Luiz Alberto, Aranzábal; Xabi Alonso, Idiakez; Tayfun, Khokhlov (Aranburu 60'), De Pedro (Gabilondo 72'); Kovacevic (De Paula 75'). 4-2-3-1.
Alavés: Kike; Geli, Coloccini, Téllez, Llorens; Turiel (Jordi Cruyff 70'), Pablo; Astudillo, Mara (Magno 55'), Ibon Begoña (Witschge 61'); Rubén Navarro. 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Real Sociedad: No change / Alavés: Téllez, Mara, Ibon Begoña for Karmona, Vucko, Magno.

1-0. 07. Kovacevic. Strong header into bottom corner following De Pedro free kick.
1-1. 78. Jordi Cruyff. Headed down past Westerveld after cross from Witschge.
1-2. 86. Magno. Drove shot through Westerveld's hands after free kick from right.

Alavés came from a goal down to beat neighbours Real Sociedad 1-2 and leave them firmly anchored down in next to bottom position. Real manager John Toshack was in the stands serving a one match ban, but he put out an unchanged side, with Darko Kovacevic making his reappearance for the San Sebastian side after a two and a half year absence. It seemed like only yesterday, and the Yugoslavian striker soon settled in, heading his side into the lead from De Pedro's long free kick with only seven minutes on the clock. Mané's side were almost back to full strength, with Téllez and Ibon Begoña returning after their suspensions, but although they had more of the possession, the home side were the more dangerous on the counterattack. Shortly after the half time interval Kovacevic had two opportunities to extend their lead, but his first effort went just over the bar and then he waited too long with the goal at the mercy, Coloccini getting back just in time to block his shot.

That was a turning point, and Mané brought on three substitutes in quick succession, Magno, Witschge and then Jordi Cruyff, who was returning after missing a game through injury. The two Dutchmen made their mark quickly, Witschge crossing from the left for Jordi to beat their fellow countryman Westerveld with a well placed header, his first goal of the season. Then with four minutes to go the limping Magno stayed on the pitch long enough to get clear of his markers and drive a winning goal through the keeper's hands from a short free kick from the right. This was the first victory by the Vitoria based side in the Anoeta stadium in four visits, and they move up to second place pending Sunday's matches. They still have a game in hand against Rayo Vallecano which will be played next Wednesday, and if they win that one they will draw level with Real Madrid at the top of the table. Mané's miracle continues.