|First Division - Day 27|
Real Sociedad 2 - Rayo Vallecano 2
Westerveld; Tayfun, Kvarme, Luiz Alberto, Aranzábal; Xabi Alonso,
Aranburu; Nihat (Khokhlov 55'), Idiakez (De Paula 72'), De Pedro; Kovacevic.
Team changes: Real Sociedad: Nihat for López Rekarte / Rayo: Ferrón, De Quintana, Peragón for Alcázar, Corino, Azkoitia.
Ten man Rayo Vallecano fought back from two goals down to salvage an invaluable point against relegation rivals Real Sociedad. It was a brave-heart performance from Gregorio Manzano's side, who lost striker Bolic to a red card on the stroke of half time after an Oscar winning act by Westerveld, the Dutch keeper falling poleaxed to the ground after the Bosnian forward made a light contact with his forehead. Manzano had recovered his three suspended players for this vital game, but his side found themselves a goal down in only the third minute after De Pedro waltzed through the defence to set up Nihat for his first goal in Spain. The rest of the first half belonged to the home side, with Imanol Etxeberria in superb form keeping out efforts from Nihat and twice from an excellent De Pedro.
Rayo brought on Vivar Dorado at the break, but their task looked impossible when an unmarked Luiz Alberto headed a second goal from De Pedro's corner. However the Madrid side didn't give up, and Pablo Sanz put them back in the game heading home Michel's free kick. Real started to falter, and ten minutes later Bolo made it all square with another header, this time from a long ball in from Peragón. Toshack threw on his super-sub De Paula, but Etxeberria was not going to let anyone past him, and when De Paula headed De Pedro's cross against the post in injury time it was all over. Real still stay a point and a place ahead of Rayo, but Manzano's side have a better direct goal average, and Toshack must be ruing a lost opportunity of putting some distance between his team and the bottom three.