First Division - Day 32

Real Sociedad 1 - Deportivo La Coruña 1

Real Sociedad: Westerveld; López Rekarte, Jauregui, Kvarme, Aranzábal; Xabi Alonso (Khokhlov 70'), Aranburu; Tayfun, Idiakez, De Pedro; Kovacevic (De Paula 85'). 4-2-3-1.
Deportivo: Molina; Héctor, César, Naybet, Romero; Duscher, Mauro Silva; Víctor (Sergio 61'), Valerón, Fran (Amavisca 80'); Makaay (Pandiani 74'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Real Sociedad: Aranburu for Gurrutxaga / Deportivo: Héctor, Mauro Silva, Makaay for Scaloni, Sergio, Diego Tristán.

1-0. 35. Idiakez Took long pass from Xabi Alonso to beat Molina from close up.
1-1. 54. Valerón. Controlled headed pass across area to shoot over keeper.

Deportivo lost ground on the two leaders when they could only draw 1-1 at Real Sociedad. With so much at stake Irureta could not afford to rest his key players for next Tuesday's Chasmpions League game with Manchester United and put out his best available side, bringing back Mauro Silva after his one match ban. However Diego Tristán and Scaloni were both suspended, and the manager included Makaay and Héctor in his starting line up. Real Sociedad's new manager Roberto Olabe switched to a four men defence for this home match after experimenting with three central defenders in their recent victory over Mallorca. The game started at a frantic pace, with both keepers earning their pay with good saves, Westerveld from Víctor and Makaay and Molina from Kovacevic. With a quarter of an hour gone Héctor had to hook the ball off the line from a De Pedro header, and Real took the lead twenty minutes later when Idiakez ran on to a long Xabi Alonso pass to score past Molina. The action continued, and almost immediately Westerveld saved from Makaay and Molina stopped an effort from Kovacevic, both at point blank range.

The two teams went in at the break with Real on top. However Irureta's half time pep talk seemed to work, and inspired by Valerón Deportivo worked their way back into the game. Eight minutes in to the half the Spanish international midfielder levelled the scores, taking a headed pass from Makaay to beat Westerveld with a curling shot. Molina produced a spectacular one handed save from Kovacevic five minutes later as Real came back, and Westerveld then made the save of the match from Fran to conserve the point which keeps them in fourteenth place, three above the drop zone. Depor stay in third place, but they are now four points behind the leaders and need to win their next two matches, both at home, before they meet Valencia in day 35 and Real Madrid on the last day of the season. Before that though they have a rather important appointment next Tuesday.