First Division - Day 37

Valladolid 1 - Real Sociedad 3

Valladolid: Ricardo; Torres Gómez, Peña (Chema 60'), Gaspar, Marcos; Eusebio (Ricchetti 58'), Mario; Fernando Sales, Fernando, Luis García; Tote (Pachón 83'). 4-2-3-1.
Real Sociedad: Westerveld; López Rekarte, Kvarme, Jauregui, Aranzábal; Xabi Alonso (Gabilondo 70'), Idiakez; Tayfun, Khokhlov (Pikabea 84'), Aranburu; Kovacevic (De Paula 75'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Valladolid: Eusebio for Jesús / Real Sociedad: Aranburu for De Pedro.

1-0. 25. Fernando Sales. Lobbed ball over keeper after Eusebio through ball.
1-1. 31. Aranburu. Strong shot from outside area as corner partly cleared.
1-2. 48. Idiakez. Ran on to pass and lifted ball over keeper from edge of area.
1-3. 73. Kovacevic (penalty). After Ricardo brought down striker himself in area.

Valladolid lost their opportunity to push for a place in Europe after they were defeated 1-3 by Real Sociedad, who are now sure of staying up. As it happened a victory would have taken them level with Alavés, and they started well when Fernando Sales put in a dangerous cross in the opening minutes. Real came close though soon afterwards when Aranburu, replacing the injured De Pedro, sent a shot against the inside of the post, and Ricardo made a good save from Tayfun a few minutes later. With little at stake it was an open, entertaining game, and Luis García almost delighted the crowd with a scissors kick which went just wide. The home side did take the lead a bit later though when Eusebio found Fernando Sales with a long ball for him to lob the ball over Westerveld. The excited players surrounded the creator of the goal, who was playing his last game before retirement having set a new record number of first division appearances for an outfield player.

The lead only lasted six minutes though before Aranburu made it all square, his fierce drive from outside of the area leaving Ricardo with no chance. Three minutes after the restart Idiakez put the visitors in front, and only two first class saves from Ricardo stopped the midfielder from scoring twice more as Real kept up the attack. Eusebio left the field to a standing ovation having set the new standard at 543 games, but the celebrations were muted as referee Muñiz Fernández awarded a penalty to the visitors a quarter of an hour later when Ricardo brought down Kovacevic on the edge of the area. The Yugoslav striker converted the spot kick himself to put the result beyond doubt despite a late header by Luis García against the bar, and Olabe's side move up to within a point of their opponents, now safe in mid-table. Valladolid still have a mathematical chance of qualifying for the UEFA cup next season, but need a most improbable combination of events to do so. The fans though are just happy that they will be seeing the big names again at the Nuevo Zorrilla next season.