First Division - Day 6

Alavés 2 - Real Sociedad 2

Alavés: Dutruel; Edu Alonso, Abelardo, Téllez, Llorens; Desio (Luis Helguera 72'), Pablo; Astudillo, Magno (Jordi Cruyff 72'), Ibon Begoña; Iván Alonso (Rubén Navarro 81'). 4-2-3-1.
Real Sociedad: Westerveld; López Rekarte, Jauregi (Kvarme 67'), Schürrer, Aranzábal; Xabi Alonso (Aranburu 80'), Boris; Karpin, Nihat, Gabilondo (De Pedro 83'); Kovacevic. 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Alavés: Ibon Begoña for Ochoa / Real: Boris, Gabilondo for Aranburu, De Pedro.

1-0. 05. Astudillo. Took pass from Magno and beat keeper from wide angle.
1-1. 35. Nihat. Ran on to Gabilondo pass to shoot low past keeper.
1-2. 68. Karpin. Took short pass from Kovacevic and drilled shot past Dutruel.
2-2. 87. Rubén Navarro. Shot off crossbar which bounced just over line.

Real Sociedad find themselves top of the table for the first time in 21 years after an exciting draw against Basque neighbours Alavés. The San Sebastian last lead the pack in the 1981-2 season, when they finished league champions, and after a long period in the doldrums they appear to be back to their best.

They didn't get off to the best of starts though, Astudillo giving the home side the lead with five minutes gone after a good run by Magno. Real came back though and Kovacevic headed against the bar with Dutruel beaten. Then on the half hour mark Abelardo failed to cut out a through ball by Gabilondo, and Nihat ran on to score.

Five minutes before half time Alavés were reduced to ten men after acting captain Pablo insulted referee Megía Davila, and the locals were on the back foot. The visitors took advantage to go ahead in the second half, Karpin beating Dutruel after a short pass from Kovacevic, and it appeared that Real were on for another win.

Alavés did not give up though, and Iván Alonso won a penalty after Schurrer brought him down in the area. After all the criticisms following his miss a few days ago Alonso handed the ball over to regular penalty taker Llorens, but the full back blasted his kick against the crossbar.

With Jordi Cruyff now on the park for his first appearance since his injury, the home side kept up the pressure. Then with five minutes to go Westerveld gave away an indirect kick in the penalty area by holding on to the ball for too long. Ibon Begoña played a short ball to substitute Rubén Navarro, who's shot bounced down off the bar and out of the goal. However the linesman spotted that the ball had crossed the goal line just inside the post, and Megía awarded the goal.

Real were stunned, but were relieved to see after the final whistle that all their near rivals had also failed to win and they were on top of the table. Alavés pick up their first point at home, but they drop down to sixteenth only a point above the bottom three. Mané will have to work his magic in the next few games to see them out of the danger zone.