First Division - Day 23

Real Sociedad 2 - Osasuna 0

Real Sociedad: Westerveld; López Rekarte, Kvarme, Boris, Aranzábal; Xabi Alonso (Mikel Alonso 57'), Aranburu; Karpin, Nihat (Khokhlov 80'), Barkero (Gabilondo 90'); Kovacevic. 4-2-3-1.
Osasuna: Sanzol; Josetxo, Cruchaga, Mateo, Antonio López; Muñoz (Valdo 55'), Puñal, Alfredo, Manfredini (Gorka Brit 74'); Iván Rosado, Aloisi (Morales 74'). 4-4-2.

Team changes: Real: Kvarme, Xabi Alonso, Aranburu for Jauregi, Schürrer, Mikel Alonso / Osasuna: Cruchaga for Yanguas.

1-0. 42. Kovacevic. Ball bounced off him into net after Barkero corner from right.
2-1. 64. Mikel Alonso. Drove shot past keeper after Manfredini failed to control.

Real Sociedad went back to the top of the table again after beating neighbours Osasuna 2-0 on Sunday night, their first victory in four games. Denoueix brought back Xabi Alonso for this game, even though he was not fully match fit, but was missing De Pedro and his two central defenders through injury and suspension. It took his side some time to get going though, and Westerveld had to make saves from Iván Rosado and a long Mateo free kick in the first thirty minutes as the visitors pegged them back in their own half.

Eventually the hosts took the lead, although the goal when it came was somewhat fortunate, Kovacevic challenging for a Barkero corner with Cruchaga and the ball bouncing off his leg up over the defence in to the net. The Yugoslav striker was still appealing for a penalty when he realized that he had scored. Early in the second half he came close to adding a second after Sanzol just managed to block his header, but Osasuna could have equalised themselves, Westerveld tipping a shot from Alfredo over the bar and Muñoz shooting just wide.

Denoueix finally decided to take off Xabi Alonso, replacing him with his older brother Mikel who usually plays for the B team. Soon afterwards the young midfielder got his first goal for the club, firing a shot past Sanzol after Manfredini's failed clearance fell at his feet. Real claimed a penalty in the dying minutes when Cruchaga felled Nihat, but referee Rubinos Pérez waved away the appeals. It didn't matter for once, and the San Sebastian side are back on top of the pile, heading the table for the eighteenth week in a row.