First Division - Day 25

Real Sociedad 3 - Alavés 1

Real Sociedad: Westerveld; Kvarme, Jauregi, Schürrer, Aranzábal; Xabi Alonso, Aranburu; Karpin, Nihat (Mikel Alonso 85'), De Pedro (Boris 75'); Kovacevic (De Paula 90'). 4-2-3-1.
Alavés: Juan Pablo; Geli, Karmona, Téllez, Ochoa, Llorens; Tomic, Turiel, Ibon Begoña, Magno (Rubén Navarro 76'); Iván Alonso. 5-4-1.

Team changes: Real: Kvarme, Schürrer, Aranburu, Nihat for López Rekarte, Boris, Tayfun, Khokhlov / Alavés: Juan Pablo, Téllez, Ochoa, Ibon Begoña, Iván Alonso for Dutruel, Abelardo, Edu Alonso, Jordi Cruyff, Rubén Navarro.

1-0. 17. Kovacevic. Beat keeper on near post after Nihat crossed in from right.
2-0. 39. Nihat. Got on the end of De Pedro cross to poke ball past Juan Pablo.
3-0. 44. Karpin. Got ahead of Llorens to drive De Pedro centre wide of keeper.
3-1. 84. Rubén Navarro (penalty). After referee ruled that defender fouled.

Three goals in the first half were enough to give Real Sociedad a comfortable victory over local rivals Alavés in their Sunday night derby match. Denoueix's side were virtually back to full strength for this game, and Nihat celebrated his return after a one match ban setting up Kovacevic for a first goal after Xabi Alonso had won the ball in midfield and sent him away down the right wing. Later in the half the Turkish international scored the second himself, getting on the end of De Pedro's curling cross to beat young keeper Juan Pablo, and Karpin made it three just before half time, getting ahead of Llorens to stab home another De Pedro cross.

Alavés had been in the news during the week after club president had said that they had made a mistake with their summer signings, and Mané made five changes to his side, dropping keeper Dutruel and central defender Abelardo after the team had let in eleven goals in the last two games against Deportivo and Real Madrid. However he was at a loss as to what to do next, and his team could have been even further behind had Kovacevic been able to steer a tight header on target after a fierce cross from Karpin.

Real considered they had done enough though, and slowed the pace down to conserve their lead. The visitors did get one back near the end when referee Ramírez Domínguez awarded a penalty after a group of players bustled in for a corner, substitute Rubén Navarro converting the kick for the final 3-1 scoreline. From television pictures after the game, it was difficult to see what Ramírez had spotted, although at least three Alavés players were left on the ground when the action was over. In the end though Real move back to second place, still only a point behind leaders Real Madrid, and Alavés drop to the edge of the relegation zone having now only won one out of six matches in the second half of the season.