First Division - Day 29

Real Sociedad 4 - Real Madrid 2

Real Sociedad: Westerveld; López Rekarte, Kvarme, Jauregi, Aranzábal; Xabi Alonso (Boris 75'), Aranburu; Karpin (Tayfun 80'), Nihat (Gabilondo 87'), De Pedro; Kovacevic. 4-2-3-1.
Real Madrid: Casillas; Michel Salgado, Hierro, Iván Helguera, Roberto Carlos; Makelele, Flavio Conceiçao (Guti 46'); Figo (Miñambres 46'), Raúl, Zidane (Portillo 73'); Ronaldo. 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Real: Jauregi, De Pedro for Gurrutxaga, Barkero / Madrid: Iván Helguera, Makelele, Zidane for Pavón, Cambiasso, Guti.

1-0. 03. Kovacevic. Turned ball in on near post after Aranzábal passed in.
2-0. 20. Kovacevic. Ran on to De Pedro cross to shoot over Casillas.
3-0. 32. Nihat. Burst past two defenders and forced ball past keeper.
3-1. 33. Ronaldo. Picked up Zidane pass and placed shot wide of Westerveld.
4-1. 34. Xabi Alonso. Controlled ball outside area and hit long shot over Casillas.
4-2. 83. Portillo. Took Raúl through ball and beat Westerveld from right of area.

Third placed Real Sociedad blew the title race wide open after beating leaders Real Madrid 4-2, and they move back to within three points of them. It was an extraordinary game, particularly in the first half when the goals flew thick and fast. Madrid were clearly tired after their midweek game against Manchester United, but even so Del Bosque decided that this one was too important to make changes, and he put out his all-star line-up. They were caught out right away though, Kovacevic opening the scoring for the home side in the third minute after Aranzábal set him up, and adding a second a quarter of an hour later from De Pedro's cross.

But there was more to come, and the football feast continued with three goals in the space of two minutes. Nihat made it three for the locals, his speed taking him in between Hierro and Helguera, and although Ronaldo got one back a minute later from Zidane's pinpoint pass, Xabi Alonso curled a shot past Casillas straight from the resulting kick off. The excitement continued when Zidane hit the post at the other end, and before half time Raúl headed just wide from Figo's corner.

Del Bosque finally was forced to make changes, bringing on Guti and Miñambres at the break for Figo and Flavio, partly to save Figo from picking up a fifth yellow card and missing the upcoming Barcelona match. But after that things calmed down, with Real happy to sit back on their lead. Westerveld got the better of Ronaldo a couple of times, and Nihat shot wide before substitute Portillo got a second goal for the visitors after Raúl put him through. But the galactic side had been brought back down to Earth, and those who had already pencilled in Madrid's name on the league title will have to rethink. It's not all over yet, not by a long chalk.