First Division - Day 38

Real Sociedad 3 - Atlético Madrid 0

Real Sociedad: Westerveld; López Rekarte, Kvarme, Jauregi, Boris; Xabi Alonso, Aranburu; Karpin (Tayfun 78'), Nihat (De Paula 80'), De Pedro (Gabilondo 68'); Kovacevic. 4-2-3-1.
Atlético: Burgos; Otero, Coloccini, García Calvo, Sergi; Emerson, Movilla; Aguilera, José Marí, Luis García (Jorge 64'); Fernando Torres (Javi Moreno 70'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Real: No change / Atlético: Burgos, Movilla for Esteban, Albertini.

1-0. 51. Kovacevic. Controlled long ball out of midfield and hit shot past Burgos.
2-0. 57. De Pedro. From left of goal after Kovacevic headed on cross from right.
3-0. 74. Nihat. Collected pass from right and ran past defender to score.

Real Sociedad did what they had to do, but it was not enough. Their 3-0 win over Atlético Madrid kept the pressure on Real Madrid, but in the end they stayed two points behind the champions. The Basque side appeared nervous in the first half, with de Pedro missing an easy chance in front of the returning Mono Burgos and Aranburu putting another chance wide. Westerveld had to be at his best to save from Luis García and Fernando Torres, but Nihat hit the post with a shot which Burgos didn't see until it bounced back off his leg for a corner.

Kovacevic put the home fans' minds at rest though with a goal early in the first half, volleying past Burgos after controlling a long pass out of midfield. De Pedro made it two a few minutes later, and probably for the first time in their history the San Sebastian crowd chanted the names of their arch rivals Athletic, who were only a goal behind at Real Madrid. But when news came through that Ronaldo had scored a third, the atmosphere died for a few moments.

Even so Nihat added a third, and the home supporters rallied round and gave their side a standing ovation at the end for what has been their best season in 20 years. To add to an undefeated home record, they also clocked up more victories (22) than in the two seasons that they won the league. Not enough though for a third title, although celebrations still went on long into the night.