First Division - Day 34

Real Sociedad 0 - Real Madrid 2

Real Sociedad: Riesgo; Zubiaurre, Labaka, Brechet, Garrido (Rossato 86'); Mikel Alonso; Uranga (Gabilondo 81'), Karpin, Aranburu (De Paula 86'), Barkero; Kovacevic. 4-1-4-1.
Madrid: Casillas; Celades, Pavón, Iván Helguera, Roberto Carlos; Beckham, Gravesen (Mejía 75'), Solari (Guti 60'); Raúl; Owen (Borja 86'), Ronaldo. 4-3-1-2.

Team changes: Real Sociedad: Riesgo, Karpin for Alberto, Mladenovic / Madrid: Celades, Iván Helguera, Gravesen, Solari for Michel Salgado, Samuel, Borja, Zidane.

0-1. 83. Ronaldo. Ran on to Guti through ball to round keeper and score.
0-2. 92. Ronaldo. Picked up cross from Guti and back-heeled ball into net.

Two late goals from Ronaldo were enough to give Real Madrid a 0-2 victory at Real Sociedad, once again closing the gap on leaders Barcelona to three points pending their game on Sunday. Missing Zidane, Samuel and Salgado through suspension and Figo through injury, Luxemburgo decided to give the right back spot to Celades and drafted Solari into midfield. There was little action though until midway through the first half when Beckham fired a long shot just wide of the post.

A couple of minutes later though Casillas had to be at his best to block a shot from Karpin at point blank range, and the keeper stopped another effort from Uranga before the break. And after the restart it was more of the same, Casillas once again in action to turn a tricky overhead shot from Labaka away for a corner and then getting a hand down to cut out a rapid attack from Kovacevic.

The only danger up to then from the visitors after the restart had been a Beckham free kick which bounced off a defender for a corner, although Madrid were gradually starting to get in the game, Riesgo having to save from Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos, and Owen getting on the end of another Beckham free kick to send a back-header just wide.

Luxemburgo decided it was time for a change though, and brought on Guti for a disappointing Solari. It proved to be the turning point, and with seven minutes to go the midfielder slotted a pass through for Ronaldo to run on and round Riesgo to score.

Amorrortu immediately threw on extra attacking players, but with the game already in injury time Guti cut in from the left past his marker and slipped the ball towards goal. The keeper got a hand to it but only as far as Ronaldo, and although the striker slipped on the ball, he recovered quickly to back-heel it into the net before the keeper could get to him.

Seconds later the final whistle went, and Madrid were once again in the hunt. This was their sixth straight win in a row, and the pressure is now back on Frank Rijkaard's team to win against Albacete. The next four weeks are going to seem like an eternity.