Real Madrid provisionally moved to the top of the Primera Division table after defeating Real Sociedad in a hard-fought and end-to-end encounter at the Anoeta stadium this evening.
Madrid rode their luck on occasion against a fired-up Sociedad side in the first half before taking a 51st-minute lead through Angel Di Maria’s superb strike.
That advantage lasted just 11 minutes though before veteran striker Raul Tamudo brought Sociedad back on level terms – the first goal Madrid have conceded in four competitive games under new coach Jose Mourinho.
Madrid were not to be denied their first away win of the campaign though and they took the spoils thanks to a huge slice of luck in the 74th minute.
Cristiano Ronaldo, looking for his first goal of the season, fired in a 25-yard free-kick that took a big deflection off team-mate Pepe standing in the wall and Sociedad goalkeeper Claudio Bravo could only stand and watch as the ball ballooned past him and into the far top corner of the net.
The victory lifts Madrid on to seven points from three games and to the top of the standings, although they could be replaced tomorrow depending on how Atletico Madrid, Valencia and Sevilla get on in their matches.
Mourinho predicted a tough test for his side ahead of the clash with promoted Sociedad and he was to be proved correct.
The visitors went close through Di Maria and Ronaldo early on, but Sociedad looked for all the world to have taken the lead in the 25th minute when Antoine Griezmann was put through by Tamudo and toe-poked a shot goalwards.
Sociedad coach Martin Lasarte was not the only person in the ground celebrating as the ball beat Casillas and appeared to nestle in the back of the net, but the shot actually went wide of the post before hitting a board just behind the goal.
Madrid survived another close shave six minutes later when Xabi Prieto’s low cross looked destined for Tamudo at the far post before Ricardo Carvalho stuck out a foot and deflected the ball inches wide of the post.
It was not until the start of the second half that the deadlock was broken though, and it was a memorable way for summer signing Di Maria to net his first goal for Madrid, cutting in on his less-favoured right foot and curling an unstoppable shot into the far top corner of the net.
Madrid’s lead was short-lived however as, after three games in which he has barely had to make a save, Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas was finally beaten.
Griezmann’s free-kick from near the left touchline was inch-perfect for Tamudo, who escaped from Carvalho to divert the ball high into the net with his thigh from three yards out.
That was the former Spain forward’s second goal in successive games for Sociedad since his summer move from Espanyol, but it was not enough to deny Madrid the spoils as Portuguese duo Ronaldo and Pepe inadvertently combined to put Mourinho’s side back in front.
Mourinho was left fuming after almost seeing Sociedad equalise with seven minutes left, a deflected cross almost beating Casillas, but it was Madrid who looked the more dangerous late on with Higuain, Ronaldo, Marcelo and Karim Benzema all going close to netting a third goal.
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