Real Sociedad score twice at key moments in the game against an Espanyol side that didn’t take their chances
Espanyol and R. Sociedad went into the game at the Reale Arena in different moods. The home side’s morale was low following recent defeats and they were looking to restore pride in by winning in a game in which they had the advantage of being the home side in a straight knockout tie. Espanyol, on the other hand, were looking to maintain the good run of form sparked by Abelardo’s arrival as manager. The coach wanted to rest some players, and put out a starting eleven full of fresh faces. The team knew that they would have to dig deep, not give anything away and remain concentrated and solid throughout. The ‘txuri-urdin’, who in the first half of the season have shown clear attacking threat, continually picked found gaps between the lines of the Catalan side. In the first half, the fruits of their labour were a clear chance missed by Gorosabel, a couple of long shots off-target and a low, driven shot from Barrenetxea that caught Andrés Prieto off guard to open the scoring. As for Espanyol, Wu Lei and Ferreyra were always well marked by the home side’s centre-backs and were not able to play with the speed and ability, with Espanyol’s attacking play noticeably laboured in the face of the home side’s press.
Espanyol seemed to emerge with a bit more impetus in the second half. Ferreyra headed towards goal from a Vargas cross, but didn’t trouble the R. Sociedad goalkeeper. The home side’s response was immediate. Oyarzabal struck the post with a shot from a cross to revive the home side’s excitement. They were even more excited shortly after Remiro saved brilliantly from Ferreyra and in the immediate counter attack, Isak put the ball in the back of the net. From a chance to make it 1-1, to 2-0 down in 15 seconds.
With the game all but decided on the scoreboard, Wu Lei rattled the crossbar with another effort.