Two penalties from Mikel Oyarzabal secured a second successive away victory for Real Sociedad in La Liga against Athletic Club in the Basque Country Derby.
The visitors, aided by VAR, took the lead through Oyarzabal’s first spot-kick before Iker Muniain replied immediately for the Bilbao club.
Luca Sangalli, who won the first penalty, then got on the end of a cross to put La Real in front shortly after the restart.
A costly defensive error from Yeray led to another penalty being put past Unai Simón in the Athletic goal as Real Sociedad move into the top half of the La Liga table.
The hosts were on the front foot from the first whistle in front of a raucous crowd at San Mamés. Miguel Ángel Moyá managed to get fingertips to a Beñat free kick that might just have been heading wide anyway. Former La Real captain, Iñigo Martínez headed over from the resulting corner.
Athletic tried to turn the screw in their search for an equaliser but were susceptible to a counter attack. Iker Muniain’s calls for a penalty were forgotten quickly as Real Sociedad piled men forward, Mikel Oyarzabal found Jon Bautista with a cross but the 23-year-old could not guide his effort on target.
Real Sociedad continued to provide more of a goal threat in the minutes that followed and went close when Luca Sangalli headed straight at Unai Simón in the Athletic goal. However, as he headed the ball, Sangalli seemed to have been caught by the high boot of Martínez.
Lengthy calls for a penalty were waved away by the referee before VAR intervened moments later to award La Real a chance to go ahead from the spot. Oyarzabal kept his eye on Simón before calmy stroking the ball down the middle to give his side the lead.
They’d barely stopped celebrating in San Sebastián when Markel Suseata’s cross landed at the feet of Muniain, who poked past Moyá and sent the vast majority of San Mamés into jubilation. Six bookings had been handed out by the time the referee blew for half time in a feisty Basque Derby.
Athletic fans arriving back to their seats late after half time would have been shocked to see Igor Zubeldia break down the right wing and send a dangerous cross into their penalty area. And, to their horror, on the end of that cross was a man in white and blue, Luca Sangalli, to notch his first La Liga goal and put La Real in front once more.
Eduardo Berizzo’s men couldn’t mount any sort of sustained pressure on Moyá’s goal in the next portion of the match, which passed without much incident. Yeray’s short back-pass then allowed Bautista to round Simón before the 21-year-old keeper brought down the striker to give the visitors their second penalty of the game. No VAR needed this time; the decision was as clear-cut as they come.
Oyarzabal arrowed his spot-kick into the bottom right corner and, kissing the badge, was joined in celebration by his teammates. In a desperate attempt to get back into the game, Athletic were forced to commit men forward. If Beñat’s off-target effort wasn’t enough of a warning, then Aritz
Aduriz’s disallowed goal would’ve kept the Sociedad fans on the edge of their seats. Aduriz, on as a substitute, looked onside before clipping the ball over Moyá but VAR backed the official’s decision to rule the goal out. La Real held strong to see out a deserved victory as they won at San Mamés for the first time in three seasons.