Merino heads on goal against Villarreal.ANDREU ESTEBAN (EFE)
In ten lethal minutes, Real Sociedad knocked Villarreal out, liquidated them. In those final moments of the first half, Marcelino's team entered immaculate and came out in tatters, like the unfortunate characters in Ibáñez's comics when a bomb explodes that doesn't kill anyone, like the goals, three torpedoes that left the Estadio de la Cerámica without a voice, except for the corner tinted white and blue. The royalist fans were happy for that unexpected outburst, which was for them like the double rocket that celebrates the goals at Anoeta.
Jorgensen, Alfonso Pedraza, Juan Foyth, Jorge Cuenca, Albiol, Álex Baena, Adrià Altimira (Ilias Chakkour, min. 45), Capoue, Parejo (Ramón Terrats, min. 91), Gerard Moreno (Ben Brereton, min. 91) and Morales (Sörloth, min. 73)
RSO R. Company
Remiro, Hamari Traore, Zubeldia (Jon Pacheco, min. 59), Tierney, Elustondo, Merino, Brais (Beñat Turrientes, min. 29), Arsen Zakharyan, Martín Zubimendi, Sadiq (Carlos Fernández, min. 77) and Take Kubo
Goals 0-1 min. 37: Merino. 0-2 min. 40: Martín Zubimendi. 0-3 min. 49: Take Kubo.
Arbitrator Mario Melero López
Yellow cards Capoue (min. 22), Alfonso Pedraza (min. 49) and Martín Zubimendi (min. 59)
The day on which the San Sebastian team commemorated the 25th anniversary of the murder of their supporter Aitor Zabaleta, who they remembered by taking to the field with shirts with that number and that name on the back, ended up working out well for them after getting their third away win. Until Villarreal's disastrous ten minutes, Imanol's team had been slightly superior to their opponents, but the game looked even, despite the very clear opportunity that Mikel Merino missed right from the start, in a header from very close range that Jorgensen deflected, after a cross from Brais, who shortly after had to retire injured. with a heavy blow to the right arm from a kick by Capoue, who caught him with his hand resting on the grass.
Villarreal responded when Morales arrived, but he was unable to get his leg together for the shot, and who was very uncomfortable throughout the match, under the strict surveillance of the centre-backs from San Sebastian.
But La Real found a way to do damage from set-pieces. It was two consecutive corners that opened the gap in Villarreal's goal. The first, launched by Kubo and finished off by Merino, ahead of the entire Yellows defensive line; the second, still stunned by the Yellows, in a rehearsed play, crossed wrists by Kubo, with the ball that reached Zakharyan, on the edge of the area. His shot was deflected by Zubimendi with his left foot to double the difference on the scoreboard. Only three minutes had passed since the first blow. The third came shortly after, but in the other goal, when Remiro first deflected Parejo's shot that was looking for the goal, and then Gerard Moreno's, from point-blank range, which was rejected. A goal could have woken Villarreal up from their nightmare, but Marcelino's men didn't have the day, and they confirmed that impression when Albiol lost a ball at the start of the area, Sadiq, who was passing by, picked it up and gave it to Merino, who, like Guti, as Take Kubo later pointed out, put the ball to the Japanese to put the final figures on the scoreboard and leave Villarreal groggy.
With 0-3 and Marcelino on the bench, the first half ended and so did the match, because, although Villarreal pressed to try to narrow the gap, they found Remiro in a state of grace and his forwards with very little aim. Traoré saved the first chance of the second half from Akhomach, who licked his lips in front of the San Sebastian goalkeeper; then Baena and Gerard had a double chance and then again Gerard tried the impossible, chipping over Remiro, although the shot went high.
La Real let their opponents do more with such a wide scoreline, but they were also able to round off an almost perfect score with a Sadiq run that stood up to Jorgensen. He had too much time to think, tried a couple of bikes and in the end the doorman, cold as an iceberg, took it from between his legs. But Imanol's men, who dedicated the victory to Aitor Zabaleta at the end of the match, didn't care. His job was done. Very well done.
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