Agirretxe delight at opening day Real Sociedad win at Gijon

Real Sociedad’s Imanol Agirretxe expressed his delight in scoring two goals that helped the Basque side win at Sporting Gijon on the opening day of the 2011-12 season.

Under new Coach Philippe Montanier, La Real’s 2-1 win also ended opponents’ Sporting Gijon’s 10-game unbeaten run at their home ground of El Molinon that had stretched back to the first week of January. It was the club’s third successive Primera Division win at El Molinon too.

Agirretxe opened the scoring for the visitors on Saturday, with a 35th-minute header from near the penalty spot that finished off a neat move from wide between Xabi Prieto and Carlos Martinez. His second doubled their lead on 65 when he met Prieto’s cross-goal header to then head past Juan Pablo from two yards out.

Martinez was sent off two minutes later for hauling down Alberto Botia for a penalty Sporting converted through Miguel de las Cuevas that opened up a nervous final 20 minutes, but as AS noted, Manuel Preciado had more heart than head to lead his players, in reference to Gijon’s failure to take advantage, and the otherwise stagnant first-half performance.

Montanier praised his players’ organisation and focus, despite also admitting the team’s performance levels dropped after the sending off. Agirretxe meanwhile, told Marca after the game: “We’re very happy to start with three points and that I could help with two goals. It was important to start the season strongly as we now have a complicated schedule.”

Sociedad welcome Barcelona to Anoeta for their first home game of the season, before travelling south to Andalusia to face Sevilla. In light of his goals that briefly saw him take the top-scorer slot for the weekend, Agirretxe is confident for the new season:

“These two goals are a great way to start the new season, one I hope will be very different to last year. I think I have done well in pre-season and knew I was going to have my opportunities, and it mattered to take advantage. I think we were all happy with the performance at Gijon.

To face Barcelona at Anoeta would be special. I hope to have this opportunity, and alongside my teammates, try to scare Barca.”

Sporting Gijon 1-2 Real Sociedad match report

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