Tuesday September 20, 2011 (19.00 UK)
Estadio Anoeta, Basque Country
The night belonged to Real Sociedad’s youth product and intelligent midfielder Asier Illarramendi who stole the show and controlled the midfield in a manner that left his teammates in awe and the opposition overwhelmed and outdone. Alongside his companion in midfield, McDonald Mariga, the duo delivered excellent passes, united the team and ensured a compact unit as they played in the players around them.
Determined to snatch all three points despite key injuries, Sociedad played an efficient game and halted Granada’s play, limiting their power to penetrate. Granada on the other hand did not react and looked like a newly promoted team as they failed to capitalise on the chances they did create – most of which came down the left side.
Defending well as a team, they appeared to have resigned themselves to a loss early on and only drove forward in search of an equaliser in the last portion of the game, following Dani Estrada’s fortunate 63rd minute goal from a mishit cross that sailed into the net. The goal never did come but Dani Benitez demonstrated just how instrumental he is to Granada’s offensive game and Coach Fabri simply cannot afford to rest him.
Real Sociedad (4-2-3-1): Bravo; Estrada, Gonzalez, Martinez, De la Bella; Mariga, Illarramendi; Griezmann (Cadamuro 77), Aranburu (Zurutuza 80), Vela (Sarpong 83); Agirretxe
Unused subs: Ansotegi, Ramirez, Ifran, Pardo
Granada (4-2-3-1): Juan; Nyom, Diakhate, Mainz, Siqueira; Hurtado (Abel 80), Yebda; Jara (F Rico 62), Martins, Benitez; Uche (Ighalo 83)
Unused subs: Cesar, Lopez, M Rico, Romero
Did you know…Real Sociedad have not lost a home match since April and that was to Hercules.