Ah, San Sebastian. The ancestral land of Xabis, the land of leg humping ghost dogs, the land where I was almost blown out to sea with the key to the apartment Lozil and I were staying in.
With the Liga race so tight, we really couldn’t afford to drop points. And San Sebastian, despite all their problems, aren’t an easy place to go.
Pre-Match Social Media:
Toni wasn’t there but he wished our boos good luck:
Bonus former player tweet!
Real Sociedad: Geronimo Rulli; Joseba Zaldua, Mikel Gonzalez, Yuri Berchiche, Aritz Elustondo; Xabi Prieto, Markel Bergara, Asier Illarramendi; Mikel Oyarzabal, Bruma, David Zurutuza
Real Madrid: Keylor Navas; Danilo, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Nacho; Luka Modric, James Rodriguez, Casemiro; Gareth Bale, Borja Mayoral, Lucas Vazquez
At the start I was having a fit because we were giving the ball away too easily. And there were moments that I was sure we were going to go behind early before Zizou would put the fear of the football gods into our boys.
In the 4th minute we had a good chance when James poked the ball through to Gareth but our Welshman’s shot was scuffed wide.
After some good possession and a good cross field pass from Lucky Luka, Rulli saved a good James shot in the 9th minute.
The weather in San Sebastian is a bit all over the place. The match started sunny but by the 10th minute it was raining quite hard.
I was being hard on our boys and I kind of knew it. I get nervous with every give away. But we had some good chances. Maybe that’s why I get harsh on them. We have chances but I’d like it if we took more of them a bit better.
Bonus Pirata in the middle of my post:
Real Sociedad’s first real chance was in the 34th minute, so I should probably lighten up a bit.
Our own former Illarra picked up a yellow card in the 36th minute for a challenge to Modric.
In the 41st minute, Gare Bear picked up a yellow card for a high challenge on Elustondo.
Then Bergara had his revenge on Bale when he picked up a yellow card for going in late. This was probably my favorite moment from that. When he picked up the ball and Luka was just absolutely incensed by it.
Zaldua had a shot for Real Sociedad in the 44th minute but it was wide of the post.
Then after 1 minute of added time, the first half came to an end.
Real Sociedad 0 -0 Real Madrid
There were no changes from either side to start the half.
Our first good chance was in the 50th minute but Bale couldn’t quite find the target from Modric’s corner.
In the same minute Prieto came in high on Ramos and was shown a yellow card.
Keylor had to make a save on a corner in the 52nd minute. Real Sociedad were pressuring hard and Navas was there to save us again.
Why does pointing Zizou make me smile?
Gareth hit a shot straight at Rulli in the 58th minute and no one could believe he missed.
The Pony picked up a yellow card in the 59th minute for going in high on Prieto.
Nacho was booked in the 63rd minute. I don’t know if he was given the yellow for pulling down Xabi Prieto or for the way in which he turned around. That card means he’s suspended for the next match due to accumulation.
Zaldua earned his booking in the 64th minute for going in hard on Nacho. Both teams were in the mood to knock each other around. Not in the same way that a match against Levante or Atleti can get but still physical.
Zidane used our first substitution in the 66th minute. It was Jese for Mayoral.
Reyes replaced Bergara in the 68th minute for Real Sociedad.
Our next change was in the 73rd minute when we got some Isco for Juggy James.
Jese had a shot in the 75th minute but again Rulli was there to make the save.
The 76th minute was Modric’s turn for a yellow card.
Our goal came in the 80th minute when Vazquez put in a good cross and Bale did well to beat his defender to get a head on it. It was really well done, as the defending from Sociedad was not poor at all.
Our last sub was Kovacic in the 85th minute to give a bit of a rest to Modric.
And in the 87th minute, Real Sociedad’s final sub was Litri for Yuri.
At the end, Sociedad were pressing hard but in the 2nd minute of added time Navas made a fabulous save on a header from Illarra so that at the end of the 3 added minutes he’d kept his clean sheet and we’d made sure we keep up with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
It’s going to be a crazy ending to the season!
Real Sociedad 0 – 1 Real Madrid
Zidane: “We fought, we suffered, we worked until the end and we won again”
by Javier Garcia (San Sebastian)“I’m very happy for Bale; That fact he’s scored in a game like today’s is good going in to Wednesday”, he added.
Zinedine Zidane spoke in the press room in Anoeta after his side’s victory, their tenth consecutive in La Liga. The Real Madrid coach was happy with the win against Real Sociedad: “We fought, we suffered, we worked until the end against a team that played really well and we’ve picked up three points again. I’m happy with the work”.
“We have done the job, and that’s the most important thing. The others have to play and the important thing for us was getting the points, because if we didn’t get them today, La Liga would have become more difficult. Now we have to rest well and think about the game on Wednesday”.
“I’m happy for him because he’s had a lot of problems with injuries this year. When he’s well he plays and when I see him score it makes me happy for him and for the team. He could have scored in the first half. Gareth has had a few problems this season. But he is able to play and cope just like Cristiano. He can play a lot of games. He’s recovering really well physically. That fact he’s scored in a game like today’s is good going in to Wednesday”.
Depth in the squad
“It means a lot that all of the players are important. When they play they do their job and that’s what’s important. It’s important for the coach when you’ve got 20 or 21 players and not just 13. It’s always difficult playing every three days. They all contribute. It’s the good thing about this team”.
“I’m happy because everyone plays and some have rested. We always do it thinking about the game we’re playing in this moment. Kroos had to rest completely, be at home and think about something else, watching the game obviously. When you get the points, it means you’ve done the job well. We were playing for La Liga and we got the three points”.
Suffering on the bench
“I’ve suffered the same as in other games. When the match starts I’m always tense. The good thing is when we get three points down to the work of everyone. We have got the three points and it’s also important as we prepare for Wednesday”.
The progress of Cristiano Ronaldo and Benzema
“In my head I want them and we think that they’ll be ready. I’ve not picked the eleven today thinking about Wednesday’s game with Isco and Jesé. I was only thinking that I had to change some players, they’ve done well and that’s it”.
“I’ve got total confidence in him, like all of them. Lucas played in Manchester. I’ve got confidence in the whole squad. Whenever anyone comes in, they do well. We showed that we are a team with a lot of important players”.
Ramos: “These are three very sweet points”
by Javier Garcia (San Sebastian)“Only a win would do and we achieved our objective”, said Nacho.
Sergio Ramos played from the start in the victory over Real Sociedad and this is how he saw the team’s performance at Anoeta: “We knew the type of game this would be and the team played to win from the first minute. We created a lot of chances but we didn’t get that bit of luck that you need to score. But we got there in the end by keeping going and knowing that it was a crunch match, and that we’re playing for La Liga in these last few games. These are three very sweet points”.
“Madrid’s philosophy means we must fight as long as there is any chance. After the sacrifices and everything we’re been through this season, it’s a very exciting end to the league for anyone who loves football. We played first today and we had to get ahead in the table. The team has responded yet again, put the pressure on, and now we have to hope that the others slip up”.
The performance of the team
“We weren’t having a great run with the injuries to Benzema and Cristiano, but we have a big squad and whoever plays performs at a very high level. It’s the key to success and we must secure all the remaining points”.
Nacho: “The team was very compact”
“Objective achieved, only winning would do, and we knew that it was a tough game but the team was very compact and we created clear chances. We keep getting points and doing our job. It’s difficult, because on Wednesday we’re got an important match, but we couldn’t forget that today was essentially the same”.
“The team has been demonstrating for many weeks that we can fight, stand up tall and we’re getting results. We know Barcelona and Atlético are great teams like we are, but we need to win every point”.
“He’s playing very well and scoring goals. He’s very important and just what we need until the end of the season. He’s been fantastic, he’s very powerful in the air and that’s a huge positive. We hope he keeps scoring goals”.
Semi-final against Manchester City
“The win here is also really important in building confidence for Wednesday. We’re very hungry, it’s a vital game and we’re playing for a place in the final. The excitement of the Bernabéu and all of our fans will be with us. We’re playing at home in front of our own and with their support we’re going to go for it”.
Cristiano and Benzema
“Let’s hope they’re ready for Wednesday because they’re two key players. We have to wait and see what happens”.
Bale: “We’re aware that La Liga is a possibility”
by Javier Garcia (San Sebastian)“The team is full of confidence and we want to win La Liga”, said Mayoral.
Gareth Bale, scorer of the goal in Anoeta, spoke to the media upon completion of the game. “We have worked like a team to get the best out of a difficult game and we’ve got the three points. Cristiano and Benzema are two very important forwards but we are a team and between us all we have beaten Real Sociedad”.
“We’re aware that La Liga is a possibility, although we depend on other results. We have to focus on our games, like today and fight until the end”.
“On Wednesday we’re playing Manchester City gain, a difficult opponent, as we saw last week in the Etihad. It will be a very intense game and I hope that with the help of our fans we can move forward”.
Mayoral: “We continue in the fight for La Liga”
“It was a difficult game and you could see it out there on the field. In the end we have got the three points and we continue in the fight for La Liga. We want to win it and we celebrated the goal so much because it was a very important one”.
“The team is full of confidence and we’re going to look to do our job, which is to win every game left and see if those above draw or lose”.
“We know that he is a great player and he’s shown it again today, just like in Vallecas and we hope he carries it on against Manchester City. I’m happy to get more minutes with the first team and with this shirt it’s always an honour”.
“We’re full of desire and illusion and one step from the final. Hopefully Cristiano and Benzema get better soon and they’re ready because they are two very important players”.
Post-Match Social Media:
Guti loves our Gare Bear!!!!
Gareth’s legs are frightening. For real…
It’s an exciting time! My nerves can’t really handle it, but it’s exciting just the same!
Our next match is Champions League Semi Finals at home on Wednesday against Manchester City.
¡Hala Madrid y Nada Mas!