LIGA BBVA | REAL SOCIEDAD 1 - VALENCIA 1
Diego Alves curbs La Real to preserve Valencia's unbeaten run
Carles Gil put the visitors ahead and Sergio Canales levelled at Anoeta. Both teams had chances to snatch victory in the dying minutes.
Real Sociedad found themselves up against Diego Alves at Anoeta – and also with Gayà and Mustafi who, when the goalkeeper wasn’t able to, cleared goal-bound efforts from Iñigo Martínez and Sergio Canales off the line. For the chances they had, the Donostiarras must be seething to only have a point to show for all of the endeavours. In a sense Valencia will be grateful to have gone home with a draw – it could have ended much worse for Nuno’s side; it could easily have turned out in their favour too because one of the virtues of this Valencia team is that in the blink of an eye, you can suddenly find yourself in deep trouble. Los Ché leave top spot Barcelona but are sufficiently grounded to be happy in the knowledge that this week, they have taken seven points from a possible nine – and six weeks into the campaign have yet to be beaten.
That said, it was Diego Alves who kept them alive in San Sebastián. He was called on four times during the first half, pulling off the kind of goalkeeping acrobatics which must have had the press photographers huddled behind his net shaking with glee. Alves tipped a Carlos Vela strike over the bar then denied Agirretxe as Real Sociedad played Valencia at their own game, playing with high-octane intensity – one of the merits which have enabled Bruno’s boys to claim their place amongst the front runners during the opening weeks.
Yet it was the visitors who took the lead, against the run of play, on 14 minutes. Rodrigo sent over a deep ball into the area, Alcácer knocked the ball into the path of Carles Gil who sidefooted home on the volley. Alcácer clocking his third assist of the campaign, Gil, his debut goal for the senior side.
That goal did little to disconcert La Real; it wasn’t the first bucket of ice cold water they have received this term – they have found themselves trailing in all six of their league games so far. They continued to press until the equaliser finally arrived and curiously, it came from a move which had less clarity than their previous ones. Which is probably why Diego Alves was caught flat-footed when Sergio Canales’ whipped-in cross evaded Aguirretxe and sneaked in at the back post.
Either team could have snatched a late winner. Zubikarai did well to block from Gayà then just moments later at the opposite end, Canales planted a last-gasp volley into the ground, sending it arcing towards goal only for Mustafi to divert the ball over for a corner.