Alaves wins at Sociedad to rise into 5th place in Spain

MADRID (AP) — Alaves won at Real Sociedad 1-0 to head into the winter break of the Spanish league in fifth place on Friday.

The small club from the northern Basque Country beat its regional rival Sociedad thanks to an early goal by Jonathan Calleri.

The Argentine striker headed in a cross from Borja Baston in the 11th minute.

“We looked to score and then protect our advantage,” Calleri said. “It was a very good cross from Borja. We had talked about him looking for me at the far post.”

Alaves has proven to be the surprise of La Liga as its season reaches its midway point. Its success is largely based on a stingy defense that has kept it unbeaten in all eight of its home games.

Its win at Sociedad broke a dip in form that kept it winless in four rounds.

Soceidad’s fans booed their team at Anoeta Stadium after a fourth consecutive loss that left it in 16th place of the 20-team league.

“We have to improve in every aspect,” Sociedad midfielder David Zurutuza said. “We have trouble scoring, especially against teams like (Alaves) which defend in their half.”

Sociedad gave a debut to 16-year-old Ander Barrenetxea as a late substitute.

Also, Girona got an 85th-minute goal from defender Bernardo Espinosa to rescue a 1-1 draw at home with sixth-place Getafe.