Atletico Madrid go a man down, fall to Real Sociedad
Imanol Agirretxe headed a late winner as managerless Real Sociedad claimed a shock 2-1 victory over 10-man Atletico Madrid in a hot-tempered match which saw 10 yellow cards issued at Anoeta.
Mario Mandzukic handed the visitors the lead early on and Carlos Vela equalized within five minutes to make things level at the break, while Guilherme Siqueira was sent off early in the second half before Agirretxe netted the winner after 82 minutes.
The three points see Sociedad, who have been strongly linked with David Moyes for their vacant head coach position, move out of the bottom three and into 15th, while the reigning champions remain fourth – level on points but with a better goal difference than Sevilla.
The visitors took the lead after 10 minutes as Raul Garcia sent the ball in from the right channel with a fantastic cross towards Croatia striker Mandzukic, who tapped the ball into the back of the net with a close-range finish to beat goalkeeper Enaut Zubikarai.
Sociedad pressed for an equaliser and five minutes later Vela picked the ball up from Bergara Markel and tired his luck from just outside the box then swept it past a diving Miguel Moya with a smooth left-footed finish to make it 1-1.
Tempers flared midway through the first half as Diego Godin brought down Vela in the penalty box but referee Alvarez Izquierdo booked the Mexico international for diving as appeals went up for a spot-kick.
Arda Turan tested home keeper Zubikarai as the half wore on but most of the action was down at the other end of the pitch.
The home side were unlucky not to take the lead 10 minutes before the break as Agirretxe dribbled past Moya and – from a tight angle down the left channel – sent in a slicing effort from 12 yards out forcing defender Godin into making a goal-line clearance.
Two minutes later Sociedad twice tested Moya, who managed to hold them out with some fine punching saves before Godin’s header sailed over the bar on the brink of half-time.
With 50 minutes gone Siqueira saw red for his second yellow card in the space of two minutes for bringing down Vela to leave Diego Simeone’s side with 10 men for the remainder of the match.
Three minutes later Mandzukic’s shoulder caught Vela in the face to leave the Mexico international bleeding from the mouth as the battle on the pitch continued.
Atletico could have taken the lead on the hour mark but Mandzukic sent his effort wide as the defending champions searched for a second.
Vela was denied by Moya deep into the second half but the goalkeeper could not keep out Agirretxe’s header with seven minutes remaining after he rose the highest to nod home from Joseba Zaldua’s fine cross in the middle of the 18-yard box.