Villarreal held by 10-man Sociedad

Villarreal came from behind to claim a point against 10-man Real Sociedad in the Primera Division on Sunday.

The hosts had the better of the opening period, but could not find a way past Claudio Bravo in the Sociedad goal and fell behind seven minutes into the second half when Mikel Aranburu waltzed through the Villarreal box and finished from an angle.

The game turned, though, when Gorka Elustondo was sent off with half an hour remaining and Villarreal capitalised on the man advantage when Marco Ruben tapped home Juanlu’s cross.

Villarreal then desperately went in search of a winner, but Bravo again stood firm to turn away shots from Cani and Jonathan de Guzman as Sociedad extended their unbeaten run to three games.

The sides came into the match separated by just a point, but on the back of very different runs of form.

Villarreal had slipped back towards the foot of the table with four consecutive defeats in all competitions and seemed the more in need of the points in the first half.

Marco Ruben and Marcos Senna saw shots fly just off target, while Bravo produced an excellent save to deny Borja Valero the opener four minutes before half-time.

Sociedad by contrast had won their last two games and had shown flashes on the counter-attack through the pace of Carlos Vela and Antoine Griezmann, but it was Aranburu who put them in front after 52 minutes.

The captain received the ball near the touchline but managed to cut back across goal without a challenge from the Villarreal defence before firing past Diego Lopez from close range.

Minutes later, though, the visitors were reduced to 10 men when Elustondo stupidly picked up a second yellow card for a foul on Senna deep inside the Villarreal half.

The dismissal gave Villarreal a new impetus as they forced Sociedad on the back foot and eventually found an equaliser with 20 minutes remaining.

Substitute Juanlu ran onto Javier Camunas’ cute pass and turned the ball across goal for Ruben to get the final touch.

Wave upon wave of Villarreal attack ensued but Bravo did well to hold onto Cani’s low effort before unconventionally turning away De Guzman’s shot from outside the box.

The draw means Villarreal stay above the relegation zone on goal difference, while Sociedad lead the eight-strong pack of teams separated by a point in 11th.