10-man Almeria held on for a shock 2-1 away win at Real Sociedad on Sunday thanks to a De La Bella own goal and a header from Mauro dos Santos.
After the dizzy heights of their emphatic 4-2 win over Real Madrid, Jogoba Arrasate's side have been brought firmly back to earth by a hard-working and clinical Almeria side.
Sociedad, in stark contrast, were profligate for large periods of the match - hitting the woodwork three times - and had to settle for a consolatory goal from Chory Castro late on.
Real asserted clear dominance early on, compounded by a Carlos Vela effort which smashed off the crossbar after just two minutes.
Agirretxe shrugged off the challenges of two markers and fired at Almeria keeper Ruben, who parried the shot before acrobatically stopping Alberto De La Bella’s rebound effort.
Sociedad and De La Bella in particular would rue their missed chances, as the away side took the lead with 30 minutes on the clock. Almeria had a spate of half chances throughout the first half and in the end needed to rely on a Sociedad player to score for them.
Sociedad keeper Zubikarai, in his attempts to clear a cross, meekly punched the ball onto De La Bella, which rebounded into his own net.
The hosts went in search of an instant equaliser, as Vela forced another good save from the palms of Ruben, as the Mexican performed his trademark jinking run from the right-hand side inwards and took aim at the bottom-left corner.
Again, Sociedad would pay for their profligacy, as they were undone by another aerial ball. Verza’s corner was met by Dos Santos, who duly head past a despairing Zubikarai.
And again, Sociedad went gung-ho in search of a response and came inches from finding one as they again struck the post from a free-kick.
The game opened up sizeably after that, with Real pushing for a way back into the match and the visitors looking to pick them off on the counter.
As Almeria withstood heavy pressure, Dubarbier did his team no favours when he picked up a second yellow card 10 minutes from the end.
Chory Castro, who replaced Sergio Canales, halved the deficit with five minutes to go. Cue a mass assault on the Almeria goal, as Sociedad remained camped in the away side’s half for the rest of the match.
Real were denied for a third time by the woodwork as Ruben Pardo’s low free-kick hit the base of Ruben’s left-hand post.
Try as they might, Real Sociedad could not overcome their determined opponents, resigning them to their second La Liga defeat as they sit in 12th with only one win to their name. Almeria, meanwhile, have jumped to 9th from 17th, recording their second win in as many matches over Sociedad.
Real Sociedad: Zubikarai, Joseba Zaldúa, De La Bella, Íñigo Martínez, Elustondo, Xabi Prieto, Bergara, Granero, Agirretxe, Canales, C. Vela.
Almeria: Rubén, S. Dubarbier, Ximo, M. Dos Santos, Ángel Trujillo, R. Azeez, Verza, Edgar Méndez, T. Partey, T. Hemed, J. Zongo.
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