On his 500th appearances for La Real, Xabi Prieto scored his 51st goal for Real Sociedad in a 3-0 win over Villarreal
It was a special night for the 33-year-old as Eusebio sent out the very same starting line up that defeated Celta de Vigo last weekend. Once again, Carlos Vela started on the bench, as it seems that the Sociedad manager is preparing for life without the Mexican before he even departs for Los Angeles.
Fran Escriba’s Villarreal side are suffering from an early season injury crisis. Among the 8 players, out with injury was first choice keeper Sergio Asenjo, Mario Gaspar, Denis Cheryshev, Roberto Soriano and Bruno Soriano. The yellow submarine lined up with a makeshift defence with midfielder Alfred N’Diaye playing at centre back. Up front, Carlos Bacca made his return to La Liga alongside new striking partner, Cedric Bakumbu.
If there was any side that Villarreal would have liked to play with an injury crisis, it would have been Real Sociedad, The Yellow Submarine have been unbeaten in their last 11 games against La Real. The home side, however, had the better of the opening stages, especially from set pieces, which they would eventually score from.
Prieto would flick the ball on from the front post to an unmarked William San Jose. San Jose first effort was saved but he was allowed to bundle his rebound home from close range. Sociedad could have doubled their lead when Juanami took the ball down beautifully and volleyed it straight at Andres Fernandez. Prieto had a chance to knock home the rebound but once again Fernandez denied Sociedad a second.
The home side did go 2-0 up and it was the hero of the night, Xabi Prieto, who would score the goal. Villarreal was once again undone from a corner, a series of crosses end up with a knocked back header to the front post where Prieto was waiting to tuck home from a tight angle. It was a goal more made by Villarreal stagnant defending than Sociedad brilliance but the hosts were well worth their 2-0 lead.
As the clock hit 45, a long ball from the Sociedad midfield found Juanmai, who chipped the ball over the helpless Villarreal goalkeeper making it 3-0 before halftime.
Escriba side was more committed in the second half but the home team continued to carve out chances. San Jose could have made it 4-0 if wasn’t for heroic goalkeeping from Fernandez and a booted clearance from the Villarreal defence. The substitute, Vela, also had a chance to score a fourth, his shot hit straight at the goalkeeper.
The full-time whistle blew, confirming the second defeat for Villarreal, the first time they have ever started a La Liga campaign with two defeats. Eusebio will be delighted with his team performance, his only concern will be the fitness for of Raul Navas who was stretchered away in the last 10 minutes of the match.
Villarreal will face Real Betis next Sunday. Real Sociedad head to Deportivo looking to continue their perfect start.