San Sebastian, Spain Nov 21 (EFE).- Real Sociedad came to the end of its five-week run at the top of the La Liga table, battling to a scoreless draw at home against Valencia before some 28,600 fans in a match that had little to recommend it and during which Aritz Elustondo was expelled and 11 other yellow cards were shown.
Jose Bordalas, Valencia’s coach, had his road game plan clearly in mind at Reale Arena: hang in there until Real Sociedad made a mistake that his team could capitalize on, but the locals didn’t oblige and for the most part simply kept the ball out of their rivals’ grasp.
Merino and Isak gave Valencia a little scare early on, but the first half was largely a bland affair where neither of the squads managed to pose much of a threat to each other’s net until at about the half-hour mark Isak fired a left-footer that was deflected by Cillesen in the best chance of the half and probably the match.
Real Sociedad was a far cry from the team that had been so impressive so far this season, and Valencia remained comfortable with play as it unfolded and even drove in with Gaya trying to manufacture something that ultimately came to nought.
All the way through, the match lacked rhythm and excitement, and it was plagued by fouls and yellow cards from start to finish, culminating in a second yellow card for Real Sociedad’s Aritz Elustondo in the 77th minute.
Thereafter, Valencia could not take advantage of their hosts’ one-man-down dilemma and the contest petered out, resulting in the San Sebastian squad slipping out of the No. 1 spot on the table.
Real Sociedad: Merino; Gorosabel, Le Normand, Aritz, Rico; Guevara (Zubimendi, min. 59), Merino, Silva (Turrientes, min, 77); Barrenetxea (Oyarzabal,min. 59), Isak (Sorloth, min. 77) and Januzaj (Portu, min, 77).
Valencia: Cillessen; Foulquier, Diakhaby, Alderete, Gaya; Carlos Soler, Racic (Musah, min. 77), Wass (Marcos Andre, min, 88), Helder Costa; Guedes (Maxi Gomez, min, 66), Hugo Duro (Koba Lein, min, 77).