Merino, Januzaj tally in Real Sociedad’s 2-0 road win over Osasuna
Pamplona, Spain, Nov 7 (EFE).- Real Sociedad blanked Osasuna 2-0 on the road, although it took them until the final 20 minutes or so to get on the board, with Mikel Merino and Januzaj scoring late to enable the team to hold onto its leadership spot on the La Liga table.
Osasuna came out strong early on, working along the sides but finding themselves unable to pose any real danger to the visitors and then slipping into a rather uneven rhythm, where Imanol Alguacil’s boys – in particular Januzaj, Silva and Merino – really began to dominate play.
But the two teams remained equal – on the scoreboard, at least – during the first half before the 21,741 fans in El Sadar stadium in Pamplona.
After the break, Osasuna picked up a bit of steam with Darko striving to make a mark – as he had done throughout the first half, to be sure – yet not being able to put together a scoring combination, although they fired a few shots on goal.
The first tally finally came in the 72nd minute, when Merino fired from in front of the area, beating home goaltender Sergio Herrera.
Ten minutes later, Unai Garcia committed an obvious foul against Januzaj, who hit for the 2-0 from the penalty spot, thus allowing Real Sociedad to hold onto its No. 1 spot and extend its 10-season streak without losing to Osasuna.
Meanwhile, Sevilla – on a tally from Marcos Acuña in the 55th minute and an own-goal from Hector Bellerin in the final stretch – played hard to a 2-0 road win over Betis at Bennito Villamarin stadium, a match marked by the expulsion of the home squad’s midfielder Guido Rodriguez shortly before the break.
With Betis down a man throughout the second period, a game-changing situation, Sevilla quickly came into its own after a scoreless first half and handed its traditional rivals their third consecutive defeat in two La Liga matches and one in the Europa League, having scored no goals of their own to their adversaries’ nine.
Osasuna: Sergio Herrera; Nacho Vidal; Unai Garcia, David Garcia; Manu Sanchez (Cote, m. 83); Torro; Kike Barja (Chimy Avila, m. 70), Moncayola, Darko, Ruben García (Torres, m. 83); Kike Garcia (Budimir, m. 83).
Real Sociedad: Remiro; Zaldua, Aritz, Le Normand, Rico (Aihen, m. 46); Barrenetxea (Portu, m. 70), Zubimendi, Merino, Januzaj (Lobete, m. 87); Isak (Sorloth, m. 70), Silva (Turrientes, m. 83).