1-0: UD Almeria edged past after going down to 10 men in first half
Luis Suárez received his marching orders with a straight red card in the 35th minute and shortly after, Real Sociedad scored the match-winning goal. The Rojiblancos battled it out at all times in San Sebastián
UD Almería were edged past by Real Sociedad at the Reale Arena Stadium. Luis Suárez was sent off through a straight red card in the 35th minute after the referee was warned by the VAR. Shortly after, Take Kubo opened the scoring in the first-half injury time (1-0). Until then, the Rojiblancos were just brilliant. Although the hosts bossed the game in the second period, UD Almería were always 100 per cent involved in the battle and they were close to equalising.
There were four changes to the starting XI that blew RCD Mallorca away last weekend as it was expected since this fixture came only three days after the previous. As the gaffer commented in the pre-match presser, he would consider first the physical fitness of the footballers, but also the tactics to be displayed on the pitch due to the characteristics of the match. Akieme, César de la Hoz, Portillo and Arnau Puigmal, were the new starters.
A 4-3-3 formation was certainly a fresh approach for a UD Almería squad that walked out onto the pitch determined to spring a surprise in Donostia. Lázaro Vinicius unleashed a strike towards the top corner that was palmed away from danger by Remiro. The UD Almeria players piled the pressure on the Txuri-urdin outfit and moved the ball in search of the first goal of the game. It was a great start for Rubi's side that controlled the situation with confidence, since they knew how to keep their adversaries at bay.
The clocked ticked down and Real Sociedad took over the ball and took the initiative, although UD Almería, well positioned, were actually in no trouble except for a few exceptions. The match changed completely in the 35th minute when Luis Suárez was yellow carded following a dangerous tackle on an opponent. After being warned by the VAR, the referee changed the card for the red one and the Colombian received his marching orders. The Indalicos were reduced to 10 men and to top it off, in added time, Take Kubo thumped a clinical finish to put his team ahead (1-0).
Eguaras entered the fray while Samú Costa was benched in the second half, soon after Dyego Sousa came on for Robertone. The UD Almería system was transformed into a 4-4-1 to try to protect themselves from the constant attacks by Real Sociedad and look for the counter-attacks. The first thing happened; the second did not. It was normal during this spell to see the hosts putting together some neat exchanges throught the thirds and dictating the play, however UD Almeria did an effective defensive job while they were trying to be creative in the final third. Ramazani, who came onto the pitch in the 68th minute, shot from the edge of the box only to be denied by attentive Remiro.
The vociferous Real Sociedad crowd at the Reale Arena Stadium celebrated wildly the match-winning goal netted by the Japanese as they are close to securing a Champions League spot.
Real Sociedad: Remiro; Gorosabel (Aritz, 81’), Le Normand, Pacheco, Aihen; David Silva (Brais Méndez, 19’), Zubimendi, Mikel Merino, Oyarzabal (Barrene,60’); Take Kubo and Carlos Fernández (Sorloth, 60’).
UD Almeria: Fernando; Alex Pozo, Rodrigo Ely, Babić, Akieme; Portillo (Robertone,57’), César de la Hoz (Embarba, 81’), Samú Costa (Eguaras, 45’); Arnau (Ramazani, 68’), Luis Suárez and Lázaro Vinicius (Dyego Sousa, 57’).
Referee: González Fuertes, from the Asturias Referees Association. He sent off UD Almeria striker Luis Suárez with a straight red card, after being warned by the VAR in the 35th minute over a dangerous tackle on an opponent.
Goals: 1-0 (49’). Take Kubo clinical finish was out of Fernando's reach.
Observations: Matchday 36. Third-to-last fixture held at the Reale Arena Stadium in San Sebastián (Basque Country)