Tue, Dec 06, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Real Sociedad’s late comeback downs Malaga

AP, BARCELONA, SPAIN

Atletico Madrid’s Koke Resurreccion, front, battles for the ball with Rayo Vallecano de Madrid’s Francisco Medina in their La Liga match in Madrid, Spain, on Sunday.

Photo: EPA

For the second week running Real Sociedad scored late to snatch victory, beating Malaga 3-2 in dramatic fashion in La Liga on Sunday.

With Malaga on the verge of collecting their fourth victory in five games, Carlos Vela lifted the ball with a light touch of the head, before whipping an acrobatic bicycle-kick into the back of the net to equalize for the Basque side in the 89th minute.

Real Sociedad then pressed for the winner that came three minutes later from substitute Diego Ifran, who got past Malaga defender Martin Demichelis, before coolly shooting past goalkeeper Willy Caballero to cap the unexpected comeback.

“In the last three minutes we showed our skill,” Sociedad coach Philippe Montanier said. “I thought it would be very difficult to rally so late, but it only takes 10 seconds to score, that along with patience and a cool head.”

Sociedad had gone in front in the 10th minute at the Estadio Anoeta when Imanol Agirretxe’s header hit the crossbar and bounced off Demichelis into the net, but striker Jose Rondon muscled free of two defenders to head in Francisco “Isco” Alarcon’s cross from close range to level for Malaga in the 21st minute.

Sebastian Fernandez stole the ball from defender Mikel Gonzalez inside the area and scored to make it 2-1 in the 59th minute, giving Malaga control until Sociedad caught the visitors off guard with their late surge.

Sociedad also won in stoppage-time last week when Inigo Martinez’s blast from halfway secured a 3-2 victory over Real Betis Balompie.

“I prefer to win being up 3-0 by halftime, but this league is very tough and almost every game is close,” Montanier said.

Malaga’s first loss in five rounds left them three points behind fourth-placed Levante UD, while Sociedad continued their turnaround after three rounds without a loss.

Also on Sunday, Radamel Falcao led Atletico Madrid to a 3-1 win over Rayo Vallecano de Madrid for his team to stay undefeated at home in the league this season.

The Colombia striker played Gabi Fernandez through to score Atletico’s 25th-minute opener, before heading in Diego’s cross in the 74th minute for his eighth league goal of the campaign.

“Of course, for a striker it is good to score, but I can also bring other things to the team, like my participation in the first goal and always trying to be a reference for my team up front,” Falcao said.

Atletico’s Eduardo Salvio capped the win in the Madrid derby with a third goal in stoppage-time, before Gabi scored in his own net to give Rayo a deserved consolation goal.

In Pamplona, Javad Nekounam scored with a free-kick in stoppage-time to lift CA Osasuna to a 2-1 win over Real Betis Balompie as his team stayed unbeaten at Estadio Reyno de Navarra this season.

For the second straight week Betis conceded a winner with the 90 minutes completed. Pepe Mel’s team have now lost nine of their last 10 games.

Elsewhere, Athletic Bilbao were held to a 1-1 draw at RCD Mallorca in the Basques’ first game against former coach Joaquin Caparros since his departure in the summer, while striker Odion Ighalo’s goal just before halftime gave Granada a 1-0 win over last-placed Real Zaragoza, who have lost six of their last seven matches.

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