On the back of a goalless draw against defending La Liga champions Real Madrid last weekend, Sociedad began the contest under the lights of the Anoeta Stadium in assertive fashion. After ending a five-match losing sequence in La Liga, off the back of a 90th-minute winner over managerless Valencia, Valladolid were forced to play second fiddle throughout the opening quarter-hour.
Despite stern resistance from the visitors, which saw them pick up multiple cautions, Imanol Alguacil’s dominant side were inches away from the game’s opening goal as HT approached. Hoping to add to his eight league goals this season, Alexander Sørloth thought he had added another to his tally but frustratingly watched on as his one-on-one strike beat Valladolid goalkeeper Jordi Masip, but not the left-hand post.
Only Barcelona and Real Madrid have lost fewer matches than the Erreala throughout the 2022/23 La Liga campaign, and a spirited Sociedad again came close to breaking the deadlock in the 57th minute but Masip rerouted Sørloth’s header away from danger. Perhaps in the knowledge that his side has failed to score against sides currently situated in the top half of the standings across their previous five matches, Valladolid manager Pacheta turned to his bench, introducing Iván Sánchez and Cyle Larin into the fray.
Those changes were quickly vindicated with Valladolid nosing ahead in the 73rd minute through Larin, who made a dramatic impact off the bench by rising above the Sociedad defence to head Luis Pérez’s enticing cross beyond the grasp of Álex Remiro. Despite missing a glorious chance to wrap up a surprise victory in the finale, Pacheta’s side saw out the victory in relative comfort to move four points clear of the heavily-congested La Liga relegation battle.
Meanwhile, Real Sociedad failed to take advantage of RCD Mallorca's unexpected victory over second-placed Real Madrid earlier this afternoon, as the Erreala remain six points behind Carlo Ancelotti’s title-chasing side.
Flashscore Man of the Match: Cyle Larin (Real Valladolid)