Real Sociedad won an edgy derby at Basque neighbours Athletic Bilbao 3-1 on Friday with the help of two converted penalties to move up to eighth in La Liga and leave their rivals hovering above the relegation zone. Mikel Oyarzabal scored the first of his two spot-kicks on the half hour mark after former Sociedad defender Inigo Martinez was judged by the video assistant referee (VAR) to have kicked an opponent while contesting a high ball.
Athletic responded immediately with an equaliser from Iker Muniain, who began the move with a fine piece of skill on the halfway line and finished it by belting the loose ball home from close range after it had cannoned off two Sociedad defenders. The visitors re-took the lead two minutes into the second half when Luca Sangalli slid in to meet a cross from Igor Zubeldia, who had won the ball back in midfield and danced his way down the right wing.
Sociedad killed the game off when Oyarzabal struck again from the spot in the 74th minute to leave Bilbao 16th in the table with seven points, four adrift of Sociedad. Athletic coach Eduardo Berizzo, whose side are without a win since the opening day of the season, hit out at the referee for consulting VAR to award Sociedad’s first penalty but not to review a goal scored by substitute Aritz Aduriz which was flagged for offside.
“I support the use of VAR in general to make the game fairer but it is not being used evenly,” Berizzo told a news conference. The Argentine also said his side had played better than the visitors, who scored with each of their three shots on target. “Our mistakes were lethal,” he added.
“Today we conceded the fewest shots of any game this season. We had the ball and we had the game under control, but we couldn’t convert our dominance into chances.”
Sociedad coach Asier Garitano said the result was what his side had deserved for their unrewarded efforts in recent weeks. “The team has been committed in every game and made a lot of effort. When a squad gives everything you can always be happy. This result will give us strength, because we have been playing this well since week one.”