Sociedad back on top of Liga after Basque derby draw


Madrid (AFP) – Real Sociedad returned to the top of La Liga on Sunday but their joy was tempered by having to share the points after an injury-time strike for Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao in a 1-1 draw.

Alexander Isak gave Sociedad a 58th-minute lead from the penalty spot.

But just as they were contemplating opening a three-point advantage over Real Madrid and Sevilla at the top, Bilbao levelled in stoppage time thanks to an Iker Muniain free-kick which deceieved Sociedad goalkeeper Alex Remiro.

Earlier Sunday, Yannick Carrasco’s blistering strike set Atletico Madrid on the way to a 3-0 victory over Real Betis, keeping the reigning champions within three points of the leaders.

Belgium international Carrasco hammered in the opening goal at the Wanda Metropolitano on 26 minutes before Betis defender German Pezzella bizarrely headed a corner into his own net in the second half.

Joao Felix came off the bench to wrap up just a second win in five outings for Atletico, who moved above Betis.

They are two points behind Real Madrid and Sevilla and three back from Real Sociedad.

“It was definitely the match where we’ve been the most consistent,” said Atletico coach Diego Simeone, forced to watch from the stands after his red card in Thursday’s 2-2 draw at Levante.

“We controlled the game at all times and played the way we wanted to play. We played as a team.”

Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak palmed away a powerful early attempt from William Carvalho, but the hosts quickly asserted their dominance as Jose Gimenez and Antoine Griezmann forced stops from Claudio Bravo.

Carrasco made the breakthrough, collecting a pass from Angel Correa and twisting past Martin Montoya before rifling the ball into the roof of the net.

Mario Hermoso saw his header ruled out for offside after half-time in torrential rain, with Stefan Savic nodding straight at Bravo who then saved well from Luis Suarez.

But from the resulting corner Pezzella gifted Atletico a second goal when he badly miscued his attempted clearance.

Betis had won their last three league matches and a victory would have moved them level at the top, but instead Atletico began a key few days that includes a trip to Liverpool on Wednesday with an assured display.

Felix raced onto a through ball in the final 10 minutes to seal the points as the goal was upheld upon review after initially being disallowed for offside.

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