Arda Guler pushes Real Madrid closer to LaLiga title with steely win over Real Sociedad

Arda Guler scored the winning goal as Real Madrid moved a step closer towards clinching their 36th LaLiga title with a narrow 1-0 win against Real Sociedad at the Reale Arena.

With an 11-point advantage over Barcelona going into the game, the unusual Friday evening kick-off handed Carlo Ancelotti’s men a chance to realistically put the title race to bed.

The Italian opted to rest some of his star players, with Vinicius Jr and Jude Bellingham the star names left on the bench, while Kepa Arrizabalaga handed a rare start in goal with his last start coming back in January.

But they started on the backfoot as Real Sociedad dominated early possession with Takefusa Kubo, the former Real Madrid youth player between 2019 and 2022, coming within inches of opening the opening the scoring.

Juan HerreroEFE

Kepa had to show his wits about him to deny the Japanese winger at the near post after he was found by Mikel Oyarzabal. Minutes later, the Basque playmaker went down inside the penalty box pleading for a penalty, but the referee correctly waved away his appeals after a soft collision with Fran Garcia.

But that didn’t deter La Real, who continued to pile forward with Oyarzabal the creative force. The Spain international pulled off a sublime nutmeg on Eder Militao before supplying Benat Turrientes, who narrowly fired over from 20 yards out.

The leaders find a way

Despite facing heavy pressure, Real Madrid put themselves in front just before the half-hour mark. Dani Carvajal was found by Aurelien Tchouameni with a fine diagonal pass and the full-back’s low cross caused mayhem for Igor Zubeldia, who couldn’t prevent Guler from slotting home only his second goal for the club.

Only three minutes later, the home side thought they had equalized through Kubo after Tchouameni was robbed on the edge of his own box by Barrenetxea. But after a VAR check, referee Jos Luis Munuera Montero disallowed the goal for a foul on the Frenchman.


The contest failed to generate the same level of excitement after the interval as the rain continued to pelt down in San Sebastian, although Real Sociedad continued to press forward for a leveller.

Kepa once again showed his fine reflexes to deny Turrientes and Ancelotti, perhaps concerned by the performance, reacted by sending on Vini Jr and Federico Valverde.

Oyarzabal then poked home from a deflected through ball, but he was correctly flagged offside by the assistant referee. And the same man could only watch in agony as his chipped effort beat Kepa, only for it to bounce centimetres wide of the post.

Real Madrid were easily second-best on the night, but with three points and a clean sheet, Ancelotti’s men are strolling their way to the title with five games to go.

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