Athletic Club Real Sociedad 2-1 LaLiga

Athletic Club – Real Sociedad: Vibrant derby sends Athletic flying and Alguacil’s side down (2-1)

Real Sociedad manager Imanol Alguacil asked for a derby like those of the past: intense and with a lot of tension. His wishes came true. The Basque derby was a vibrant match, where there was more intensity than quality of play. Athletic's forward line, led by the young Nico Williams, was the more decisive and sealed the game at the end of the first half.

Tactical analysis and match report by Xavi Sánchez.

A derby is not just another match. Even less so the Basque derby, with both teams fighting to get into the Champions League places. The Basque derby, beyond reflecting the identity and unity of the Basque Country, is a duel between two historic clubs that have managed to establish themselves at the top of the LaLiga standings. In recent years, what used to be a festive match between the Basque community has become a direct duel for European places. Beating the eternal rivals could be worth much more than honour; it could be worth a place in Europe.

Athletic Club were hungry for revenge going into the game. Valverde's side were on a remarkable run of six wins and three draws, propelling them into fourth place. However, the 3-0 defeat at Real Sociedad in the first leg still hurt Athletic fans. Valverde fielded his most reliable eleven in his now classic 4-2-3-1 formation, pressing high, defending compactly when under pressure and attacking into space. Unai Simón defended Athletic's goal; Lekue, Vivian, Paredes and Yuri formed the defence; de Galarreta and Vesga were the double pivot; Nico Williams, Sancet and Berenguer formed the attacking midfield and Guruzeta was the main striker.

For their own part, Real Sociedad have played . . .

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