Match report: Real Sociedad dominant in victory over RB Salzburg
Despite Salzburg’s winning start to their European campaign, Real Sociedad proved too much for the Austrian side. First half goals from Mikel Oyarzabal and Brais Mendez proved enough to secure three points on matchday two in Group D.
Gerhard Struber’s side enter the tie top of the Austrian Bundesliga. They have won seven of their opening nine games, with Karim Konate prevailing as the team’s top scorer with five goals. Somewhat contrastingly, Imanol Alguacil’s Real Sociedad arrived while fifth in LaLiga. The San Sebastian side have won four of their opening eight, with five of their 16 league goals scored by Takefusa Kubo.
Salzburg kicked off Group D with a 0-2 win away at Benfica, while Sociedad drew 1-1 at home to Inter Milan.
Sociedad certainly began the game on the front foot. Their first chance came when Kubo drifted inside from the right after skipping past Aleksa Terzic. His ball across the box found Ander Barrenetxea, who worked the ball onto his left foot before striking. However, the Spaniard saw his attempt blocked.
Not long after, the side regained possession through Mikel Merino. The midfielder played a lovely one-two with Barrenetxea, before playing Mikel Oyarzabal in behind. Oyzarzabal latched onto the ball and stole into the box, but his shot was well wide.
Captain Oyzarzabal was involved again just a minute later. He was found by a forward pass from Brais Mendez, and then looked to size up Oumar Solet on the edge of the box. He shifted the ball onto his left foot, and used the defender to disguise his shot, which he carefully guided into the bottom corner to put Sociedad 1-0 up.
Salzburg replied with a half-chance from young striker Karim Konate. The Ivorian latched onto the ball after it was chested on by Roko Simic, but he lacked the composure to finish.
However, it was a Salzburg chance that fashioned Sociedad’s second goal. Oscar Gloukh’s effort on the edge of the box was blocked, leading to the ball finding Mendez. After a quick interchange with Kubo, Mendez drove towards goal from the halfway line. Despite having Kubo and Oyarzabal in support, they were not needed; he found his way into the box, and finished calmly across goal with his left foot.
Sociedad remained the dominant side until the interval, looking far more likely to add a third than Salzburg did to halving the deficit. Ander Barrenetxea’s ball into the box found Oyarzabal in the 30th minute, although the captain scuffed his chance. The former was also involved again just before the break, with a shot saved comfortably by Alexander Schlager.
Both sides looked slightly different going into the second half, with a triple change for the home side and a defensive change for Sociedad.
Early into the half, Simic looked to latch onto a ball flicked on by the newly introduced Petar Ratkov. Following a collision with Jon Pacheco and goalkeeper Alex Remiro, a penalty was awarded to the Austrian side.
However, after a lengthy video assistant referee check, the on-field referee overturned his decision. The decisive factor appeared to be Simic stepping on Remiro and fouling the Spanish keeper in the process.
Salzburg were not phased by the decision, and looked to maintain their early pressure. Dedic looked to swing a cross in for Ratkov at the back post just after the verdict, but it was well dealt with by Igor Zubeldia.
With few chances between the two sides, Sociedad looked to be managing the game well. However, Salzburg certainly piled on some more pressure late on to test Sociedad’s resolve. Simic in particular was involved, with a header he was unable to guide home, and a shot dragged wide after receiving the ball from Nicolas Capaldo.
Their last real chance for consolation came deep into stoppage time. Strahinja Pavlovic saw a ball into the box blocked, which was thundered back in by Forson Amankwah. The ball was then sat up for Capaldo, but he was unable to do more than see his shot saved by Remiro.
Full-time signaled an unbeaten start for Sociedad, and a first group defeat for Salzburg. The sides next European opponents are Benfica and Inter respectively, with Group D still wide open.
RB Salzburg: Schlager; Dedic, Solet (Baidoo 46mins), Pavlovic, Terzic; Bidstrup (Capaldo 65mins), Gourna-Douath, Kjaergaard (Amankwah 46mins); Gloukh (Sucic 79mins), Konate (Ratkov), Simic.
Real Sociedad: Remiro; Traore (Elustondo 84mins), Zubeldia, Le Normand (Pacheco 46mins), Munoz; Mendez (Turrientes 82mins), Zubimendi, Merino, Barrenetxea (Fernandez 64mins); Kubo (Cho 63mins), Oyarzabal.