Real Madrid 1-1 Real Sociedad : Zidane's side frustrated despite late equaliser

Vinicius Junior of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the La Liga Santander match between Real Madrid and Real Sociedad at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on March 01, 2021 in Madrid, Spain.

Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior came off the bench to snatch a 1-1 draw at home to Real Sociedad on Monday although the Spanish champions still lost momentum in the title race before next Sunday’s showdown at the leaders, Atletico Madrid.

Zinedine Zidane’s Madrid side hit the bar twice in the first half but the visitors took the lead in the 55th minute with a towering header from the forward Portu.

Toni Kroos came close to levelling with a curling effort that just missed the target but the Brazilian youngster Vinicius eventually found an equaliser in the 89th minute with a deflected effort from inside the area.

Madrid had the chance to move within three points of Atletico going into Sunday’s derby but the draw left them third on 53 points from 25 games, level with second-placed Barcelona and five adrift of Diego Simeone’s leaders, who have a game in hand.

“We have to stay calm. We played well and created three or four clear chances but were up against a side that also created chances. Now we need to be patient, keep our cool and rest,” said Zidane. “We deserved much more when you look at all the opportunities we created. We dominated the game, but then there have been games where we won but didn’t deserve to. That’s football.”

The draw interrupted a five-game winning streak in all competitions but Zidane said the result would not affect preparations for visit to Atletico.

“This doesn’t condition the way we’re feeling about the derby at all. We’ll still go there with the aim of playing a great game,” Zidane continued. “Every team is dropping points and we know we have to keep picking up as many as we can and that’s what we’re going to do. There’s still a long way to go.”

Real Sociedad felt they should have had been awarded a penalty in the first half when Nacho Monreal was tackled by Casemiro, yet Madrid looked the more dangerous side despite managing only one shot on target before the break.

Mariano’s header was glanced on to the crossbar by Sociedad’s Andoni Gorosabel while the loose ball fell to Marco Asensio, whose shot was deflected wide for a corner from which Raphaël Varane’s header hit the top of the bar.

Madrid’s Casemiro fizzed a shot from distance just wide, while Luka Modric was the only player who actually tested visiting keeper Álex Remiro.

After taking the lead against the run of play through Portu’s thumping header, Sociedad should have killed the game off as Alexander Isak narrowly failed to connect with a cross from Portu, while Robin Le Normand came close with a header.

Madrid lacked composure and ideas but maintained their hunger to find an equaliser and finally got one with a scrappy goal, Lucas Vazquez serving a low cross which bobbled around the box and was knocked in by Vinicius with the aid of a deflection.

Real Madrid’s injury crisis is slowly beginning to ease and they welcomed back Federico Valverde and Rodrygo from the bench against Sociedad after lengthy spells out. Zidane added he was hopeful top scorer Karim Benzema would make it back from a thigh injury to face Atletico.

“We leave here with a bad taste as we fought for 93 minutes and gave everything,” said Sociedad’s Portu. “We tried to hold on for the win but they kept attacking and got the equaliser.”

The draw leaves Sociedad fifth on 42 points from 25 matches, six behind fourth-placed Sevilla, who have a game in hand.

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