MADRID (AP) — Ten-man Real Madrid lost 2-0 at home to Real Sociedad on Sunday to concede further ground in the Spanish league title race.
The pressure is mounting on coach Santiago Solari with Madrid in fifth place behind Alaves, which moved ahead of the 33-time champion on Saturday.
Madrid fell behind in the third minute when Willian Jose converted a penalty following a foul by Casemiro on Mikel Merino.
Madrid went a man down in the 61st when Lucas Vazquez received his second yellow card.
Sociedad clung to a 1-0 advantage until the final minutes, when Madrid poured forward and exposed goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to repeated counterattacks. Substitute Ruben Pardo finally capitalized in the 83rd by heading in a pass from Willian Jose when he was left alone in the box.
Led by the vibrant attacking of 18-year-old Vinicius Junior, Madrid created several scoring chances that it failed to finish off.
“We deserved to draw level in the first half,” Solari said. “With the sending off of Lucas, we kept on trying. (But) if you don’t score, it is impossible.”
Sociedad got the much-needed win in its first match since coach Imanol Alguacil replaced the fired Asier Garitano. Alguacil was promoted from Sociedad’s reserve team last week. He also coached its first team at the end of last season.
“This game came at an important moment. We had lost four games in a row and had changed managers,” Alguacil said. “I am very, very satisfied because we have seen a great Real (Sociedad) today against a powerful rival.”
Madrid’s defeat came just days after it was held to a 2-2 draw at Villarreal.
Leader Barcelona opened up a 10-point gap over Madrid after winning 2-1 at Getafe later Sunday.
Vinicius was making his first league start. Solari chose the young Brazilian to take the place of injured Gareth Bale in the starting 11. He responded with several promising moves, bursts of speed and one strike that almost made it 1-1 early in the second half.
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