Real Sociedad return to top


Madrid: Real Sociedad beat a nearly unrecognisable Granada side 2-0 on Sunday to return to the top of La Liga after the latters’ attempt to get the game postponed due to a spate of coronavirus cases was turned down by authorities.

The positive cases and La Liga’s protocol, which barred any player who had travelled to Cyprus for Thursday’s Europa League fixture with Omonia from playing, meant Granada were forced to make nine changes from last week’s 1-1 draw with Levante and started with five players aged 20 or under.

The federation and league organisers rejected Granada’s request to postpone the game, however, as they were able to field seven players from their first-team squad, with rules stating matches can only be postponed if five or fewer first-team players are available.

Granada’s makeshift side made a decent start but Sociedad took the lead midway through the first half through left back Nacho Monreal while a Mikel Oyarzabal penalty five minutes later doubled their advantage.

Brazilian forward Willian Jose had a spot-kick saved by Granada’s 18-year-old keeper Angel Jimenez in the second half while Sociedad ended the game with 10 men as defender Robin Le Normand was shown a straight red card in the 86th minute.

Granada earned a penalty in added time but Darwin Machis was denied by an excellent save from Alex Remiro and the Basques celebrated a fifth consecutive La Liga victory.

They lead the standings on 20 points after nine games, Villarreal are second on 18.