|Real Sociedad produced an incredible fightback in the final two minutes in San Sebastian [EPA]|
For the second week running Real Sociedad scored late to snatch victory, beating Malaga 3-2 in dramatic fashion in the Spanish league on Sunday.
With Malaga on the verge of collecting their fourth victory in five games, Carlos Vela lifted the ball with a light touch of the head before whipping an acrobatic bicycle kick into the back of the net to equalise for the Basque side in the 89th minute.
Sociedad then pressed for the winner that came three minutes later from substitute Diego Ifran, who got past Malaga defender Martin Demichelis before coolly shooting past goalkeeper Willy Caballero to cap the unexpected comeback.
“In the last three minutes we showed our skill,” Sociedad coach Philippe Montanier said.
“I thought it would be very difficult to rally so late but it only takes 10 seconds to score, that along with patience and a cool head.”
Sociedad had gone in front in the 10th minute at Anoeta stadium when Imanol Agirretxe’s header hit the crossbar and bounced off Demichelis into the net.
But striker Jose Rondon muscled free of two defenders to head in Francisco Alarcon’s cross from inside the six-yard box to level for Malaga in the 21st.
Sebastian Fernandez stole the ball from defender Mikel Gonzalez inside the area and scored to make it 2-1 in the 59th, giving Malaga control until Sociedad caught the visitors off guard with their late surge.
Sociedad also won in stoppage time last week when Inigo Martinez’s blast from halfway secured a 3-2 victory over Real Betis.
“I prefer to win being up 3-0 by half-time, but this league is very tough and almost every game is close,” Montanier said.
Malaga’s first loss in five rounds left them three points behind fourth-place Levante, while Sociedad continued their turnaround after three rounds without a loss.
Also on Sunday, Radamel Falcao led Atletico Madrid to a 3-1 win over Rayo Vallecano for the team to stay undefeated at home in the league this season.
The Colombia striker played Gabi Fernandez through to score Atletico’s 25th-minute opener, before heading in Diego’s cross in the 74th for his eighth league goal of the campaign.
Atletico’s Eduardo Salvio capped the win in the Madrid derby with a third goal in added time before Gabi scored in his own net to give Rayo a deserved consolation goal.
In Pamplona, Javad Nekounam scored with a free kick in added time to lift Osasuna to a 2-1 win over Betis as his team stayed unbeaten at Reyno de Navarra stadium this season.
For the second straight week Betis conceded a winner with the 90 minutes completed. Pepe Mel’s team have now lost nine of their last 10 games.
Athletic Bilbao were held to a 1-1 draw at Mallorca in the Basques’ first game against former coach Joaquin Caparros since his departure in the offseason.
Striker Odion Ighalo’s goal just before half-time gave Granada a 1-0 win over last-place Zaragoza, who have lost six of their last seven matches.
On Saturday, Madrid beat Sporting Gijon 3-0 to remain three points ahead of second-place Barcelona. The defending champions routed Levante 5-0 but have played one game more than Madrid.
The two rivals meet next weekend in the first “clasico” of the season at Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
Also, third-place Valencia beat Espanyol 2-1 to keep in touch with the top two, while Racing Santander edged Villarreal 1-0.