Madrid replacements too good for Sociedad and take step closer to La Liga title

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain (AP) — Real Madrid moved another step closer to a 36th Spanish league title after beating Real Sociedad 1-0 and extending its lead in the standings to 14 points on Friday.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men need just five points from their last five games to ensure the title will return to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

“We are very close to winning La Liga," the coach acknowledged after a hard-fought win in the Basque country.

On a rainy night in San Sebastian, Madrid put out a second-string team to rest Jude Bellingham, Vinicius Junior and other regulars.

The new faces struggled for large parts of the game, with Sociedad having much of the play and plenty of scoring chances.

But one of Madrid’s new faces proved the difference between the sides.

Arda Güler, the young Turkish attacker, made his first start in the league, and when the Sociedad defense failed to clear Dani Carvajal’s low cross, Güler drifted in at the back post to slot the ball home with 29 minutes gone.

Ancelloti paid tribute to the 19-year-old Güler, calling him “a very important player for our future.”

“Güler has extraordinary quality, he has great talent. Little by little he will take center stage.”

Takakura Kubo equalized three minutes later for Sociedad only to see his goal disallowed after a video review.

Ancelotti introduced Vinicius, Antonio Rudiger and Eduardo Camavinga in a busy second half as Madrid held on to extend its unbeaten run in La Liga to 27 games.

Another satisfying note for the champion-elect was the return of Eder Militão. The Brazilian defender made his first start since tearing his cruciate ligament eight months ago, and played the entire game.

“I am very happy, after eight months out," Militao said. “Very happy to return and play 90 minutes and feel like a player again.”


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