Real Sociedad-Real Madrid A dry champion

Madrid did not score and not even when he pressed the clock did Zidane threaten to take out the two nines (Jovic and Mayoral) who accompanied him on the bench. Who knows if it was a subliminal message to the club, which is not there now to serve the market. The wait for Mbappé is going to be long. And the two recent eliminations in the second round of the Champions League suggest that the continental journey will not be long without gunpowder. He dominated Real a lot and had moments of an authoritarian team, but in the opponent's area it came to nothing. La Real accepted its gregarious role, letting two chances go and accepted a point. Too many casualties to think of anything else.

It was a surprise hit. Casemiro on the bench. Nobody at the checkpoint in Anoeta and before the Real, a team that with Imanol Alguacil has acquired a remarkable air of distinction, although the pandemic poured water into the soup. Odegaard took the place from the Brazilian, signing by force (his master's degree in San Sebastián seemed to be half-done) in the face of treasury constraints due to the forced evaporation of the public. Odegaard is one of those old men who plays football from time to time. He is only 21 years old and has already seen almost everything. Almost everything except Madrid, which is not changing the scene or the team but the planet. His has been a slow maturing process but he seems ready for the jump.

It's been a long time since Zidane even goes out to take down the garbage without Casemiro. Every fifth card, constipated or similar from the Brazilian, made Madrid tremble, which for that position of jury guard in the center of the field does not have a similar footballer. There was a time when they tried to sneak Kroos out there, but the German's defensive application was not as expected. Nor did Llorente catch on and the club stopped looking. It is difficult to spend a lot of money on players like that, more made for the coach than for the spectator. But Zidane Odegaard does not see anything other than hitch, a role that is very obsolete in Madrid, and that position, with two ends, invalidates a midfielder. So he ordered the team to 4-2-3-1, with Kroos and Modric holding the group and without the Brazilian to search the San Sebastian midfielders.

La Real, with nine casualties, did not put David Silva out either. COVID has delayed the development of a player called to carry the txuri urdiñ flag. Without him or Zubeldia, the ball went away, which a more powerful Madrid seized than the one he fired, champion, last year. The starting game was Kroos, the foot that rocked the cradle at the first touch, directing very long combinations. The auction was something else

Vinicius, who runs his career between accelerations and braking, was enterprising, but has not passed the last passing course. Rodrygo, on the other side, was more shy. His visibility is much lower if he is not accompanied by the goal. And to Benzema, the only Galactic left standing, he got little, moderately auctionable.

The best of the Real happened, in the first half, behind the ball. Their centrals hid a lot from Benzema and their sides resisted the Brazilians from Madrid and Mendy's long starts. Imanol openly delayed Oyarzabal to strengthen the dike in the center of the field and thus the team spent the first half, between cowering and protected, more subdued than threatened.

For accounting purposes there was a deflected shot and a very clear chance by Benzema, missed after sitting Remiro, several unfinished centers and a point-blank half-turn by Sergio Ramos that Aihen took with his thigh and a non-punishable hand. The trickle of occasions was drifting in a torrent until on the other side Courtois, who was too many, was forced to take a heads up from Isak. In stops like this, part of Madrid's title was held. And back from the dressing room, Barrenetxea, the most lightning blue and white, crossed his volley in excess after an excellent pass from Oyarzabal, whose appearance greatly balanced the game.

La Real, from then on, also had an answer. Accepting some seclusion, his backlash was more intentional. The lack of preparation of both was opening the lines, lengthening the distances, opening gaps. Imanol decided to pull Silva and placed Oyarzabal from nine. A justified change because Isak was never a threat to Madrid's centrals.

Zidane's response was to put lungs into the game, Casemiro and Valverde, plus another surprise, Marvin, one of those arrows that made Madrid European champions this summer. The great crises bring out the quarry and make the coaches daring.

The lack of fuel made the meeting stay on the wire. Madrid lacked finesse to get something out of their inner game, against which Elustondo and Le Normand, both magnificent, seemed very warned. And the Real lost the lack of precision in their outings, many of them frank, with Zidane's team very unguarded. Varane's work was titanic at that stage, and the Manchester party will haunt him for a long time.

And so, in the midst of extreme fatigue that was taking away all the previous substance, the game ended. Zidane still had time to make his debut for Arribas, one of those cheeky youths Raúl educates. It remained for the statistics but it could no longer change the course of a duel that reiterates the warning to the champion. Without a goal you don't go far.