SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain – Real Sociedad turned the page on Friday on the departure earlier this week of star defender Ińigo Martinez with a 5-0 rout over relegation-bound Deportivo.
The win brings Sociedad to 26 points from 22 matches, enough for the 14th spot in La Liga, while Depor, with 17 points, languish in 18th.
With some supporters still grumbling about the transfer of Martinez to regional rivals Athletic, Sociedad’s first victory of 2018 couldn’t have come at a better moment for the 15,626 people who came out to San Sebastian’s Anoeta stadium on a cold, rainy night.
The hosts dominated from the start, but possession didn’t lead to goals and the fans got nervous when Depor began to generate offense as the match clock approached 30 minutes.
Just then, however, Willian Jose scored to make it 1-0 for Sociedad.
Asier Illarramendi boosted the advantage to 2-0, connecting on a direct free kick in the 61st minute.
Minutes later, Deportivo had a chance to narrow the deficit with a fine shot by Lucas Perez, but Sociedad keeper Gero Rulli stopped what looked like a sure goal.
Sergio Canales settled the contest with a goal in the 75th minute and Aritz Elustondo – Ińigo Martinez’s replacement – scored in the 82nd to bring the tally to 4-0.
Illarramendi got his second of the night in the final minute of regulation, sparking pandemonium in the stands.