Iñaki Williams brace downs Real Sociedad in La Liga
Athletic Bilbao's Ghanaian striker, Iñaki Williams, scored twice to secure a vital 2-0 win over Real Sociedad and boost their chances of qualifying for European football.
The win ended Bilbao's five-match home winless streak in all competitions. The Ghanaian who went 24 games without a goal has now scored four goals in his last three games for Athletic.
The match started evenly, with both teams fighting for a place in Europe. However, as the game progressed, Athletic started to dominate. Nico Williams came close to scoring, but was denied by a strong save from Álex Remiro.
Athletic finally took the lead from a corner, with Iñaki Williams controlling Mikel Vesga’s flick-on before forcing the ball into the net from close range, despite claims of a possible handball.
At halftime, Athletic's slender lead meant that all but one of Real Sociedad’s last 12 league games had produced under 2.5 goals. Despite a record of six defeats from six games against top-four sides in La Liga this season, Athletic looked set to win.
Real Sociedad started the second half strong, and Unai Simón had to make a double save to keep the visitors at bay. However, Athletic broke down the other end of the pitch, and Iñaki Williams scored an incredible goal from a tight angle, extending Athletic's lead.
With time running out, Real Sociedad's chances of a comeback were slim. Simón made another double save, denying Alexander Sørloth’s close-range follow-up. Moments later, Simón made an error, presenting Real Sociedad with a chance to score, but Ander Barrenetxea horribly missed the target.
The result dealt a blow to Real Sociedad's UEFA Champions League hopes, although they remained fourth. Athletic, meanwhile, are now two points off Real Betis in sixth, with European qualification within reach.