Six memorable derbies against Real Sociedad at San Mamés | Athletic Club
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Six memorable derbies against Real Sociedad at San Mamés

We take a look at six iconic Basque derbies played at The Cathedral throughout history

Six memorable derbies against Real Sociedad at San Mamés
Six memorable derbies against Real Sociedad at San Mamés
Dec 26, 2020

On New Year’s Eve at 14:00 CET, Athletic Club welcome Real Sociedad to San Mamés for both sides’ final LaLiga Santander match of 2020.

The historical head-to-head is in Athletic’s favour. Of the 73 Basque derbies in LaLiga at The Cathedral, the lions have won 39, drawn 20 and lost 14.

The biggest Athletic win in this fixture occurred in the 1934-35 season. The lions were then managed by Patricio Caicedo -who had replaced Mr. Pentland one year earlier- and they put seven past La Real. Hermengildo Elices bagged a hat-trick, Bata scored a brace, while Careaga and Mandaluniz got a goal each to see the lions record the largest winning margin ever in a league match in the history of the derby.

Another match which stands out is that of the 1959-60 season. Arieta got Athletic off the mark in the 12th minute and Markaida scored a second-half hat-trick as the lions beat Real Sociedad 4-0 in Bilbao.

The 1983-84 derby at San Mamés was a nailbiting and historic affair that led to Athletic lifting the league title. The lions came into the fixture equal on points with Real Madrid and one point ahead of Barcelona at the top of the league, but the lions’ fate was in their own hands. Central defender Liceranzu put Athletic in the lead in the 18th minute and Uralde got an equaliser in the 68th minute. Then ten minutes from time, Liceranzu popped up again to fire Athletic to victory and their last league championship.

The first Athletic victory against la Real at San Mamés in this century took place in 2001-02. The match is best remembered for two long-distance strikes by Tiko. He opened the scoring in the 39th minute, Javi De Pedro equalised for the visitors in the 45th minute, but Tiko smashed home in the 59th minute to ensure Athletic took home all three points.

The 2002-03 fixture will also bring a smile to most Athletic fans. It was Matchday 20, and up until that point the team from San Sebastián had not lost a single game in LaLiga. The lions won 3-0 thanks to a brace by Joseba Etxeberria and a strike by Santi Ezquerro.

The manner of Athletic’s 3-2 win in 2016-17 was also impressive. A David Zurutuza goal in the 16th minute meant Real Sociedad were up at half-time. But the lions scored three goals in 21 minutes to turn the tie upside down. Iker Munian scored a superb bending effort in the 51st minute, Aritz Aduriz chipped the keeper in the 60th minute and Iñaki Williams completed the fightback twelve minutes later. Iñigo Martinez, at the time playing for la Real, pulled one back for the visitors to make it 3-2.

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