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Real Sociedad beats Salzburg for first group-stage Champions League win in 20 years

Real Sociedad Brais Mendez - The Canadian Press

SALZBURG, Austria (AP) — Real Sociedad picked up its first win in the group stage of the Champions League in two decades with a 2-0 win at Salzburg on Tuesday.

Mikel Oyarzabal and Brais Méndez scored first-half goals for Sociedad, which took the Group D lead. The Spanish club reached four points after two matches, while Salzburg stayed on three points. Inter Milan joined Sociedad at the top by beating Benfica 1-0 at home later Tuesday.

“It was a perfect match. We did a spectacular job from first minute to last. It was a well-deserved victory,” Méndez said. "We can compete with anyone, we know that. We needed to demonstrate it and tonight we did. Now we want more.”

Oyarzabal put the visitors ahead in the seventh minute with a low shot into the far corner after a pass by Méndez, who added to the lead in a breakaway in the 27th after calmly navigating through the Salzburg defense before finding the net.

Sociedad is making its first Champions League appearance in nearly a decade, when it went out in the group stage of the 2013-14 season with only one point in six matches. Its last group-stage win was 2-1 at Galatasaray in 2003-04.

Sociedad opened this year’s campaign with a 1-1 draw against Inter Milan at home, when it conceded a late equalizer.

Salzburg, which had no shots on target in the first half, had lost only one of its last nine matches at home in Europe. It had won four of its last six group-stage games in the Champions League at home.

“We weren’t brave enough, either with or without the ball," Salzburg goalkeeper Alexander Schlager said. "We have to learn from this. The two goals against us came in difficult situations, there were a series of mistakes. We have to be braver.”

Salzburg opened with an impressive 2-0 win at Benfica. It surprised in 2021-22 by reaching the knockout stages, when it was eliminated by Bayern Munich.

Sociedad made the trip to Austria boosted by a 3-0 rout of Basque Country rival Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish league last weekend, when Oyarzabal also scored to help the club reach fifth place in the league.


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