(Reuters) – Real Sociedad moved a point clear at the top of La Liga after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to bottom side Leganes on Friday, having taken the lead just past the hour mark.
It was a tale of two second-half headers as Mikel Merino nodded La Real in front only for Youssef En-Nesyri to equalise late on for visitors Leganes who refused to give up in their first game under new coach Javier Aguirre.
Sociedad have 23 points, one ahead of Barcelona and Real Madrid who have two games in hand after the Clasico was postponed and face Celta Vigo and Eibar respectively on Saturday.
The Basque hosts will feel they should have widened the gap on the chasing pack further but they missed several decent opportunities against their lowly opposition.
Leganes made life difficult for Sociedad throughout the match, crunching into challenges all over the pitch, with goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar in fine form.
He smartly denied Willian Jose and Merino in the first period, before spectacularly saving a long-range effort from Adnan Januzaj after the restart as La Real dominated possession.
Sociedad finally breached Cuellar’s resistance when Merino flicked in Januzaj’s inswinging corner at the near post.
Leganes had seemed destined for a 10th league defeat of the season before En-Nesyri powered in Roque Mesa’s cross 12 minutes from time to rescue a point for the strugglers.
Mikel Oyarzabal missed a gilt-edged chance to secure all the points for Sociedad at the death, firing over after good work by substitute Alexander Isak. Leganes’ Kevin Rodriguez – on loan from Sociedad – was sent off in added time for a second booking.
Leganes have six points from 13 games, five from the safety zone, having played a game more than their relegation rivals.
(Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli; Editing by Ken Ferris)