Absolute madness

There are almost no words to describe Real Sociedad’s performance tonight. The txuri urdin defeated Benfica (3-1) in a spectacular contest in which they literally overwhelmed the Portuguese champions, with the Reale Arena roaring for their team. The round of 16 is razor-thin.

If you're winning three-nil within the first twenty minutes, you're doing something extraordinary. That is exactly what occurred. Real Sociedad devoured the Portuguese side with rhythm, pressure, and, above all, a lot of football. Merino scored the first, capitalizing on an accidental pass from Aihen. Oyarzabal scored the second goal after outplaying Otamendi. Barrene's third goal was a masterpiece, with a cut and a ball into the top corner. It was insane. Merino had a goal disallowed for handball, while Brais missed a penalty by hitting the post. Benfica, except for a well-saved shot by Remiro, posed no threat. The crowd gave the team a well-deserved standing ovation at halftime.

In the early stages of the second half, the Portuguese narrowed the gap with a goal from Rafa Silva. The visitors played better than they did in the first half, but it wasn't enough to overcome a resilient Real, which continued to create chances. Zubimendi had a chance to extend the advantage, but his volley was just wide, as was another cross from Barrene.

It was a true delight, a pleasure for the senses, an absolute joy. Enjoy the moment. Appreciate everything the team is doing and stay with them. Something extraordinary is becoming the norm. We're almost in the UEFA Champions League round of 16. It's crazy. We are Real.

Match details:

Real Sociedad: Remiro, Aritz (Odriozola, min.85), Zubeldia, Le Normand, Aihen, Zubimendi, Merino, Brais Méndez (Turrientes, min.70), Barrene (Zakharyan, min.78), Take (Carlos Fernández, min.70), and Oyarzabal (captain).

SL Benfica: Trubin, Antonio Silva, Otamendi (captain), Morato, Neves, Florentino (Jurasek, min.31), Joao Mario (Chiquiño, min.85), Aursnes, Di María (Tengstedt, min.85), Rafa Silva (Guedes, min.85), and Cabral (Musa, min.64).

Goals: 1-0: Merino, min.7. 2-0: Oyarzabal, min.11. 3-0: Barrene, min.21. 3-1: Rafa Silva, min.49.

Referee: Anthony Taylor (England). Booked Barrene for Real Sociedad and Florentino for SL Benfica.

Attendance: 36,815 spectators.

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