Goals from Pascal Struijk and Rodrigo saw Leeds United come from behind to win their second successive friendly, overcoming Real Sociedad at Elland Road.
Jesse Marsch’s side faced Spanish opposition for the second friendly match running, as they continued their preparations for the restart of the Premier League season after Christmas.
The Whites had played La Liga side Elche CF the week before - after a training camp in Spain - and came away with a 2-1 victory. Coming into this one, they faced a talented Real Sociedad side who sat third in the table, only behind Real Madrid and Barcelona.
A well contested first half began with set-piece opportunities at either end. Leeds had the first one and were unable to make anything from it, but the visitors did take theirs, going into an early lead.
Brais Mendez - top scorer for the away side so far this season - turned provider as he whipped in a dangerous cross, right onto the head of Martin Zubimendi. The defender powerfully met the ball to head into the top corner and open the scoring.
It wouldn’t be long before Marsch’s side hit back though, and in superb fashion. A quick move forward saw Marc Roca collect the ball on the edge of the box before laying it off to Struijk, who smashed home left-footed into the bottom corner to level the scores.
Each side would then push forward after their goals and look to score again, but neither ‘keeper would really be tested.
The well-known David Silva needed no introduction and he came close to putting his side back ahead, but dragged an effort wide inside the box. Many years his junior and wearing a United shirt, Willy Gnonto also had an effort at goal when well placed, but couldn’t hit the target either.
In an evenly fought opening 45 minutes under the lights of Elland Road, the teams went in level, which had been a fair reflection of the match up to the half-time interval.
HALF TIME: Leeds United 1-1 Real Sociedad
Marsch made a number of changes during the break. Joe Gelhardt, Cody Drameh, Sam Greenwood, Leo Hjelde and Kristoffer Klaesson all entered the action. The visitors made two subs of their own, bringing on Aritz Elustondo and Andre Guevara.
Shortly into the second half and Marsch’s side would go ahead in the game! Top-scorer Rodrigo was the player who calmly slotted into the back of the net, following excellent build-up play from both Gnonto and then Gelhardt to create the opening for the Spaniard.
The La Liga outfit had an opportunity to hit back quickly. The quick feet of David Silva again nearly created an opening but was well blocked, but seconds later Brais Mendez had a one-on-one chance himself, however, he struck well over the bar.
Further changes then followed. Mateo Joseph and Darko Gyabi were brought into the game for Leeds, replacing goalscorer Rodrigo and fellow Spaniard, Roca.
Real Sociedad saw plenty of the ball in the closing stages and did push forward looking for an equaliser, but they were met with plenty of resistance from the home team.
The 22,826 strong crowd saw their side battle well against the visitors and stand firm to what was thrown at them, as they claimed the victory, in a match were a number of players were able to get vital minutes.
Next up at Elland Road in a final friendly before the Premier League action restarts, will be French Ligue 1 side, AS Monaco.
FULL TIME: Leeds United 2-1 Real Sociedad
Leeds: Robles (GK) (Klaesson 45’), Ayling, Forshaw (Greenwood 45’), Cooper (C) (Hjelde 45’), Aaronson (Gelhardt 45’), Roca (Gyabi 64’), Gnonto (Perkins 77’), Rodrigo (Joseph 64’), Struijk, Kristensen (Drameh 45’), Klich.
Sociedad: A. Remiro (GK) (Zubiaurre 64’), Zubimendi (Illarramendi 64’), Zubeldia (C) (Elustondo 45’), Cho (Guevara 45’), Navarro, Gorosabel (Sola 74’), Pacheco, Silva (Karrikaburu 64’), Brais Méndez (Marin 64’), Le Normand, Martín.
Venue: Elland Road
Referee: Michael Salisbury
Booked: Roca, Hjelde (Leeds) Zubeldia, Elustondo (Sociedad)