Our prediction for this Europa League match:
After beating Sturm Graz at Merkur-Arena thanks to Alexander Isak’s goal, Real Sociedad will look to give fans yet another reason for celebration when the two teams face each other at Reale Arena on Thursday evening. La Real head into the match following a 1-1 draw with Athletic Club in the Basque derby, but they are surely capable of beating the Austrian outfit in front of home fans.
Even though influential winger Mikel Oyarzabal has been struggling with a muscle injury of late, home win should be considered as Real Sociedad have turned their Reale Arena into a real fortress. Sturm, on the other hand, suffered a loss in each of their three group games, and given their shaky defence, the visitors are unlikely to upset the La Liga side in San Sebastian. Midfielder Jon Gorenc Stankovic is banned for the match.
Highlighted Player (Willian José):
Well-travelled Brazilian international Willian Jose was born in Porto Calvo and made his first football steps at a local Clube de Regatas. It was at the age of 17 that he was snapped by Gremio Barueri where he made 26 league appearances and scored six goal in his first – and only – senior season at the club.
In 2011, Willian Jose moved to Deportivo Maldonado but his five-year stint with the Uruguay outfit was marked by no less than seven different loan spells, one of which was to La Liga heavyweights Real Madrid. Standing at 186cm tall, Willian Jose is a notable presence in the box. This powerful centre forward will use his physicality to hold up ball and bring his teammates into play.
The Brazilian international did well to make a name for himself in Spain by playing for Zaragoza and Las Palmas, respectively, before he sealed a permanent move to Real Sociedad in 2016. A member of both FIFA U-20 World Cup and South American Youth Championship winning sides with Brazil in 2011, Willian Jose has not been given a chance to prove his worth at the senior level with Selecao.