Carlos Vela's double sealed Real Sociedad de Fútbol's return to the UEFA Champions League group stage after a ten-year hiatus, the Basque club completing a 4-0 aggregate play-off win against Olympique Lyonnais.
Having put themselves in a commanding position with a 2-0 first-leg victory, Jagoba Arrasate's charges were seldom in danger of being denied a place among Europe's elite for the second time. In control for large stretches of the Anoeta contest, La Real had to wait until Vela headed in a 67th-minute corner to breathe a little easier. The Mexico striker capped a fine display with a superb individual effort in added time.
Stung by successive home losses – in the first leg and on Saturday to Stade de Reims − Lyon made an aggressive start, pinning their opponents back for much of the opening quarter of an hour. The early momentum they were building would have diminished completely, however, had Lyon fan Antoine Griezmann, scorer of a stunning overhead kick in the teams' first meeting, executed his attempted chip over Anthony Lopes.
Haris Seferovic, on target last week with a spectacular strike of his own, was denied nine minutes later. Left-back Henri Bedimo prevented the scale of Les Gones' task becoming even greater, blocking the Swiss international's goal-bound header from Vela's cross.
Suddenly it was the hosts posing the questions, with Griezmann, all neat turns and silky touches, bringing a save out of Lopes and Vela extending the goalkeeper from the left corner of the penalty area. Three minutes into the second period it was the woodwork that saved the Ligue 1 outfit, Seferovic checking back on to his left foot and rattling the upright from inside the penalty box.
The creator on that occasion, Vela fashioned another opportunity for the hosts before the hour, sending Griezmann clear with a measured pass. Rather than pull the trigger himself, the striker squared for Seferovic, who placed his effort wide. After Lopes had thwarted Seferovic at the near post, Vela put the tie beyond doubt from the resulting corner, peeling off Lopes and planting a firm header into the net. His late solo goal rivalled the first-leg strikes of his team-mates.
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