A sluggish and scrappy opening period saw neither goalkeeper troubled as a tempestuous first half lacked any creativity or inspiration.
But Kanoute's clinical finish in the 53rd minute gave Sevilla all three points in a fleeting moment of class.
Alvaro Negredo placed a precise header into the path of Kanoute, who took the ball down perfectly in his stride and promptly lashed the ball beyond a helpless Claudio Bravo in the Real Sociedad goal.
Sevilla clung on to preserve their slender advantage as Marcelino Garcia Toral's side grabbed all three points to continue their unbeaten start to the La Liga campaign.
It was a first defeat of the season for Philippe Montanier's side, but a lack of cutting edge in the final third ensured that Sevilla's lead was never seriously threatened.
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