Full Time: Barcelona 3-2 Real Sociedad
Barcelona withstood some serious pressure from Real Sociedad to come out 3-2 winners on Saturday night at the Camp Nou in La Liga.
Both the teams exchanged quite a few early blows, with Sociedad enjoying the better of the chances, but failed to open the scoring. And soon they were made to pay for their misses as Barcelona broke the deadlock through Lionel Messi’s incredible strike from outside the box in the 17th minute. The little magician then made it 2-0 twenty minutes later, capitalizing on a parried save from Geronimo Rulli in the Sociedad goal. However, La Real weren’t to be silenced as they bounced back 5 minutes later when Inigo Martinez’s effort was deflected into the Barcelona net by defender Samuel Umtiti.
The first-half continued to excite, with Barca restoring their two-goal cushion as Messi set up struggling striker Paco Alcacer just on the stroke of half-time. But Sociedad responded immediately through a neat finish from Xabi Prieto to bring an action-packed first half to an end with the scoreline 3-2 in favour of Barcelona.
The second period began on a similar note, with both teams threatening to score. Sociedad had a quite a few chances, but they lacked the clinical touch in front of goal, allowing Barcelona to hold on to the score-line and come away with three points.
The win means the Catalans reduce the gap at the top to three points again, with the El Clasico coming up next weekend. Here is how the Barcelona players fared on the night:
Barcelona Player Ratings
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen – 6/10
Made a decent stop from Mikel Oyarzabal early on, only to spill it back into a dangerous area. A little shaky start, but looked more assured as the game progressed. Not much he could have done about the goals.
Sergi Roberto – 7.5/10
The Spaniard returned to the right-back slot for the game and had a very good outing. Was always an outlet for Barcelona going forward and picked out dangerous crosses throughout the course of the match.
Gerard Pique – 6/10
The centre-half made an important block from Oyarzabal’s effort early on and remained steady when under pressure. Did not convince while trying to carry the ball out of the back.
Samuel Umtiti – 6/10
Unlucky to have scored an own goal. But apart from that, it was another solid performance from the Frenchman. His passing from the back too was on the money.
Jordi Alba – 7/10
Returned to the line-up after quite some time and added an extra dimension to Barcelona’s attacking play with his willingness to bomb forward at extreme pace. Good outing.
Sergio Busquets – 6/10
Returned to the XI after missing out in midweek. Although it wasn’t his best display, he made sure Barcelona did not lose control in the middle of the park.
Ivan Rakitic – 5/10
Another poor outing for the Croatian as he struggled to contribute in attack. His distribution was not up to the mark and he grew tired as the game progressed.
Andre Gomes – 5/10
The Portuguese is lacking in confidence and it could be seen on the pitch. Struggled on a few occasions and was always looking to play it safe. Taken off with 20 minutes left to play, amidst whistles from the Barca fans.
Lionel Messi – 9.5/10
Pulled the strings from the hole behind the strikers. Created an ample number of opportunities which his teammates failed to make it count. So, he took it upon himself to open the scoring and added another one not long after, before setting up the third for Alcacer. Involved a little less after the restart, but the danger was there each time he made a run. A complete performance.
Luis Suarez – 7/10
Worked his socks off in the attacking third and was always on the look out to win the ball or make a menacing run. Was thwarted on a couple of occasions by Rulli in the Sociedad goal.
Paco Alcacer – 7/10
Missed a sitter early in the first half to make it 2-0, but made amends with a fine goal just before half-time after Messi played him through. Worked hard throughout, before being replaced late in the game.
Andres Iniesta – 6/10
Replaced Gomes in the 69th minute. Added calmness to the midfield.
Denis Suarez – NA
Came on for Alcacer with just a little over ten minutes left to play. Not enough time to make an impact.