After the El Clasico loss Barcelona did not react in the best way, but managed to win one of the toughest away games in La Liga – against Real Sociedad. The Catalans made it a priceless 1-0 with a late goal from Ronald Araujo after a fantastic assist from Ilkay Gundogan.
Although the Uruguayan earned the three points with his late strike, the game definitely belonged to Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, who made 6 saves, 5 of which were quite difficult. Thus, once again during the season, the German international proved to be key for Barcelona.
The victory provided Barcelona with another successful visit to Reale Arena. Since 2016, the hosts have not won against the Catalans at home, and the “Blaugranas” are already on a streak of 4 consecutive victories at this stadium.
Barcelona remain in 3rd place with their win, 4 points behind leaders Girona. Real Madrid can go top on Sunday if they win at home to Rayo Vallecano in the late game. Real Sociedad suffered its 3rd defeat and fell to 6th position with 19 points.
The Basques started the match with a bang and the only reason the score remained 0:0 was Ter Stegen. The German goalkeeper intervened decisively in the 1st minute with a shot by Barenechea, and 2 minutes later Muñoz had a chance to shoot from close range, but the shot was too light and straight into the goalkeeper’s hands – a strong start for the hosts at “Reale Arena” .
In 15′, the German guard was the hero again. Barenechea received a ball down the left wing and sent a sharp pass into the penalty area, where Takefuso Kubo intercepted at the far post, but his shot hit Ter Stegen’s leg.
4 minutes later and a situation opened up in front of Barcelona, as Gavi went past Zubeldia extremely easily, entered the penalty area, but instead of shooting from a good position, he tried to pass and the ball was knocked out for a corner.
It was only at the end of the half that Barcelona exerted a brief pressure, after which the visitors twice had claims for a penalty for fouls on Felix and Lewandowski, but the referee remained silent – 0-0 after the first 45 minutes.
After Ter Stegen again made 2-3 fantastic saves in the first 30 minutes, it looked like the match would end 0:0. The hosts visibly tired, and Barcelona played better. And it paid off in the final minute of overtime.
Gundogan received a ball in front of the penalty area and saw Ronald Araujo speeding in. He sent a perfect cross and put the ball on the defender’s head, who shot Remiro – 0:1. Initially, an ambush was ruled, but after the intervention of the VAR, the goal was counted – 0:1 final score and priceless 3 points for the Catalans.
Real Sociedad: Remiro, Traore, Zubeldia, Le Norman, Munoz, Mendes, Zubimendi, Merino, Barenechea, Kubo, Oyarzabal
Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Cancelo, Balde, Araujo, Martinez, Gavi, Lewandowski, Felix, Gundogan, Kunde, Fermin
BEFORE THE DUEL
Xavi’s side will be looking for a must-win three points as they look to recover and get back on the winning track after last weekend’s 2-1 defeat by Real Madrid.
However, the Real Sociedad team should not be underestimated at all. Imanol Alguacil’s men have started the campaign well and are in fifth position in the standings with an asset of 19 points – 5 less than fourth placed Barca.
The Catalans’ injury problems are starting to ease. Robert Lewandowski and Rafinha both returned from injury off the bench against Real Madrid, with Pedri also now in the lineup. The big absentees are Frenkie de Jong and Sergi Roberto.