REAL SOCIEDAD 0-1 BARCELONA. BARCELONA MOVES TO SECOND PLACE IN LALIGA, THANKS TO AUBAMEYANG’S EARLY STRIKE IN THE GAME.
Barcelona’s resurgence under Xavi continued with a hard-fought 1-0 win over European-chasing Real Sociedad, as the ‘Blaugrana’ made it eight matches unbeaten against the side from San Sebastian.
Humiliated by Eintracht Frankfurt seven days ago, before another surprise defeat at home to Cádiz last time out, Barcelona’s focus for the remainder of the season has shifted towards securing a Champions League berth. Starting their clash against Real Sociedad with a point to prove, it didn’t take the visitors long to get their noses out in front, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang nodding home from close range just 11 minutes in.
Breaching the hosts’ defence was an achievement in itself for Barcelona, given Real Sociedad last conceded a goal at home on December 18th – a run of seven consecutive clean sheets at the Anoeta Stadium. After going behind, the home side refound their defensive stability and should’ve struck level just before the break, when Alexander Isak dragged a first-time strike wide of the far post. Impressive hold-up play from Alexander Sørloth allowed the Norwegian to slip through his fellow Scandinavian forward, but Isask was unable to take advantage.
Perhaps unfortunate to have been behind at the break, Real Sociedad picked up from where they left off at the start of the second half and may have been on level terms if it wasn’t for Marc-André ter Stegen. Firstly standing tall to deny Sørloth’s strike from an acute angle, the Barcelona shot-stopper was alive and awake to prevent the Norwegian from simply tapping home Adnan Januzaj’s whipped cross.
As the game opened up, so did the chances for Barcelona on the counter-attack, with starlet Gavi passing up a guilt-edge chance to seal the points 15 minutes from time. Arriving late onto Ferran Torres’ cutback, the 17-year-old ought to have hit the target from 14-yards-out, but his strike was ballooned over the crossbar. Ultimately, it made little difference, as Xavi’s men successfully navigated ten minutes of added time, while ending their mini losing streak in nervy fashion.