Barcelona’s problems at the Anoeta Stadium continued on Saturday as they were thoroughly out played and thoroughly beaten by Real Sociedad. Goals from Antoine Griezmann and David Zurutuza in the second half were the difference as Barca drops out of first place and La Real moves up to fifth for now.
Pedro got the first great chance of the match in the 19th minute, getting a shot off from short range in the center of the Real Sociedad box. His effort was off target though, pushing just wide of the post.
La Real were not overmatched though and generated chances of their own as the first half progressed. They forced a couple good saves from Victor Valdés but the best chance came in the 29th minute when Carlos Vela just missed on a shot that curled over the top left corner of the goal.
Minutes later the goal did come for La Real. Gorka Elustondo appeared to do the damage after a short corner kick was sent into the box where the midfielder had beaten his marker Alex Song. Elustondo got up and directed the ball over Valdés’ outstretched arms to give the home side a 1-0 lead. Replays showed the ball went off Song last and thus the Barca midfielder was pinned with an own goal.
Barca wasted little time responding as the one and only Lionel Messi came to the rescue in the 36th minute. Sergio Busquet’s clever back heel to Messi as he streaked into the 18-yard box set up the chance and the Argentine striker didn’t waste it, beating Claudio Bravo to even the match at 1-1.
Head coach Gerardo Martino said something to the referee at halftime and was sent to the stands, leaving
La Real ripped back the lead in the 54th minute when Marc Bartra’s backwards header fell right into the path of Carlos Vela. The striker moved into the Barca box before crossing to Antoine Griezmann who re-directed the ball on target past Valdés.
Barca tried to answer quickly again but Bravo denied Pique in the 56th minute, making a fingertip save on a short range header off a corner kick.
Four minutes later La Real added a third goal. David Zurutuza made a perfectly timed run into a huge gap left by the Barca defense and Griezmann picked him out with a cross. Zurutuza got enough of a touch on the ball, beating Valdés who tried to come off his line to claim the cross, to get it past the goalkeeper and extended the lead to 3-1.
The post denied Vela in the 81st minute after he brought down Xabi Prieto’s cross and had an empty net staring at him. In the end it didn’t matter though as Barca could not respond.
Real Sociedad: Bravo, Zaldúa, Martínez, Mikel, José Ángel, Markel, Zurutuza, Elustondo (Pardo 90′) , Canales (Ansotegi 84′), Griezmann (Prieto 74′), Vela
Goals: Song (og 32′), Griezmann (54′), Zurutuza (59′)
Barcelona: Valdés, Montoya (Sánchez 73′), Piqué, Bartra, Adriano, Busquets, Song (Fàbregas 61′), Iniesta, Pedro, Messi, Neymar
Goals: Messi (36′)