Barcelona edge closer to Liga title with Sociedad win
Camp Nou, La Liga – Barcelona (Lenglet 45, Alba 64) Real Sociedad 1 (Juanmi 62')
Barcelona extended their lead at the top of La Liga to nine points with a hard fought victory over a spirited Real Sociedad side at the Camp Nou.
Prior to the game a lot of the talk surrounded Messi, on the verge of 600 Barcelona goals, but it required interventions from defenders to provide the goals that secured all three points for Barcelona.
Timing was they key for Barcelona, who scored right on the stroke of half-time through Clement Lenglet and then saw Jordi Alba immediately restore the lead after Real Sociedad had equalised.
With only five games to go this victory seems to have rendered Barcelona’s lead at the top unassailable. They could effectively seal the title as quickly as next Saturday, if they can win in Alaves on Tuesday and then at home to Levante four days later.
Securing the league title as soon as possible will be uppermost in the mind of Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde, as his team look to focus on the upcoming Champions League semi-final with Liverpool.
Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona reacts during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Sociedad at Camp Nou on April 20, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain.Getty Images
Was Dembele offside for the second goal? Barcelona’s winning goal came from a deft move by Jordi Alba, who cut across his defender before firing a low shot into the far corner. As he was working his way into position to shoot, Dembele ran across the line of the shot and temporarily blocked the sight of Sociedad’s goalkeeper Gero Rulli. It didn’t quite look enough to put the goalkeeper off, but still required a review before the Barcelona supporters could truly celebrate the lead.
Man of the Match – Arturo Vidal (Barcelona)
The energetic Chilean midfielder was everywhere for Barcelona, harrying the Sociedad players and instigating forward momentum. His drive was sorely needed, in the face of a combative Real Sociedad team and on a night where Barcelona’s attacking players didn’t quite click with each other.
SUBS: Sangalli 6, Barrenetxea 6, Ramirez 6
36’ OH WHAT A CHANCE FOR SOCIEDAD! Pardo lifts a beautiful pass in behind the Barcelona defence. Juanmi chests it down and shoots, Ter Stegen saves at point blank range and Willian Jose balloons the rebound over the bar from six yards. That's a huge miss.
45’ GOAL! Barcelona 1 (Lenglet 45) Real Soceidad 0 The corner is whipped in from the left, and Lenglet crashes onto the ball to thump a towering header past Rulli from six yards!
62’ GOAL! Barcelona 1 Real Sociedad 1 (Juanmi 62). This is a stunning goal. Merino picks the ball up around thirty yards from Barcelona's goal. He slides a perfectly timed, guided and weighted ball right through the middle of the Barcelona defence to the onrushing Juanmi, who timed him run to perfection. He slides in to hook it past Ter Stegen, and we're level!
64’ GOAL! Barcelona 2 (Jordi Alba 64) Real Sociedad 1. Barcelona have struck back immediately! Jordi Alba picks the ball up on the left of the Sociedad area, cuts inside his mine and fires a low drive into the far corner!
67’ Breathless stuff! That goal by Alba was VAR checked as Dembele ran across the line of the shot in an offside position, but the shot was deemed to be far enough after Alba had let his shot go.
Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona controls the ball during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Sociedad at Camp Nou on April 20, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain.Getty Images
- With two goals and eight assists, Jordi Alba has been involved in more goals in La Liga this season than any other defender.
- After that defeat Real Sociedad’s record in the Camp Nou now reads W3, D7, L62.