Barca poor in Anoeta slip up

Real Sociedad shook up the title race on Saturday evening after they beat Barcelona 3-1 at Anoeta in a convincing display.

Neymar was recalled to the Blaugrana XI after being left on the bench at Manchester City on Tuesday. The Brazilian took his place in a front three, whilst Alex Song, Marc Bartra, Martin Montoya and Adriano all came in. The home side meanwhile, named an attacking line-up, starting Sergio Canales, Antoine Griezmann and Carlos Vela.

It was the away side who got off to their usual start – keeping possession and generally dictating the run of the play. The Erreala were holding strong though, and attempted some attacks of their own on the counter.

The Basque outfit were performing admirably at the back, keeping Tata Martino’s men within a safe distance, but they were almost undone on 20 minutes when Andres Iniesta fed in Pedro. The forward however, struck his first time effort wide of the post.

And the visitors paid for that profligacy on 32 minutes when a Canales cross found Elustondo, and the midfielder got in front of Pique to head home.

That woke the Catalans up, and almost immediately they equalised. A pass from Montoya found Messi, who struck home from the edge of the area.

The home team were making a real fight of it though, and had Barca on the ropes late on. Pique made a basic error when trying to clear the ball, but as Vela pounced on the loose ball, he shot well over when it looked easier to score.

After the break, the Anoeta outfit really came out of the blocks at some pace, forcing Barca on to the back foot immediately. Canales won a succession of corners that caused some confusion, but ultimately they came to nothing.

It didn’t matter though, as soon after Vela raced through, squared to Griezmann, who lifted the ball over Victor Valdes and into the back of the net.

With Martino being sent to the stands, his side were struggling. And that hostility spread to his backline on the hour mark as Griezmann picked out David Zurutuza inside the area, who got in front of Valdes to poke home a third.

Real Sociedad 3-1 Barcelona

Scorers: Elustondo 32 (RS), Griezmann 54 (RS), Zurutuza 59 (RS); Messi 36 (B)

Real Sociedad: Bravo, Zaldúa, Íñigo, Mikel, José Ángel, Markel, Zurutuza, Elustondo (Pardo 91), Canales (Ansotegi 84), Griezmann (Xabi Prieto 74), Vela

Barcelona: Valdés, Montoya (Alexis 73), Piqué, Bartra, Adriano, Busquets, Song (Cesc 61), Iniesta, Pedro, Messi, Neymar