Barcelona overcame a serious problem within the La Liga title race on Saturday, beating in-form Real Sociedad 1-Zero at residence.
Lionel Messi transformed a penalty after 81 minutes, however there was some controversy concerned with the choice to place the ball on the spot for a dealing with offence. La Real had given the Catalans an excellent battle till that time.
The win strikes the Blaugrana two factors forward of Real Madrid, who will face Real Betis on Sunday.
The Txuri Urdin got here into this match having gained 9 of their final 10 in all competitions, and so they have been greater than prepared to surge ahead early.
It resulted in an open and expansive match between two attack-minded groups, though first-half probabilities have been uncommon. An early mistake from Marc-Andre ter Stegen practically arrange Alexander Isak, and Martin Braithwaite―making his first begin for Barcelona―noticed an effort saved by Alex Remiro.
Braithwaite once more put Remiro to work minutes later, and Gerard Pique made a wonderful block to maintain Isak from testing Ter Stegen on the opposite finish of the pitch.
Messi struck a annoyed determine early towards the Basques, who did an excellent job isolating him. It was telling Braithwaite was probably the most harmful man on the pitch for the Catalans.
Ander Barrenetxea arrange Isak for the guests’ greatest probability of the half, however his header missed the goal. Remiro made a superb save on Messi simply previous the half-hour mark, and Ivan Rakitic picked out Braithwaite on the ensuing nook, together with his header rising over the bar.
Cristian Portu got here inside inches of connecting with a pointy cross, and Messi examined Remiro once more earlier than working right into a reserving. Per Spanish soccer author Euan McTear, the Ballon d’Or holder set a brand new―undesirable―milestone within the course of.
He was fortunate to nonetheless be on the pitch after he wasn’t punished for this stamp on Diego Llorente.
The half ended on a bitter observe for the Catalans, with Pique in seen ache and holding his neck after clearing a nook.
La Real began the second half on the entrance foot, with Barrenetxea capturing broad and Portu firing a harmful cross into the field. Pique cleared however once more reached for his neck after heading the ball.
On the opposite aspect of the pitch, Messi arrange a pleasant assault with Jordi Alba earlier than capturing broad. The Argentinian bought an opportunity with a free-kick, however Mikel Merino headed it clear earlier than it even crossed the penalty spot.
The Catalans began to extend the tempo.
La Real responded by introducing Mikel Oyarzabal, who surprisingly began from the bench.
Remiro made two large saves in fast succession, denying Rakitic’s drive and Pique’s header from the ensuing nook. He gave the impression to be crushed when Alba flashed a teasing cross into the field, however not one of the Barcelona gamers have been in a position to attain it.
The Txuri Urdin have been nonetheless a risk on the counter, and Nacho Monreal reminded the Catalans of the hazard with a shot that was blocked. Oyarzabal additionally went shut, blasting over after the defence forgot to shut him down.
Isak ought to have given the guests the lead with 15 minutes left to play, discovering himself near Ter Stegen however firing broad.
But simply as La Real appeared the extra seemingly crew to attain, the VAR threw Barcelona a lifeline. After Monreal missed an opportunity for the guests, the replay went all the best way again to the beginning of the counter and concluded Robin Le Normand dealt with the ball. Per sports activities author Samuel Marsden, the motion had superior fairly a bit already.
Replays steered the ball hit Le Normand on the higher arm, which was consistent with his physique. Messi stepped up for the penalty and transformed.
The Txuri Urdin surged ahead in the hunt for an equaliser, however Barcelona did a superb job shutting down their efforts. Alba thought he had added a second objective deep in added time, however this time the VAR didn’t cooperate, chalking it off for offside.
Barcelona go to Mallorca on Saturday, and La Real go to Eibar on Tuesday.