Barcelona 1-0 Real Sociedad: 3 Key moments as Barca win by a lone goal | LaLiga 2019-20
- Barcelona goes back on top thanks to a hard-fought victory over Real Sociedad.
The Basque club proved to be very resilient opponents, pushing Barca to the final whistle. Imanol Alguacil's men may have hit the target just once, but they dominated large swathes of what was a very enthralling encounter.
The Blaugrana's little magician, Lionel Messi, huffed and puffed all game, but his manoeuvres were thwarted time and again by the vigilant Sociedad defenders. However, La Pulga made his presence felt in the 81st minute, as he expertly poked a spot-kick beyond the reach of Real Sociedad's Alex Remiro.
Barca return to the summit of LaLiga, however, Real Madrid have a game in hand, as they play Real Betis tomorrow. In this feature, we analyse some key moments from this entertaining encounter.
#3 In the nick of time
It was a very tense encounter, and although it was end to end stuff, defenders on either end of the divide held their own.
Real Sociedad came into the encounter with certain key offensive assets left out of the starting XI, perhaps with fixtures ahead in mind. The result was a lacklustre display in and around the Barca penalty box.
However, whenever they did look a genuine threat, the Barca centre-back pairing of Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet were on hand to take away Sociedad's fleeting moment of glory.
One of such novel moments came towards the tail end of the game, with the game firmly poised at 0-0. A Real Sociedad counter-attack saw Alexander Isak open up Barca on the left flank, and he sent a low dangerous cross into the Barca box, however, Clement Lenglet cut out the cross via a perfect slide tackle. It was a vital interception, as 11 minutes later the tide turned firmly in Barca's favour.
#2 A contentious offside decision
Towards the end of the game, Real Sociedad piled the pressure on Barca, with the Basque club sending on key attacking assets, Willian Jose and Mikel Oyarzabal.
Wave after wave of attack was thwarted by Barca's vigilant defensive pairing, and deep in stoppage time, the Catalans put the game to bed (so we thought), thanks to a well-orchestrated attacking manoeuvre which saw Lionel Messi and Ansu Fati combine delightfully to lay the assist for Jordi Alba.
However, a quick VAR check adjudged Fati offside by the slimmest of margins (more-like by a toe). Alba was denied his goal, Fati was denied an assist, but the victory wasn't denied Barca, as moments later the referee ended the encounter.
#1 An unnatural handball
The encounter seemed to be hurtling towards a draw, with the defenders and indecisive attackers seemingly conspiring to share the spoils.
However, Real Sociedad's Robin Le Normand was having none of that, as he rose above everyone to hit the ball with his arm. After a brief VAR check, his arm was adjudged to have been in an 'unnatural position'. Penalty.
Up stepped captain fantastic, Lionel Messi, and he sent the ball beyond the reach of Real Sociedad's goal guardian - he was never going to miss from that range. Messi's goal sent Barca back to the LaLiga summit, and further strengthened his stranglehold on the top scorers' chart.
The ball is now in Real Madrid's court, as they will look to continue from where they left off last weekend with another win and return to the top of the standings.Published 08 Mar 2020, 03:10 IST