Barcelona registered their first comeback victory in La Liga this season earlier today by defeating league-leaders Real Sociedad by a 2-1 margin at the Camp Nou. The Blaugrana enjoyed an excellent first half and now find themselves in fifth place in the league standings.
Real Sociedad gave Barcelona a run for their money in the second half and proved their mettle as top-four contenders but were unable to take a point away from the game. Barcelona face Valencia this weekend and will look to register a third consecutive league victory for the first time this season.
Barcelona dominated possession in the opening stages of the game with Real Sociedad struggling to push into the final third. The Catalan giants were able to exploit the space left by the Basque team in the final third and created a flurry of chances in the opening half-hour.
Real Sociedad scored the opening goal of the game against the run of play and Barcelona were left with a mammoth task against the Basque outfit. Martin Braithwaite and Antoine Griezmann had excellent chances to restore parity but were unable to find the back of the net.
The equaliser came from an unlikely source for Barcelona as Jordi Alba found space at the edge of the penalty area to score an excellent goal. Barcelona hit their stride towards the end of the first half and edged ahead as a VAR decision gave Frenkie de Jong his first goal of the season.
Real Sociedad enjoyed an excellent spell at the start of the second half as Adnan Januzaj took it up a notch for the visitors. Barcelona were gifted with the better chances, however, as Antoine Griezmann came close to doubling Barcelona's lead on a couple of occasions.
Real Sociedad tightened the screws after the hour-mark and Alexander Isak's introduction gave the Basque side some much-needed initiative. Barcelona weathered the storm, however, and registered a crucial victory against the league-leaders at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona Player Ratings
Marc-Andre ter Stegen - 7/10
Marc-Andre ter Stegen had to make a string of regulation saves in the second half and stepped up to the plate for Barcelona. The German shot-stopper did spill the ball on one occasion but recovered admirably and made amends with an exceptional save.
Ronald Araujo - 8.5/10
Ronald Araujo was arguably the best player on the pitch and put his body on the line to give Barcelona a cutting edge in their own half. The Uruguayan defender had an answer to all the questions Real Sociedad threw at him and made a massive statement with his performance.
Oscar Mingueza - 6.5/10
Oscar Mingueza was given a start in place of Clement Lenglet against Real Sociedad and put in a commendable performance alongside Ronald Araujo. The La Masia defender did have a host of nervous moments in the second half and was replaced by Clement Lenglet towards the end of the game.
Jordi Alba - 8/10
Jordi Alba had an excellent first half for Barcelona and presented a slightly ambidextrous version of himself with an outrageous right-footed finish to score his side's equaliser. The left-back also bagged an assist for Frenkie de Jong's goal and could have racked up another in the second half.
Sergino Dest - 7/10
Sergino Dest used his pace to good effect on the right flank and had a positive outing against Real Sociedad. The American teenager made a few important interceptions and is becoming an important cog in Ronald Koeman's set-up.
Sergio Busquets - 6.5/10
Sergio Busquets has been well below his impeccable standards this season but deserves praise for a tenacious performance against Real Sociedad. The Catalan veteran was replaced by La Masia graduate Carles Alena in the second half.
Frenkie de Jong - 7.5/10
Frenkie de Jong scored Barcelona's all-important goal on the night and will be thrilled with his first goal of his season. The Dutch midfielder did look tired in the second half but held his own against Real Sociedad's relentless attack.
Pedri - 7.5/10
Pedri has certainly won Blaugrana hearts with his Puyol-esque intervention in the second half to deny Alexander Isak a clear sight at the goal. The 18-year-old midfielder did make a few occasional mistakes but created his fair share of chances and had a bright game.
Antoine Griezmann - 6/10
Antoine Griezmann has improved his finishing over the course of this season and will be thoroughly disappointed with his lack of accuracy in the final third. The French striker did enjoy a few good touches of the ball but will need to be more clinical as the season progresses.
Lionel Messi - 7/10
Lionel Messi was Barcelona's creative hub yet again against Real Sociedad and looked dangerous on a few occasions in the final third. The Argentine talisman did make a few questionable decisions on the ball, however, and will need to be back at his best is Barcelona are to win silverware this season.
Martin Braithwaite - 6.5/10
Martin Braithwaite had an excellent opportunity to score Barcelona's equaliser in the first half but scuffed his attempt over the crossbar. The Danish striker was an energetic presence in the final third but lost possession on several occasions and will need to do better to keep his place in the starting eleven.
Francisco Trincao - 5.5/10
Francisco Trincao was brought on to the pitch for Antoine Griezmann in the second half and flattered to deceive yet again for Barcelona. The Portuguese winger was surprisingly beaten for pace by the 34-year-old Nacho Monreal on a few occasions and needs to take it up a notch to become a starter at the club.
Carles Alena - 6/10
Carles Alena did not influence the game as much as he would have liked in the second half and was unable to wrest the ball from Real Sociedad's talented midfield. The young Catalan midfielder has plenty of work to do to earn his stripes at the club.
Miralem Pjanic - 6/10
Miralem Pjanic did manage to make a few important interceptions towards the end of the game but was largely overrun by a marauding Real Sociedad side.
Clement Lenglet - 6/10
Clement Lenglet was a late substitute for Oscar Mingueza and did not have much of an impact on the game.
Published 17 Dec 2020, 04:18 IST