Barcelona traveled to Reale Arena in San Sebastien for their clash against Real Sociedad, determined to give a fitting response to their shocking loss against Cadiz. The La Liga fixture took place on Thursday, April 21.
The visitors took an early lead in the 10th minute with a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang header after good work from Gavi and Ferran Torres in the box.
Xavi Hernandez made four changes to his side, three of which were in the backline as Gerard Pique, Ronald Araujo and Dani Alves all made their return to the starting XI. Barcelona did exceedingly well to soak up pressure from Sociedad, who had a couple of very good chances but their finishing was really disappointing.
The home side tried suffocating the spaces early on and applied a strong press, giving the Catalans a rather uncomfortable start. Tackles flew in from both sides in the early minutes of the match which typefied the kind of fixture we had on our hands.
Barcelona fans were quick to notice how comfortable their backline looked with Araujo at the heart of the defense. The Uruguayan made some really calm clearances in the box while under pressure. But he stood out for his positional awareness and reading of the game before being substituted by Eric Garcia at the 55-minute mark.
Dani Alves, who made his return to the starting line-up, took the freedom to roam around the pitch as he occupied the central midfield on numerous occasions. But Araujo covered for him excellently on more than one occasion. Barcelona fans heaped praise on their centre-back for his committed display.
Real Sociedad putting Barcelona under real pressure
It is anyone's guess how the home side have not gone level on the scoreline with the Catalans even after playing for more than an hour. Sociedad came out in the second half more driven and motivated.
They created a bunch of great chances right off the bat. Adnan Januzaj found Sorloth with a well-weighted cross in the box, but he failed to parry it in from close range on the half-volley. Alexander Isak's relentless and clever pressing kept Xavi's defense busy and on their feet at all times.
The Swedish striker had a great chance to level the scores just before half-time but pulled his shot wide of the post in what was a disappointing finish. Barcelona could not afford a minute's rest in the game as Sociedad continued to string chances one after the other.
However, it seems like their finishing is going to let them down on the night.
A win would take Xavi's side to second position above Sevilla. The two teams are level on points but the Blaugrana have a better goal difference and also have a game in hand.
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