Barcelona beat Real Sociedad 2-1 at the Camp Nou, in what was one of their best performances in the La Liga this season. The Blaugrana went behind early in the first half after Willian Jose scored for La Real.
A brilliant goal from Jordi Alba and a simple finish from Frenkie de Jong gave Barca the three points against a resilient opposition. The win means that the Catalan giants are now 5th in the table, two points behind Villareal at 4th (with a game in hand).
Manager Ronald Koeman was in a cheerful mood after the morale-boosting win. The Dutchman acknowledged that his side's performance in the first half was probably the best their best this season.
It was the best first half of our season for sure. We were great with the ball and we pressed well. The second half was more difficult. La Real played very well. We created chances to score and so did they. We have to keep going. When we had to defend, we defended well. The attitude was great. Sometimes you need a pivot. Pedri can do both.
Eyebrows were raised before the game when Barcelona started with the centre back pairing of Ronald Araújo and Óscar Mingueza. However, the pair was solid at the back:
Real have great quality and we had to react to them too. There are no fans here, so it's different from the usual pressure but we have no problem playing Araujo and Mingueza for big games. Antoine was unlucky in front of goal. Martin had a great chance too. There are plenty of games left and it depends on ourselves how far we want to go.
Here's the lineups and scoresheet for the game:
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Mingueza (Lenglet), Alba; De Jong, Busquets (Alena); Griezmann (Trincao), Pedri (Pjanic), Braithwaite; Messi
Goals: Alba (31’), De Jong (43’)
Real Sociedad: Remiro; Gorosabel, Zubeldia, Le Normand, Monreal; Guevara (Navarro), Zubimendi, Merino; Januzaj (Barrenetxea), Willian Jose, Portu (Isak).
Goal: Jose (27’)