FC Barcelona slipped to a draw at the Anoeta, conceding two quick-fire goals after scoring a rapid double of their own. Cesc Fabregas and Xavi were the scorers, but a criminal back pass by David Villa ensured Real Sociedad got their share of the points.
Typically Sky Sports have an odd rule that culminated in me missing the first 15 minutes of the match, so as I expected, all the first half action occurred early. Luckily, the replays were still shown!
Starting out with a depleted side, FC Barcelona should have been in for a tough game in San Sebastian. As we know, this team does not adhere to usual logic. The talk of the international break, the lack of key players; none of them made any difference.
The first goal was sublime, with Barcelona exchanging passes in the Sociedad half before a ball over the top by Cesc Fabregas found Pedro. The tricky Spaniard displayed exquisite control, before teeing up Xavi for an easy finish.
10 minutes gone, FC Barcelona were ahead, but would they lay off? Well a mere minute had passed and another great move with a ball over the top ended up with Pedro. This time, Pedro went for the shot, but it was parried by Bravo, and Cesc Fabregas made no mistake with the finish.
Two goals, two passes over the top, too easy for Barcelona.
Sociedad were not pressing, Barcelona were. Sociedad were playing with a high line, Barcelona were exploiting this, it was getting embarrassing.
Not everything was going well for the Blaugrana though. Alexis Sanchez had started so well, but in sprinting for a ball, he was tackled, and his trailing leg was caught in a tangle. This tangle caused Alexis to injure his hamstring, and he had to be stretchered off, with David Villa as a replacement. Sanchez is expected to be out for 6-8 weeks.
Pedro nearly made it three before half-time, but his lobbed attempt was tipped by Bravo, and cleared for a corner. Would the second half prove better for him, and more importantly: would Phillipe Montanier fix any of the evident problems Real Sociedad were suffering?
Just a note: writing the review this quick means that I write the first half review in the break, and the second half review after full-time.
It turns out, Montanier is a footballing God. Not only did he address the problems, but he nuillified Barcelona’s attack. After going close on the restart, it was clear Sociedad had come to play. Barcelona, were looking complacent.
On the hour mark, Real Sociedad pulled one back, with Xabi Prieto whipping in an inviting cross with his left foot, and Aggiretxe rose above the defense to direct it into the bottom corner. Game on at Anoeta.
No-one could predict what would happen next...
In the most confusing, and bizarre sequence I have ever witnessed in a FC Barcelona match, David Villa was the catalyst. Firing a back pass towards Valdes, he only succeeded in playing through the Sociedad attack. Fontas was sprinting back, so we can expect him to reach the goal in 2073, and Aggiretxe rounded Valdes, before taking the shot. Sergio Busquets tipped his shot onto the bar, and Griezmann was on hand to finish it off.
Then it got confusing. The referee booked Zurutuza, and I thought it had been ruled out for some reason or another. However, it became evident that the goal stood, and all Zurutuza was booked for was arguing his case. Sergio Busquets should have been sent off, and Sociedad should have had a penalty.
Fabregas blocked a free-kick on 73 minutes with his hand, but the referee failed to make the call, and even the introduction of Lionel Messi could not save Barcelona.
However, he had a penalty claim knocked back on 92 minutes for "diving" though there was contact there. It was just not to be for FC Barcelona today. No doubt Real Madrid were ready to claim top spot...
Today, it is not "Man of the Match", but by request of Al Benson, the reverse man of the match. This goes to the worst player of the night, and for his pass, I am plumping for David Villa. El Guaje, if you are reading, you cost us these points.
Onto Milan, and God knows what.
Visca El Barca!
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