Barcelona has now completed nine years of not winning at the Anoeta Stadium after another loss to Real Sociedad in the Basque Country, thanks to a lone goal from Mikel Oyarzabal. After conceding early, the Blaugrana could not break Sociedad’s great defense thanks to a poor team performance and terrible individual nights from the team’s stars. Now, the race for the La Liga title is wide open and the Catalans do not look like world-beaters anymore. Thanks, Anoeta.
The game started as expected, with the hosts pressing high and troubling Barça's passing. The visitors could have scored early but Munir missed an easy goal, and in the next attack, a good cross from Xavi Prieto found Oyarzabal who headed home with perfection to score the opener.
From the minute they conceded, the Blaugranes had almost all of the possession and camped inside Sociedad's half, but always ran into a wall built by La Real in front of the box. Because of that and a lack of movement and quickness in passing, Barça struggled to bring any danger to goalkeeper Rulli apart from a great save from the Argentine to stop a shot from Arda Turan.
At halftime, lots of possession, very few ideas, and only 45 minutes to break the streak.
Luis Enrique is known for making the right adjustments during his halftime talk and bring the players back firing on all cylinders in the second half. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Barça continued to lack pace and creativity, easily giving the ball away whenever the team got close to the goal, and even the entrances of Andrés Iniesta and Jordi Alba didn't alter the outcome of the match.
In the end, a fifth consecutive loss at Anoeta, a tiny three-point lead at the top of the table, and a deeply concerning form for the best team in the world.
Real Sociedad: Rulli; Elustondo (Zaldua), Mikel, Reyes, Bella; Illarramendi, Prieto, Granero; Vela, Oyarzabal (Héctor), Zurutuza (Pardo)
Goal: Oyarzabal (5')
Barcelona: Bravo; Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Roberto (Rakitic); Busquets, Arda (Alba), Rafinha (Iniesta); Messi, Munir, Neymar