La Liga champions Barcelona finished the season on a high with a 1-0 win over Real Sociedad in what was a very exciting match at Camp Nou. Both teams had a number of good chances, and Philippe Coutinho was the man to score the winner. But the highlight of the night was Andrés Iniesta, who played for Barça one last time and had a very emotional farewell.
The first 45 minutes were a lot of fun. Both teams had nothing to play for, and both teams have attacking tendencies, so both teams attacked A LOT. Neither defense was particularly bad in the first half, but they still allowed quite a lot of space and we got a good bit of chances.
La Real were more dangerous early on, with Willian José and Adnan Januzaj looking very aggressive and forcing Ter Stegen into some good saves. Ousmane Dembélé was the best Barça player on the pitch and created a lot of chances on the right wing, with a beautiful cross for a Ivan Rakitic header that went just wide being the highlight.
Despite the excitement we saw no goals at halftime, but surely that would change in the final period.
The pace of the game dropped quite noticeably to start the second half, and it seemed like the teams (especially Sociedad) were a little tired from running like crazy people in the first 45 minutes. A slower tempo favored Barça, who began dominating midfield and gaining a lot of control of the action.
And then Philippe Coutinho scored his best goal as a Barça player yet, and the champions had the lead. It’s really hard to describe Coutinho’s strike, so I won’t even try. Barça looked poised to score another goal and kill the game, but Sociedad managed to get more of the ball and go forward themselves, and the final minutes were quite nervous for Barça fans.
But in the 80th minute, Andrés Iniesta was called for a substitution, and the game was made irrelevant as the legend made one final walk to the touchline as a Barça player. With tears in his eyes, as players from both sides and the referee gave him their best wishes. The noise from the crowd was incredible, and it was as beautiful a moment as we thought it would be.
Back to the game, Barça did a very good job of keeping the ball as far away from their box as they could. Sociedad had no real chances, and the season ended in the most Valverde way possible: with a 1-0 win.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Mina, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta (Alcácer); Dembélé (Denis), Suárez, Coutinho (Messi)
Goal: Coutinho (57’)
Sociedad: Moyà; Elustondo (Odriozola), Navas, Llorente, De La Bella; Illarramendi, Zurutuza (Xabi Prieto); Januzaj (Canales), Juanmi, Oyarzabal; Willian José