After the Europa League exit against Frankfurt and the defeat against Cadiz, Barcelona scored an important victory in San Sebastian. Against initially sloppy hosts, an early lead and then a concentrated defensive performance were enough.
Compared to the disappointing 0:1 against Cadiz, Xavi brought in four newcomers: Dani Alves, Araujo, Piqué (returning from an adductor injury) and Aubameyang replaced Dest, Garcia, Lenglet and Depay, who all took their place on the bench.
The Blaugrana’s performance was much better than against Cadiz on Monday – also because San Sebastian defended sloppily and gave the visitors plenty of space to combine. Barça did not ask twice and took an early lead after a first warning shot by de Jong (7th): Dembelé first failed to hit the post, but Aubameyang nodded the rebound, which Ferran Torres again sharpened, into the net from close range (11th). Alex Remiro was forced to make his first save after seven league home games without conceding a goal.
With the goal behind them, Barcelona slowed down and at times allowed Real Sociedad to come forward, struggling against a tight defence – Dani Alves, for example, often pushed into the centre to constrict space. Barça kept the pressure on with half chances (Ferran Torres, 16th, de Jong, 29th) before Sörloth marked the hosts’ first shot on goal (35th).
Isak and Sörloth miss equaliser
Before the break, Ferran Torres (39th) and Aubameyang (40th) both missed narrowly as San Sebastian found their feet. After an interplay with Sörloth, Isak had the first big chance for the home side on his feet, but almost missed miserably (44th).
Interruption after glass bottle throw
After the break Real Sociedad had the first good chance, this time Sörloth gave away the equaliser (47th). Then referee Carlos del Cerro Grande stopped the game for several minutes after a glass bottle was thrown on the field, but continued the game after consultation with the officials.
The second half did not go well for Barça: centre-back Araujo had to go off injured after 55 minutes, Dani Alves followed him eleven minutes later due to injury. Piqué, who had already signalled problems with his adductors several times in the first half, held out. But the visitors lost more and more control of the game and Real Sociedad had to worry about wasting chances by Sörloth (59th) and Januzaj (70th).
On the other side, Gavi missed just as carelessly (73rd), before it went into the final phase, in which Barça was particularly concerned about the defence. Real Sociedad only managed to score through Zaldua, and in the ten minutes of injury time nothing really worked – also because the visitors defended resolutely and with concentration.
Barça are back in action on Sunday (9 p.m.) – in a make-up game against Rayo Vallecano. Rayo then host San Sebastian on the following Sunday (18.30).