Barcelona 2-0 Real Sociedad: Half of the job done
Full-time: Barcelona 2-0 Real Sociedad
Goals: Busquets (44′), Zubikarai (54′ own goal)
Match date: February 5, 2014
Stadium: Camp Nou
Competition: Copa del Rey
Barcelona line-up: Pinto, Jordi Alba, PiquĂ©, Mascherano, Daniel Alves, Busquets, Xavi, Fabregas, Alexis Sanchez, Lionel Messi, Pedro.
BarcelonaÂ didn’t brought in many changes ahead of this Copa del Rey semi-finals 1st leg match against Real Sociedad, as only Pinto came in to take Victor ValdĂ©s place in the goal. Other than that, the whole starting eleven was exactly the same as the one that has stepped on to the pitch in the weekend against Valencia.
The opening goal arrived close to the half-time break, in a corner kick on Barcelona‘s right attacking side, taken by team’s captain, Xavi Hernandez. The cross was met by Gerard PiquĂ© inside the heart of the box, but the former Manchester United defender only managed to deflect it backwards… Fortunately for the hosts, Pedro reached out to it and immediately sent it across the box, finding Sergio Busquets all alone in the far post. The Blaugrana defensive midfielder showed he also has a talent to finish off plays and struck the ball into the back of the net with his left foot.
Following Busquets‘ goal, Real Sociedad added another big upset to their list, after seeing IĂ±igo MartĂnez being sent off from the game and leaving the visitors with an herculean task of playing against BarĂ§a for an entire half with only 10 men on the pitch. Unsurprisingly, Barcelona managed to reach their second goal in the second half, but it happened in a quite bizarre way. Alexis SĂˇnchez saw his first shot going straight into the post and then the rebound falling off to Elustondo feet. The Real Sociedad player wasn’t exactly being pressured but seems to have panicked and rushed to clear the ball away, sending it straight to his own goalkeeper direction. The shot hit Zubikarai and went back past the goal line, sending Barcelona into a comfortable 2-goal lead.
Lionel Messi didn’t manage to have the influence he usual has in the team, but BarĂ§a finished the game with an important 2-0 win that may be crucial next week, when the two sides meet again for the Copa del Rey second leg. Neymar won’t be an option to help yet, as he’s still going through his injury recovery plan.