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Marcador del partit

  • Date: Saturday, 05 May
  • Competition: ???label.competicio0???
  • Stadium: Anoeta, San Sebastián


  • R.Sociedad: 0
  • FC Barcelona: 2

Match report

Match Report


0-1 Iniesta (min. 47)
0-2 Eto'o (min.87)

The leaders march on (0-2)

Jordi Clos

Goals from Iniesta and Eto'o sealed a deserved win for Barça in Anoeta. The win means that whatever happens this weekend, FC Barcelona will stay on top of the league.

Real Sociedad allowed Barça to dominate the possession right from the start, and Barça used that to their advantage, with Xavi Hernández hitting the back of the home net early on in the game, tapping in a Gio strike, only to see his effort ruled out for offside by match official Teixera Vitienes.

Pressure from Real

But despite firing that early warning, Rijkaard’s side struggled to get into their rhythm against some intense defending from the Real Sociedad back four. In the first twenty minutes, Barça’s best chance came from a quick counter attack that ended with an Eto’o drive being delivered straight into the hands of Real keeper Bravo. The Cameroonian was playing further out on the left than usual, offering Ronaldinho the chance for more freedom of movement in the centre.

Xavi again

Xavi came close to scoring in the 28th minute when he latched onto a tremendous Ronaldinho assist, but Bravo was at hand once again to keep things scoreless. Real did create a few moments of difficulty at the back for Barça, with Savio, as expected, making some penetrating runs from the left before trying to pick out Kovacevic’s head, but invariably saw his attempts intercepted by the solid defensive duo of Thuram and Puyol.

No score at the break

But most of the half was one-way traffic towards Bravo’s goal, with Iniesta surprising all in the 32nd minute with a quickly taken corner, and his shot from the edge of the area once again brought out the best in Bravo. So, Barça had failed to turn any of that pressure into goals, and the score at half time was the same as when the game had started.

Frenetic restart

FC Barcelona could not afford to let things stay like that much longer, and the second half could not have got off to a better start. Two minutes from the restart, another fantastic assist from Ronaldinho found Iniesta who dribbled around the keeper to slot home Barça’s first. Real were stunned by the goal, and almost went two down when Messi slalomed the ball around the home defence, but narrowly missed the target with the ensuing shot. Real immediately responded with a Savio chance that found the side netting, but that warning merely served to fire Barça up even more and Eto’o very nearly made it two for the visitors with an impressive strike that struck Bravo’s body in the 55th minute.

A professional display

Such a dizzy pace could never last for a whole 45 minutes, and the rest of the game was played a far more sedate rhythm. Barça professionally neutralised anything Real tried to throw their way, while creating plenty of danger of their own, with some terrific distribution by Ronaldinho being one of the main reasons. With a quarter of an hour left, Lotina sent forward Estrado on for Xabi Prieto as the Basque side opted to go all out in search of a valuable point. But having surrendered much of their defensive unity in doing so, they were leaving themselves open to much more threat from a Barça forward line that suddenly found itself with far more space in which to manoeuvre.

Eto'o settles affairs

A Savio strike from the edge of the area suggested the gamble may be about to pay off for Real, but immediately after Ronaldinho produced another masterstroke, threading a delightful pass to the incoming Eto'o who made no mistake against Bravo to secure the three points in the 87th minute.

The 2-0 win very much puts Barcelona in the driving seat in La Liga, and with Sevilla and Madrid about to play each other on Sunday, this win at Real Sociedad means they are on better course than ever for a third consecutive league championship title.


The referee

Fernando Teixera Vitienes will be the referee for the encounter. The matchday official comes from the Cántabro area and has taken charge of 13 top flight games already this term, but this will be the first time overseeing Barça. With him in the middle there have been five wins for the home team, four draws and five away victories.

Another final

Sergi Nogueras

FC Barcelona take on Real Sociedad in Anoeta on Saturday evening in what as being described as final. With the title race so open this season, the last six games for all the teams chasing the top spot are bound to be intense.

Frank Rijkaard's side know that only three points will do as they look to hold off the challenge of their rivals for the championship, in what will be an enticing outing against la Real (20:00, Barça TV). Victory would give the Blaugrana an even greater cushion and could see them lose one of the pursuers, if not both. On Sunday Real Madrid host Sevilla and only one side can take three points, but if Barça win and the game in the Bernabéu ends in a draw then a third consecutive title will be even closer to Camp Nou. Real Sociedad also have their reasons for requiring maximum points as they are desperate to jump clear of the relegation zone, making the action at both ends of the table tense and exciting. The moment of truth has finally arrived with only five games left after this weekend.

Motta and Edmílson: The Brazilian-born duo have both been given the green light to return to the squad and Rijkaard is set to name one of them in a midfield trio behind Xavi and Andrés Iniesta. Motta and Edmílson's comeback eases the loss of Deco, who picked up an ankle injury in training on Thursday, and Rafael Márquez, who is still out of action having missed last weekend's win over Levante. The other absentees are Iuliano Belletti, who has returned to training, but not been declared fully fit, and Santiago Ezquerro, who has been rested.

messi_x1x.jpgLionel Messi: Rijkaard can also count on the services of Messi after the young Argentinian bounced back after missing training earlier in the week. A personalised schedule saw him receive the correct treatment and he will be in line to start in Anoeta. Last weekend, Messi received some hefty blows against Levante as he was pinpointed as the man that the opposition wanted to stop, but he should not be given such rough treatment on Saturday by Real Sociedad.

Kovacevic.JPGExperience and youth: Barça take on a Real Sociedad side containin a mixture of youth and experience. Up front the San Sebastian-based outfit have great experience in the form of Darko Kovacevic and Savio. The Serbian striker, 33, is in his second spell at the club after joining in 1996 before enjoying brief spells with Juventus and Lazio and then returning again. The Brazilian, also 33, is a veteran of the Spanish league having previously played for Real Madrid and Real Zaragoza. His speed and power with his left foot will mean that Barça will have to keep an eye on him. The youth ful side of the team is represented by Javier Garrido and Mikel González, both 21, and Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, 24, who has made himself the number one choice at the club since the seventh weekend of the season.

La Real in Anoeta: The Txuri-urdin had one of the worst records in the league until recently. Coach Miguel Ángel Lotina has overseen three wins in the team's last five games to give the club a renewed hope of mouting a survivial bid. La Real have also won their last three home matches, beating Mallorca Levante and Atlético de Madrid. These nine points have helped the team move to within three points of safety.

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