Barca stum­bles again at So­ciedad with 1-1 draw

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Barcelona failed to break its soc­cer curse at Real So­ciedad on Sun­day in a 1-1 draw in the Span­ish league, its sev­enth straight visit to Anoeta Sta­dium with­out a win.

Lionel Messi’s equal­izer could only sal­vage a point against a less tal­ented but more in­spired So­ciedad side that left the ti­tle­hold­ers six points be­hind leader Real Madrid.

So­ciedad dom­i­nated the match through­out, go­ing ahead through striker Wil­lian Jose af­ter half­time and com­ing close to get­ting the win when Car­los Vela hit the wood­work twice in the fi­nal min­utes.

Luis En­rique’s Barcelona must now pre­pare for Madrid’s visit next week­end in a “cla­sico” match that the Cata­lan club must win to keep in touch with its fierce ri­val.

Luis En­rique said that the draw was a “pos­i­tive” re­sult be­cause “we took a point from a match that it was prac­ti­cally im­pos­si­ble to take a point from.”

He said Barcelona was in­fe­rior in all ar­eas to So­ciedad. “So­ciedad was in­fin­itely superior to us, with the ball, with­out the ball, in ev­ery facet of the match,” Luis En­rique said. “This is the first time we were clearly in­fe­rior to an op­po­nent this sea­son.”

So­ciedad, coached by for­mer Barcelona player and re­serve team coach Euse­bio Sacristan, con­tin­ued its ex­cel­lent start to the sea­son. The draw ended its four-round win­ning streak as it re­mained in fifth place.

No ground- not Madrid’s San­ti­ago Bern­abeu, not Atletico Madrid’s Vi­cente Calderon, not Sevilla’s Sanchez Pizjuan- be­dev­ils Barcelona like Anoeta Sta­dium in San Se­bas­tian. It hasn’t won here since 2007, with a record since then of five losses and two draws.

Barcelona, a team that is syn­ony­mous with con­trol of the ball and pre­ci­sion of pass, was un­rec­og­niz­able.

So­ciedad’s pres­sure com­pletely un­nerved Barcelona, re­duc­ing a team of stars that was only miss­ing the in­jured An­dres Ini­esta into a jit­tery, er­ror-prone squad that couldn’t stop the steady stream of chances for the hosts. “You can rarely say this about Barcelona, but very lit­tle, ac­tu­ally noth­ing, went our way to­day,” Barcelona de­fender Ger­ard Pique said. “It was our at­ti­tude. We won’t win the league play­ing like this.”

So­ciedad’s David Zu­ru­tuza, Xabi Pri­eto, Vela and Inigo Martinez all threat­ened to score be­fore the half-hour mark, and So­ciedad gen­er­ated eight cor­ner kicks be­fore Barcelona even man­aged its first.

For all the verve So­ciedad showed go­ing for­ward, Barcelona’s trio of Messi, Ney­mar and Luis Suarez barely re­ceived the ball from their rat­tled team­mates.

The clos­est Barcelona came to mus­ter­ing a shot on goal be­fore half­time was Suarez’s des­per­ate long strike that flew wide when a loose ball fell to him. Ney­mar fi­nally forced goal­keeper Geron­imo Rulli into ac­tion to parry his free kick in the 50th.

But that was only a pre­lude to Wil­lian Jose’s header that Pique tried to clear from the goal line only to send it into the top of the net in the 53rd. Vela had linked up with Wil­lian Jose to draw a save from Marc-An­dre Ter Ste­gen, lead­ing to Wil­lian Jose’s header.

Messi lev­eled the match six min­utes later with his ninth goal of the cam­paign af­ter Ney­mar fi­nally broke down the left flank and squared the ball to the Ar­gentina for­ward to ri­fle in with his left foot.

But So­ciedad wasn’t shaken and went close sev­eral times to get­ting a se­cond goal. Vela hit the bar in the 76th- with the ball ric­o­chet­ing off the goal line- and struck the up­right in the 83rd.

“We de­served more,” Vela said. Barcelona’s se­cond draw in a row left it in se­cond place, level on points with Sevilla. Cata­lan tele­vi­sion re­ported that Ney­mar was in a mi­nor car ac­ci­dent in Barcelona be­fore he and the team trav­eled to San Se­bas­tian. He started the match and ap­peared un­af­fected by the in­ci­dent.


Diego Sime­one’s Atletico stopped its slide beIN SPORTS 2 HD beIN SPORTS 8 HD beIN SPORTS beIN SPORTS beIN SPORTS 6 HD beIN SPORTS 3 HD beIN SPORTS beIN SPORTS

down the ta­ble with a con­vinc­ing vic­tory to re­turn to the top four.

Goals by Diego Godin, Kevin Gameiro and Yan­nick Car­rasco came af­ter the for­mer pace­set­ter had stum­bled badly with losses to So­ciedad and Madrid.

Alaves got goals from Ibai Gomez and Vic­tor Ca­ma­rasa to pull off a sur­pris­ing 2-0 win at Vil­lar­real, which fell into sixth place. Celta Vigo striker Iago As­pas opened a 3-1 win that kept last-place Granada win­less. — AP

SAN SE­BAS­TIAN: Real So­ciedad’s de­fender Car­los Martinez (L) vies with Barcelona’s Brazil­ian for­ward Ney­mar da Silva San­tos Ju­nior dur­ing the Span­ish league foot­ball match Real So­ciedad vs FC Barcelona at the Anoeta sta­dium in San Se­bas­tian, on Sun­day. —AFP

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