05 February 2012

[Liga BBVA; Week22] Athletic Club 2 - 2 FC Barcelona 2 - 1 Real Sociedad F.S.S.

Barça overcame freezing temperatures and an injury to Busquets to beat Real Sociedad 2-1 at the Camp Nou tonight.

Barça prevailed over the difficulties that the weather and the Donosti team set them thanks to goals from Tello and Messi in each half in front of a 52.646 crowd who braved the Siberian temperatures at the Camp Nou. The negative for Guardiola's men was the injury to Busquets – just after he had come on in the second half.

The late goal for the visitors from Vela rounded off a game that Barça had begun with eight homegrown players and which served to put an end to a three game run of draws- two in the Cup and one in the league-and leave them still seven points behind Real Madrid in second place after the leaders beat Getafe earlier in the evening.

Messi and Ifrán both tested the keepers early on, but it was Barça- with Tello and Cuenca playing out wide and Dos Santos sitting in front of defence- who opened the scoring when on his debut, Tello got a subtle touch on 37 minutes to put away a great assist from Messi to beat Bravo in La Real goal.

Guardiola's team were ahead and dominating the match, but they were still missing a certain spark in the passing game that has characterised their best performances. Alves and Cesc both came close to making it two, but they both showed signs of the team's nervousness in front of goal and the narrow lead at half time was hardly a fair measure of the relative merits the two teams had shown so far.

Messi was again in the action after the break, but he looked to be out of luck, before he headed in an Alves cross on 72 minutes. Real Sociedad reacted quickly with a Vela goal just two minutes later to make it 2-1 with a quarter of an hour still left to play.

Guardiola now brought on Abidal and Busquets for Puyol and Dos Santos to try and close the game down, but the Catalan midfielder hardly lasted anytime whatsoever after banging into a la Real attacker on the edge of the box. After he was taken off to be replaced by Piqué, Barça took the sting out of the match and ran down the game to take the three points that keeps them seven behind the leaders. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

[Match Data]
Barcelona Valdés; Alves, Puyol (Abidal, m.76), Mascherano, Adriano; Dos Santos (Busquets, m.76 (Piqué, m.82), Thiago, Cesc; Tello, Messi and Cuenca.

Real Sociedad Bravo; Carlos Martínez, Mikel González, Iñigo Martínez, Cadamuro; Aranburu, Markel, Rubén Pardo (Llorente, m.78); Xabi Prieto (Aguirretxe, m.83), Griezmann; and Ifrán (Vela, m.58).

Goal: 1-0. M.9: Tello. 2-0, m.72: Messi. 2-1, m.74: Vela.

Referee: Clos Gomez (Committee Aragonés). He showed yellow card to Iñigo Martínez (m.34) and Llorente (m.88).

Incidents: 52,646 spectators attended the match in game for the twenty-second day match at the Camp Nou. They observed a minute's silence in memory of victims of Port Said (Egypt).