Friday, September 15, 2023

Barcelona edge past Sociedad in close encounter

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Barcelona put in a solid display to defeat Real Sociedad to move into the Spanish Super Cup final. They’ll be facing the winner of the tie between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao.

Barca were struck by lightning when Leo Messi picked up an injury and it’s still in doubt whether he will able to play in the final or not. Barca started in a 4-3-3 shape which Ronald Koeman had changed to in recent weeks. Martin Braithwaite started on the left, with Ousmane Dembele on the right and fellow Frenchman Griezmann through the middle. Real Sociedad linedup in a similar 4-3-3 with star man Mikel Oyarzabal returning to the lineup.

The first chance fell to La Real as they countered Barca but Ter Stegen was quickly off his line to deny Swedish international Alexander Isak. Martin Braithwaite got two chances within 2 minutes, one he skied and the other was well saved by Sociedad’s keeper Remiro. The breakthrough eventually came in the 39th minute when Antoine Griezmann found Frenkie De Jong with a lovely dink and the Dutch midfielder buried the header.


De Jong who had recently said that he is enjoying playing in an offensive role at Barcelona gave another example of why he should be attacking more and is continuing to set very high standards for himself. La Real started the second half with great intent and were rewarded when Mikel Merino’s cross hit De Jong on the arm and a penalty was awarded. The penalty was dispatched confidently by Oyarzabal to bring his team back into the tie. Barca continued to attack till the end of extra time and it was time for penalties.

CORDOBA, SPAIN – JANUARY 13: Mikel Oyarzabal of Real Sociedad shoots a penalty during the Supercopa de Espana Semi Final match between Real Sociedad and Barca at Estadio Nuevo Arcangel on January 13, 2021 in Cordoba, Spain. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)

La Real started the shootout and penalty specialist Jon Bautista surprisingly missed his spot kick. Barcelona’s first taker Frenkie De Jong hit the post while Oyarzabal who had scored the previous penalty, missed this one as Ter Stegen made a fine save. Next Ousmane Dembele sent the keeper the wrong way to score while Willian Jose the veteran Brazilian hit the post. Miralem Pjanic then stepped up for the Catalans and coolly placed his penalty to give Barca further the lead.

Riqui Puig for FC Barcelona

Real Sociedad finally scored as Mikel Merino thrashed in his spot kick. Antoine Griezmann would have liked to cap off an excellent showing with a goal but he shot his penalty over the bar. Adnan Januzaj then stepped up to bring La Real onto level terms. Riqui Puig took the last penalty and to the joy of all Barca fans in the world, dispatched the spot kick to send Barca into the finals.

Now the main thing is to see whether Leo Messi will be fit in time for the final. If not it might be a major blow for Barcelona who are looking for silverware early in the year.