FC Barcelona scraped out a 3-2 win over Real Sociedad at home on Saturday for a vital, if not convincing, three points.
Last week, Barcelona went down 2-0 to Málaga in a league game which could have put them level on points with Real Madrid. Midweek, there was the 3-0 defeat in the Champions League to Juventus. So after the last two results, it wouldn’t be much exaggeration to say the mood among Barcelona supporters was dire, rapidly edging towards apocalyptic.
A win is a win, especially 32 weeks into the league, but this result won’t (and shouldn’t) inspire much confidence for the challenges ahead.
Although fans in the Camp Nou sang “we believe, we believe,” at the end of the match, it’s hard to imagine Barcelona overturning a three goal deficit in the return leg against Juventus on their current form. It’s also difficult to picture them getting three points against Real Madrid next weekend.
However, all the team could reasonably do yesterday was get a win.
As Luis Enrique reminded the press before the game, “I have no doubt that we can turn the Juventus result around. But first we must beat Real Sociedad.” And they did that, despite how nervy it was to get through the 90 minutes.
Barcelona started the match with four changes in the lineup from the side that faced Juventus. Marc-André ter Stegen was in goal, behind a back four of Jordi Alba, Gerard Piqué, Samuel Umtiti, and Sergi Roberto. The starting 11 was rounded out by Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitić, André Gomes, Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, and Paco Alcácer.
Real Sociedad, who are currently seventh in the league table and came away with a draw during the season’s first meeting with Barcelona, lined up this way:
Lionel Messi vs Real Sociedad… ?
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) April 16, 2017
— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) April 15, 2017