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January 19, 2013
• Estadio Municipal de Anoeta, Donostia-San Sebastián
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco
• Attendance: 28855
G. Castro 41', 63'
L. Messi 7'
That's all from me for tonight guys and girls, I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did! Good night.
So, Barcelona's unbeaten run comes to an abrupt end at La Anoeta! Huge credit to Real Sociedad for that fight-back.
FULL-TIME: REAL SOCIEDAD 3-2 BARCELONA The home side inflicted Barcelona's first loss of the league season courtesy of a marvellous comeback after going 2-0 down to goals from Messi and Pedro in the first half. Castro scored just before the break to make it 2-1, before a Mascherano own goal and an Agirretxe strike in the dying seconds sealed the victory! Barca also had Pique sent off in the second half for two bookable offences.
90' + 4'
And there's the final whistle!
90' + 3'
What a cross that was from Carlos Martinez to set up the substitute Agirretxe!
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Antoine Griezmann
90' + 1'
Assist Carlos Martínez Díez
90' + 1'
Goal Imanol Agirretxe
GOALLLL!!!!! REAL SOCIEDAD HAVE DONE IT!! What a comeback! Imanol Agirretxe is the man who gets the goal, getting in between Mascherano and Puyol to connect with the cross from the right and poke the ball past Valdes. 3-2 the score now!
The home side launch a quick counter through Ifran, but his eventual pass towards Pardo fails to find his team-mate and Mascherano is able to step in front of the substitute and head the ball upfield.
Horrible cross from Alves! The Brazilian fails to put the ball within 10 yards of any of his team-mates with his pass from the right-hand side. Ouch.
Barcelona are camped on the edge of the Sociedad penalty area as they search for a winner. This match is on a knife-edge.
Alba controls the ball well on the left to pluck Xavi's pass from the sky, but Sociedad's defence is organised and they shepherd the left-back away from goal.
LUCKY BOY!! The referee lets Iniesta off with a warning for the foul, when that could easily have been a second yellow card. The midfielder knew what he was doing as he blocked the Sociedad attacker on the halfway line!
Iniesta could be off here... He's fouled Vela and he's already on a yellow card...
Barcelona have another free kick, and this time they do cross it. A firm header from Inigo Martinez averts the danger though, as Sociedad stand firm once more.
Great tackle from Mascherano! The Barca defender dispossesses Pardo on the right with a divine intervention. Top defensive play from the Argentine.
Yellow Card Asier Illarramendi
Sociedad are making another change, as the captain Xabi Prieto is replaced by Ruben Pardo.
Some more masterful dribbling from Iniesta nearly fashions a chance for Barcelona but Gonzalez clears the ball well. Sociedad have really sorted themselves out at the back now after a torrid opening to this game.
IFRAN'S TOUCH LETS HIM DOWN! The Sociedad sub has an opportunity to shoot with Valdes on the floor but his touch to set himself is poor and the ball runs away from him on the edge of the Barcelona penalty area. That was a big chance for the home side!
Yellow Card Busquets
You know what, Busquets could have followed Pique off the pitch there! The midfielder lunged in two-footed to a challenge in the centre circle, and though he did win the ball, that looked very dangerous. The referee shows only a yellow card though.
TOO AMBITIOUS FROM MESSI? The attacker has a go from the free kick but his effort flies over the bar. I think that was too far out, he should really have crossed to a team-mate there.
The game seems to have calmed down a notch in the last few minutes, and Barcelona now have a free kick 40 yards from the Sociedad goal.
After checking with both goalkeepers the referee restarts play though, which I'm glad about as I don't want this match to end! It has been a great watch so far.
There appears to be some more floodlight failure here, and again there is a brief stop in play.
STAT: Barcelona have so far picked up 55 from a possible 57 points in La Liga this season. The only time they have dropped points was against Real Madrid.
Real Sociedad are on top here! Will they go on to cause a huge upset and win this game against 10-man Barcelona? Let me know your predictions in the comments box and on Twitter at @charliefscott.
Assist Asier Illarramendi
Goal Chory Castro
The Frenchman then has another chance, but his close-range shot is blocked brilliantly by Puyol. That was a crucial intervention from the Barca captain!
Diego Buonanotte scored a pearler of a free kick for Malaga against Barcelona last week, but sadly we don't see a repeat of that goal here, as Griezmann fires wide from the set piece.
Yellow Card Iniesta
Sociedad have a finely-positioned free kick 25 yards from goal after Iniesta catches Castro in full flight. The Barca man is booked for his troubles too.
Well that certainly livens things up a bit! Not that the game needed it, it's been end-to-end stuff anyway!
PIQUE IS OFF!! Barcelona are down to 10 men here after the centre-back picks up a second yellow card for a block on Vela. How foolish does his first yellow for not retreating 10 yards for a free kick in the first half look now??
Fabregas wins a corner for Barcelona after a driving run down the right, but Vilanova's side fail to work Bravo from the set piece as it is hooked away by Prieto.
Hang on a second, what is Mikel Gonzalez doing chasing down a back-pass to Valdes?? The Sociedad centre-back is the furthest man forward as he hassles the Barcelona goalkeeper, after exchanging passes with Griezmann on the right but failing to get on to the return ball.
VELA SHANKS A SHOT WIDE! The Sociedad frontman should be testing Valdes after finding space just outside the Barca box... but instead he fires high and wide of goal. That was not pretty from the Mexican.
Oh, Iniesta, just stop it... The magical midfielder somehow keeps the ball away from Griezmann and Carlos Martinez on the near side, nutmegging the latter of the two Sociedad players on his way down the left wing.
OOOOOOO, VELA IS CAUGHT JUST OFFSIDE! The former Arsenal man's right shoulder drifts into an offside position and the linesman rightly flags. If he had held his run just slightly he would have been through on goal there!
No changes to report for either team at half-time, by the way.
We are back underway here at La Anoeta! Fingers crossed we get a half as full of chances as we saw before the break.
Let me know what you think about #messicastroshirtgate in the comments box on the right of this commentary, or on Twitter @charliefscott.
Messi swapped shirts with Chory Castro as the players left the field at the end of that half. I'm not sure how I feel about that to be honest. Should Castro be doing that? I would bloody love a Messi shirt, mind.
Join me in 10 minutes for the second half of this exciting Liga clash!
HALF-TIME: REAL SOCIEDAD 1-2 BARCELONA The visitors raced into a two-goal lead courtesy of finishes from Lionel Messi and Pedro, before Chory Castro reduced the deficit shortly before the break! Barcelona have looked superb going forward, but continue to appear shaky in defence, as was evident when Castro fired a shot past Valdes to make it 2-1 in the 41st minute.
45' + 1'
The referee blows his whistle to mark the end of a thoroughly enjoyable first half here at La Anoeta!
AND NOW A SMART STOP UP THE OTHER END FROM BRAVO!! The Sociedad goalkeeper stands firm at his near post to keep Messi's well-struck left-footed volley out, after he had been found on the left by a sumptuous chipped pass from Xavi.
GOOD STOP FROM VALDES!! Castro is presented with a near carbon-copy chance of the one he scored from, but this time Valdes is an equal match to his shot and parries the ball to safety.
That was a fine goal from Chory Castro to make it 2-1! And now Sociedad are on the attack again!
Assist Carlos Vela
Goal Chory Castro
SOCIEDAD PULL ONE BACK THROUGH CASTRO!! The striker reduces the arrears with a finely-taken strike into the bottom right corner after latching on to Vela's cushioned pass. Game on?
MESSI HITS THE POST!! Barcelona strike the woodwork for the second time in the game as the Argentine lifts a shot over Bravo as he rushes from his line. The ball then looks to be rolling over the line but Mikel Gonzalez dashes back to clear the ball away.
A good header away by I. Martinez stops Puyol from connecting with Xavi's corner, as Sociedad clear their lines well.
Another corner for Barca. Will they score a third before half-time??
Yellow Card Íñigo Martínez
And now Inigo Martinez is in the book too! The youngster follows Pique into the referee's little black book after hacking at the legs of Messi on the halfway line.
Carlos Martinez has the ball in the net for Sociedad but is disallowed!! The defender lashes home a half-volley from 10 yards after a free kick is hurled into the Barca box, but the linesman on the far side has his flag up after Griezmann was offside in the build-up to Martinez's strike.
Yellow Card Piqué
That's a silly booking for Pique! The centre-back is shown a yellow card for failing to retreat the full 10 yards away from a Sociedad free kick on the left.
Easy for Valdes. The Barca goalkeeper gathers the ball comfortably low to his left after Griezmann sends a speculative effort goalwards from a very acute angle on the right-hand side of the Barca box.
This is as good as I've seen Barcelona in an opponent's half this season, excuse me if I'm having too much of a Catalan love-in, but they have looked fantastic in this opening half an hour!
Sociedad are able to win a goal kick from the set piece though, as the ball crashes off Puyol and goes behind.
Alves is motoring on the right for the visitors, after setting up that second goal he has just won a corner for his side after sending a dangerous cross into the Sociedad box from the byline.
Barca's first goal was due in part to a defensive error but Sociedad could do little about the Blaugrana's second, it was an irresistibly-worked move that led to Pedro's finish.
Assist Daniel Alves
GOALLLL!!! PEDRO DOUBLES BARCELONA'S LEAD! A brilliantly crafted move from Barca is finished confidently by the Masia graduate! Dani Alves did very well down the right to control Xavi's pass on his instep inside the box before cutting the ball back to Pedro, who smashed the ball home from close range.
STAT: Barcelona have hit the woodwork 19 times in all competitions this season, the latest of which was Pedro's thunderous effort a few minutes ago.
Dani Alves is penalised for a push on Alberto De La Bella high on the right-hand side, and Sociedad are awarded a free kick just as Barcelona looked set to carve out another chance.
*Apparently* that brief break in play was due to momentary floodlight problems at La Anoeta. So that's why Barcelona are wearing their bright orange kit!
There's a break in play here for a reason that isn't clear... The referee has now restarted play with a drop-ball in the centre of the pitch. That was odd!
DECENT PLAY FROM GRIEZMANN! Sociedad's France U21 international goes it alone inside the Barca box, twisting past two challenges before firing a shot towards the bottom right corner that Valdes gets down well to stop.
Barcelona are looking really really good going forward in this first half. Sociedad's defence cannot live with them at the moment, and they are not helping themselves by being sloppy in possession either.
PEDRO STRIKES THE POST!! The home team are fortunate to see the ball cannon back off the post after Inigo Martinez loses the ball to Pedro, who then curls a delicious shot onto the right-hand post. What an effort!
It's been a nice opening 13 minutes here at La Anoeta, long may it continue!
Xabi Prieto shoots into the side netting for Sociedad!! A well-worked set piece from Vela finds Prieto inside the Barca box but he can only send an effort wide of the left-hand post under pressure from Puyol. Great play from the home side!
MESSI RECORD: Lionel has now scored in 10 consecutive games thanks to that seventh minute strike, which is both a new personal, and club, record. Well done indeed!
Well that didn't take long did it? Messi with 29 Liga goals for the season now. An outrageous figure.
Goal Lionel Messi
WELL THAT MAKES AMENDS FOR HIS EARLIER MISS! MESSI SCORES! The Ballon d'Or winner gives Barcelona a 1-0 lead with a superb stroked finish from 18 yards after a weak goal kick from Bravo had gifted the Catalan side possession.
MESSI SHOOTS WIDE!!! The Argentine has a chance to add to his league tally of 28 early on but drags his effort wide after racing through one-on-one with Claudio Bravo. You would have backed him to score there!
Barcelona need Gerard Pique to canter over to the left and dispossess Carlos Vela as the Sociedad attacker looks to burst into the penalty area after riding a challenge from Carlos Puyol. Classy defending there from Pique, as we have come to expect.
That's what Barcelona's kit reminds me of! A Tequila Sunrise cocktail. Agree or disagree? Let me know on Twitter @charliefscott.
And there's an early chance for the home side! Victor Valdes is able to watch the ball fly harmlessly wide though, as Asier Illaramendi's shot from distance is off target.
Off we go! Sociedad get the ball rolling here...
The teams are in the tunnel at La Anoeta, Barcelona in their shocking orange away kit. Lionel Messi is being given a shoulder massage by one of the Barca coaches as we edge closer to kick-off.
Subs: Pinto, Mascherano, Adriano, Song, Thiago, Alexis, Tello
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Pique, Puyol, Alba; Busquets, Fabregas, Xavi; Pedro, Messi, Iniesta
Subs: Zubikarai, Elustondo, Agirretxe, Ruben Pardo, Jose Angel, Ifran, Estrada
Real Sociedad (4-2-3-1): Bravo; C. Martinez, Mikel, I. Martinez, De la Bella; Markel, Illarramendi; Griezmann, Xabi Prieto, Vela; Chory Castro
'Where are the line-ups you cry?', you cry. Right here is where they are:
Barcelona go in search of their 19th victory of the 2012-13 league campaign this evening, in what is only their 20th match! Ninth-placed Real Sociedad, meanwhile, are looking to bounce back from their disappointing 1-1 draw with bottom of the table Deportivo la Coruna last weekend.
Good late afternoon/early evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of Barcelona's Liga trip to Real Sociedad. My name is Charlie Scott and I will be on duty for the next couple of hours, bringing you minute-by-minute updates from the game as it unravels at Estadio Anoeta.
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