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Deportivo La Coruña
September 24, 2013
• Camp Nou, Barcelona
Referee: Jesús Gil
• Attendance: 70066
L. Messi 8'
De La Bella 64'
That's all from me for tonight guy and girls. It's been a pleasure as always. Good bye!
FULL-TIME: BARCELONA 4-1 REAL SOCIEDAD The hosts go three points clear at the top for the time being thanks to an emphatic win against Sociedad at Camp Nou. The Catalan giants could well have scored seven or eight against inexperienced opposition, as Arrasate made seven changes to his side. Neymar, Messi and Bartra scored from close range, while Busquets scored the pick of the bunch with a well-taken half volley in the 23rd minute. De La Bella pulled a goal back late on for the visitors but it was too little, too late, as Barca ran out easy winners.
90' + 2'
And there is the final whistle, moments after Alexis strikes the crossbar with an athletic volley! Barcelona have run out comfortable 4-1 winners at Camp Nou.
90' + 1'
Pique strides forward with the ball and tries to curl a shot into the bottom corner from 18 yards that Bravo reads quite comfortably and parries away from danger.
Two minutes of added time here...
The tempo of the game has dipped somewhat in the final 10 minutes at Camp Nou as both sides appear to be waiting for the referee's final whistle.
Sangalli goes down clutching both legs after bursting forward on the left. The inexperienced midfielder appears to have cramp in his left and right leg – that looks torturous. It's a shame as he had a lot of space to run into there.
Barcelona look set to make it six wins from their first six games of this Liga season – a feat they have only managed on five previous occasions.
PEDRO WHIPS A SHOT JUST WIDE!! More lovely play from Barcelona! Sanchez, Xavi and Sergi Roberto link up well, and the ball finds its way to Pedro on the left side of the box. He opens up his body and tries to guide a shot into the top right corner with his right foot but gets slightly underneath the ball and it flies just the wrong side of the post.
Off goes Messi with just under 10 minutes remaining. The talismanic Argentine is replaced by Sergi Roberto, the 21-year-old is making his 15th senior appearance for the Catalan giants.
Sociedad threaten down the right through Sangalli and Seferovic, before Agirretxe nods the ball high over the bar from the Swiss forward's eventual cross.
BARTRA ADDS A FOURTH FOR BARCA!! The young centre-back roams forward from defence and finds himself in the Sociedad box, where he is in the right place at the right time to connect with Messi's fierce cutback and flick the ball into the far corner.
Assist Lionel Messi
And that ladies and gentlemen, is what football is all about. Alves has just helped Griezmann tie his shoelaces.
Neymar goes off to a smattering of applause from the Barca fans. He is replaced by the standout performer from their 4-0 win at the weekend, Pedro.
Griezmann nicks the ball from Iniesta on the halfway line and embarks on a blistering run towards the Barca goal before firing a swirling left foot shot at goal. Valdes is equal to it though, as he parries the ball before catching it.
Sanchez nods a Xavi corner a yard or so wide as Barca go in search of a fourth goal at Camp Nou.
Busquets slides a pass to Iniesta and for a moment there appears to be a clear route to goal for the Spaniard, but then suddenly three Sociedad defenders descend on him and collectively steal possession.
Sociedad have proved a threat going forward since De La Bella pulled a goal back, and Griezmann has just drawn another decent stop from Valdes low to the goalkeeper's left.
Goal Alberto De la Bella
SOCIEDAD MAKE IT 3-1! Agirretxe produces a sublime piece of control to take the ball down inside the box and leave Pique for dead before prodding a cross into the path of De La Bella, who is left with the simplest of finishes at the back post from five yards with Valdes drawn out of position.
Assist Imanol Agirretxe
STAT: Sociedad have not won at Camp Nou since 1990/91, when they beat the 'Dream Team', 3-1, after Barcelona had already secured the title.
Xavi springs the offside track with a super run and once inside the box chips a cross towards Neymar at the back post that the Brazilian is inches away from connecting with.
Sanchez blasts a shot over from 15 yards under pressure from De La Bella. The Sociedad left-back did well to put the Chilean off there as that could have quite easily been 4-0.
Just as I was about to praise Cadamuro for dispossing Neymar he plays a needless backheel straight into the path of Iniesta. Sociedad are not helping themselves here.
Yellow Card Imanol Agirretxe
Barcelona's front three combine to good effect! Alexis sprints forward down the right before shifting it inside to Messi. The iconic No.10 carries the ball 15 yards at full speed before feeding it into the slipstream of Neymar, who takes one touch before curling a sidefoot shot towards the near post that is patted away by Bravo.
ANOTHER CHANCE FOR MESSI! The Argentine drifts past another series of lacklustre Sociedad attempts to dispossess him but with the goal seemingly at his mercy he fired a shot high over the crossbar.
MESSI FORCES A SAVE FROM BRAVO! The talismanic forward holds off two challenges with his back to goal before spinning and flashing a shot towards the bottom left corner that Bravo does brilliantly to keep out.
Quick interplay from Barcelona on the edge of the Sociedad box results in a snapshot effort from Messi that is pushed away by Bravo. The Argentine tries to get on the rebound but Martinez dives in front of him to smash the ball behind for a corner.
Cadamuro has been shifted out to fill in at right-back with Estrada off the pitch, and Ansotegui slots in alongside Martinez at centre-back.
The away side have made a change at the break, their second of the evening. Jon Ansotegui has replaced Estrada, which is not that surprising, the right-back had a torrid time in the first 45 minutes.
We are back underway at Camp Nou for the second half of this Liga clash...
Join me in 10 minutes for the second half!
HALF-TIME: BARCELONA 72%-28% SOCIEDAD or BARCELONA 3-0 SOCIEDAD. The hosts have been mesmerising in the first half at Camp Nou after a shaky start to the game. Seferovic came close to putting the visitors 1-0 up in the second minute when he hit the bar with a long-range effort, but since then it has been all about Barcelona. Neymar walked the ball past Bravo in the fifth minute, before Messi added a second with a close-range header. Busquets then scored the pick of the bunch so far with a well-taken half volley after Sociedad failed to clear midway through the half. Since that third goal Barca have been rampant, and could easily have added two or three more before the break.
45' + 1'
And there is the half-time whistle. Barcelona go off to a standing ovation at the break!
The referee adds one minute of stoppage time at the end of this half.
STRONG STOP FROM VALDES! The Barcelona goalkeeper is called into action by Antoine Griezmann, the young Frenchman prodding the ball out of his feet 25 yards from goal and then striking a sweet effort towards the back of the net that Valdes does well to keep out.
GREAT DEFENDING FROM CADAMURO! The Sociedad centre-back throws his body in front of Messi's shot from six yards to stop it finding the back of the net. The ball bobbles up nicely for Bravo, who flings himself on it to avert the danger.
NEYMAR FLASHES AN EFFORT OVER! The former Santos man sprints through one-on-one with Bravo but his firm strike flies a yard of so over the crossbar. No fourth goal for Barcelona, yet.
Busquets is pulled back by Anon, and Barcelona have another free kick. The away side just cannot get near Martino's team at the moment.
SENSATIONAL PLAY FROM THE HOSTS! Messi, Neymar and Iniesta are tormenting Sociedad's defnece as the game edges towards half-time. A 20-second spell of pass-and-move football on the left side of the Sociedad box just had Martinez, Estrada and Cadamuro completely bewitched.
Mascherano will no play no further part in the match this evening as he trudges off to be replaced by Marc Bartra. The Argentine had been struggling after clashing with Busquets in the second minute of the game and it seemed Martino saw no point in risking aggravating the knock he sustained.
CARNIVALESQUE STUFF FROM BARCA! Alves scores with his chest from close range after Messi found Alexis on the right side of the penalty area with Sociedad's defence nowhere to be seen and he whipped a cross on to the sternum of his Brazilian teammate. The goal is chalked off though, as Alves was in an offside position when he received the pass.
THE REF NEARLY GETS AN ASSIST! Messi flicks a cross towards Alexis but the ball catches the ref's backside on the way. The Chile international reacts quickly to change direction though, and does well to curl a shot at goal that is tipped away by Bravo.
STAT: Happy Birthday Camp Nou! The stadium, which has seen so many brilliant performances over the years, not least from this current crop of Barca stars, celebrates its 56th birthday today.
Estrada crashes into Neymar on the right-hand side and Barcelona have a free kick. The Brazil international has sparkled on that side in the first half.
Some tidy defending from Pique snuffs out a Sociedad attack before it really gets going, as he nicks the ball from the substitute Agirretxe about 35 yards from Victor Valdes' goal.
The Catalan giants are peppering the Sociedad penalty area as the visitors struggle to string any kind of passing move together. The possession aficionados among you will be happy to hear that Barcelona have had 68 per cent possession in the first half...
Barcelona are running riot here! A depleted Sociedad side are really struggling against Martino's men in this first half and it looks as if there could be a few more goals left in this one.
BUSQUETS HAMMERS IN THE REBOUND FROM 20 YARDS!! The elegant midfielder scores a rare goal for the hosts with a finely-taken effort from just outside the box. After flicking the ball up with the outside of his right foot he volleyed a firm effort with his left foot into the bottom right corner. Fabulous technique from the Spain international!
HOW HAS THAT NOT GONE IN?? Alexis controls the ball superbly inside the Sociedad box and eventually finds Messi. The Argentine has a neat flick saved from close range by Bravo before firing one against the crossbar.
Sociedad's miserable start to the evening continues as their captain departs to be replaced by Agirretxe. Arrasate is not taking any risks with his influential midfielder.
Xabi Prieto is down clutching his right leg in the centre circle. That is one of the last things his side need.
Barca move the ball sweetly to Alves, who is overlapping on the right like only he knows how to, and he tries to curl a cross between Martinez and Bravo that is hacked away by the centre-back.
Neymar is not getting much joy from the officials at the moment. For the second time in quick succession he is flagged offside when the Sociedad left-back Alberto De La Bella was playing him onside on both occasions.
DAUNTING STAT: Sociedad have lost on each of their last 15 visits to Camp Nou.
Xavi has the ball in the net with a delightful finish but the goal does not account due to the linesman on the near side incorrectly thinking Neymar was offside in the build-up. I'm sure Barca don't mind too much.
A high-octane start over in Spain! I would not have thought Barcelona would be two goals to the good after the opening couple of minutes, when Seferovic nearly gave the visitors the lead.
NEYMAR HAS A CHANCE TO ADD A THIRD! The former Santos man races onto Messi's arcing pass from the right but he tries to be too clever by flicking the ball over the onrushing Bravo's head and the Sociedad goalkeeper reacts well to parry the ball to safety.
Goal Lionel Messi
MESSI MAKES IT 2-0 WITH A HEADER!! Neymar evades a couple of challenges on the left before dinking a cross to the backpost that leaves Messi with a straightforward header to double Barca's lead. Two attacks, two goals. Who cares about possession stats, when you can finish like that?
Assist Neymar Jr.
Sociedad's defence looked VERY shaky there. Alexis did very little to get past two or three players on the right, and there was no pressure on Neymar as he ghosted in front of Cadmuro and Inigo Martinez to walk the ball in.
Goal Neymar Jr.
NEYMAR SCORES HIS FIRST LIGA GOAL FOR BARCA!!! The home side have the lead against the run of play. With their first attack of the game Barca are ahead. Alexis does well to drive down the right-hand side and curl a cross into the box and Neymar has an easy finish from close range after Bravo lets the ball run past him.
Assist Alexis Sánchez
What a lacklustre start from the hosts! Sociedad have already had two shots at goal, the second of which very nearly gave them the lead.
SEFEROVIC SMASHES ONE AGAINST THE BAR!! The Swiss striker swerves an effort onto the woodwork from the edge of the box after confusion between Busquets and Javier Mascherano allows the ball to roll into his path.
The visitors fashion an early shooting chance when the ball falls to Bergado 20 yards from goal, but the Sociedad midfielder's effort isn't up to scratch and it bobbles wide of the right-hand post.
Away we go at the Camp Nou! Sociedad get the ball rolling...
The teams are out at Camp Nou and we are just moments from kick off over in Spain...
SOCIEDAD TEAM NEWS: Arrasate makes seven changes from his side that drew 0-0 against Malaga at the weekend, as the likes of Carlos Vela, Agirretxe and Ruben Pardo are replaced by Antoine Griezmann, Haris Seferovic and 21-year-old mifielder Marco Sangalli, who makes only his second appearance for the club. No pressure on him then.
BARCA TEAM NEWS: What on earth has Pedro got to do to keep his place in this team? The Spaniard scored his first hat-trick for the club in the win over Rayo at the weekend, but is dropped to the bench for tonight's match. Alexis Sanchez replaces him in attack for the hosts, while Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Dani Alves also return to the starting XI. Cesc Fabregas, who has been superb in the opening games of the season, is rested by Tata Martino.
Subs: Zubikarai, Ansotegi, Jose Angel, Pardo, Chory Castro, Vela, Agirretxe
Real Sociedad (4-3-3): Bravo; Estrada, Cadamuro, Inigo, De la Bella; Bergara, Ros, Sangalli; Prieto, Seferovic, Griezmann
Subs: Pinto, Pedro, Montoya, Bartra, Song, Sergi Roberto, Tello
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Adriano; Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta; Alexis, Messi, Neymar
Anyhow, without further ado, I give you both side's starting XIs...
Fastforward 70 hours, and here we are at Camp Nou. Barca have a chance to continue their blistering start to the Liga season – they have won five from five so far, and scored 18 goals in the process. Sociedad, meanwhile, will be looking to find some form in front of goal, having not scored a single goal in their last three league games.
If you had glanced at Spanish papers on Sunday morning you might have thought the end of the world was nigh, but actually that was not the case. What was really going on? Barcelona had surrendered their possession crown to lowly Rayo Vallecano that's what. The Catalan giants enjoyed more possession than their opponents in 317 consecutive fixtures until Saturday night at the Vallecas, when they dipped under 50 per cent for the first time in five years. They won the game 4-0, but it was the possession statistics, not the scoreline, that got people talking.
My name is Charlie Scott and I'll be with you every step of the way, guiding you through the twists and turns in this game as it unfolds over at Camp Nou.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to our live coverage of what is sure to be a firecracker of a fixture between Barcelona and Real Sociedad in La Liga.
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