Barca keep pressure on Madrid with thrilling Real Sociedad win

Barca keep pressure on Madrid with thrilling Real Sociedad win

Lionel Messi put in a man-of-the-match performance to help Barcelona return to winning ways after consecutive defeats against Malaga and Juventus as they beat Real Sociedad 3-2 at Camp Nou.

With Real Madrid earning a dramatic win at Sporting Gijon earlier in the day by the same scoreline, Barca made sure it finished the weekend just three points behind the league leaders ahead of El Clasico next weekend.

Barcelona were soon on the offensive, with Luis Suarez stumbling in the penalty area as he tried to get on the end of a low cross from Jordi Alba.

Messi scored two goals in the first half and then set up Francisco Alcacer for another before half-time, just after Samuel Umtiti had scored an own-goal for Sociedad.

Messi, though, gave Rulli little chance when he drilled in the opening goal.

Barca eventually broke the deadlock in the 17th minute as Messi created some space outside the box, before drilling the ball into the bottom corner.

Sociedad, aiming to close up on the European places, reduced the deficit in the 42nd minute.

However Barcelona scored nearly immediately, as Paco Alcacer restored their two-goal advantage when Paco Alcacer netted just his fourth goal of the season, with a well-taken left footed strike into the bottom corner.

That being said, not for the first time of late, Barcelona showed their share of weakness in a far-from-perfect display, although there is comfort to be taken knowing Enrique can rely on his backups to pull through for the team.

While Sociedad were happy enough to try to contain Barcelona, they also remained a threat on the counter.

In the 70th minute, Asier Illarramendi nearly scored a wonder goal from the halfway line, catching ter Stegen out with a free-kick, before the German goalkeeper tipped his effort over the bar.

Meanwhile, Juventus are optimistic that forward Paulo Dybala will recover from injury in time to face Barca on Wednesday after he was forced out of Saturday's game with Pescara.

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