Barca keep pressure on Madrid with thrilling 3-2 Real Sociedad win

After dropping the first leg of its UEFA Champions League quarterfinal with Juventus 3-0, Barcelona looked to rebound against Real Sociedad in La Liga, and keep pace with leader Real Madrid in the process.

Barca might have climbed closer to La Liga leaders Real Madrid were it not for Isco's late victor against Sporting Gijon earlier on Saturday, where a 3-2 victory was enough to keep Los Blancos out of reach.

The hosts almost found themselves trailing inside the first few minutes when Mikel Oyarzabal's goalbound shot was cleared off the line by Gerard Pique.

Barca then restored their two-goal lead two minutes later as Messi turned provider to play in Paco Alcacer, who slotted home from close.

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

#Messi500... just two left...

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.

Jose clipped an angled pass across to Prieto who had ghosted into the right side of the penalty area and dispatched a cool sidefoot finish into the bottom corner.

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

Luis Enrique opted for a change on 70 minutes as Andre Gomes made way for Andres Iniesta.

Suarez almost bagged a fourth goal for the home side in stoppage time, but Gerónimo Rulli produced a superb save deny the striker, as the score remained 3-2 at the full-time whistle.

  • Loretta Pittman