Ronald Araujo rescued Barcelona from what could have been one of their worst losses of the season after scoring a header in the 92nd minute to give the Catalan side a 1-0 win over Real Sociedad.
A win that was completely undeserved.
The home side was by far the better team throughout the match. Real Sociedad pressured Barcelona high and did not allow them any space for the midfield players to link up with the attack. It was La Real who had most of the ball and the team who created the clearest goal scoring opportunities.
Had it not been for Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Barcelona could have very easily lost by at least two goals.
Barcelona couldn’t connect three passes together on the rare occasions where they did have the ball. It was a frustrating night for Xavi Hernandez and his team to say the least.
Xavi made some changes in the second half, introducing the likes of Pedri, Ferran Torres, Raphinha and Lamine Yamal. Despite those changes, Barcelona looked only slightly better.
They wouldn’t completely get into the game until the final five to eight minutes.
Araujo had their best chance in the second half when he struck a ball from outside the penalty area only to be well blocked by Alex Remiro. Whether it was Real Sociedad tiring or Barcelona finally waking up, the Catalans were now on the front foot.
In what appeared to be the final Barcelona attack of the game, Araujo made a run inside the box from the right, was spotted by Ilkay Gundogan who delivered a perfect cross for the Uruguayan to head in.
His jubilation would be short lived when the goal was quickly chalked off for offside. On replay, it was evident he was onside. After a VAR review, the goal was given, much to the delight of the visitors and incredulous from Real Sociedad.
“Last week we deserved to win and we lost, and today, when we didn’t deserve to win, we won,” Xavi said after the match.
While Barcelona will happily welcome the win and all three points, the win should not mask an abhorrent performance. A performance made that much more disappointing following the loss to Real Madrid last week.
If Xavi, and Barcelona supporters, were hoping for a response, then they were left sorely disappointed.
The final two minutes or so was all Barcelona can salvage from this match. And that had more to do with the impetus from the players to go forward and perhaps tired legs from Real Sociedad.
Suffice to say, Xavi has his work cut out for him as the doubts and questions over him continue to grow louder.
It won’t be too long before Xavi gets a chance to get his team in order as Barcelona are set to travel to Germany as they face Shakhtar Donetsk in matchday 4 of the Champions League on Tuesday.