Barcelona reclaim second place following a 2-0 win over Real Sociedad

Lamine Yamal and Raphinha scored to lift Barcelona past Real Sociedad and overtake Girona in second place.
FC Barcelona v Real Sociedad - LaLiga EA Sports
FC Barcelona v Real Sociedad - LaLiga EA Sports / Alex Caparros/GettyImages

With Girona succumbing to a late equalizer from Alaves, Barcelona were in a position to retake sole possession of second place if they picked up a win over Real Sociedad on Monday.

While it wasn't a convincing performance by any stretch of the imagination, Barcelona took advantage of Girona's slip up and beat Real Sociedad 2-0 to put themselves one point ahead of their Catalan counterparts.

Lamine Yamal opened the score in the 40th minute of the first half. Robert Lewandowski proved crucial in the goal as his reception and flick to Ilkay Gundogan created an advantageous opportunity for he and Lamal against the La Real defense. Gundogan then laid the ball to the teenager who calmly slotted past the goalkeeper for his fifth goal of the season.

"It was an important game to regain second place and we have to try to make it a nine-point week," Yamal said after the match.

"Real did very well in the first half but then we were able to improve. There was good feeling in the whole team."

The second half played out similar to the first with neither team really having control of the ball and creating some half chances. As has been a theme this season, Barcelona were wasteful with the chances they did create.

Xavi and his team wouldn't be able to breathe a sigh of relief until the third minute of second half stoppage time when the referee awarded Barcelona a penalty after a VAR review caught a handball by one of the Real Sociedad defenders.

Raphinha, who had another good game, stepped up and rifled the ball into the back of the net. In his celebration, he took off his jersey and revealed a message of support to his hometown in Brazil, which is suffering due to flooding.

"Real always make it difficult for us. They are always very organized, aggressive, you don't create danger for them," Xavi said. "It's an important victory for us. We played a good game in general."

As Xavi alluded to, it was an important victory not only in terms of the table but to regain some confidence following the loss to Girona the previous week.

The win now puts them in control of their own destiny if they want to finish in second place in LaLiga. The smallest of consolation prizes but it's still important as it would assure them a spot in next season's Spanish Super Cup as well as the revenue it comes with participating. The margin of error remains slim but Barcelona depend on themselves from here until the end of the season.


"There is still a long way to go. It will be a battle to the end. Girona are very strong," Iñigo Martínez said. "It's in our hands now. I think the team is very good. Three valuable points. We had some mistakes in the first half. In the second half I think we could have finished it off earlier."