By Tom Gott
Barcelona’s wait to seal La Liga’s record clean sheet continues after Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Real Sociedad.
The newly crowned champions have compiled 25 clean sheets this season, one short of the all-time record of 26, but hopes of equalizing that record here were dashed after just five minutes.
Alexander Sorloth forced Jules Kounde to clear the ball and set up Mikel Merino, who slotted the ball between the legs of a furious Marc-André ter Stegen.
Despite that early setback, Barcelona caused plenty of trouble with a relentless high press and Alex Remiro had to be careful to fend off Ousmane Dembele’s header, just before Martin Zubimendi’s excellent interception to prevent Franck Kessie from equalize the score.
Robert Lewandowski missed a player by his standards before Sociedad went down the other end and missed a string of huge chances to double their lead. Ander Barrenetxea missed two either side of an excellent save by Ter Stegen which denied Mohamed-Ali Cho.
Barcelona ended the first half ahead and the intense press continued after the break, but Sociedad always looked dangerous and, after Sorloth missed a header, the towering striker made no mistakes as he beaten home on a shot by Zubimendi.
The second goal turned the game around, with Sociedad visibly more confident knowing they had that extra margin for the remaining 20 minutes and Barcelona knowing there was nothing left to play for.
However, that didn’t stop Barcelona from withdrawing one to the dying embers. Ferran Torres’ cross was struck directly into Lewandowski, who headed the gap to just one goal.
Barcelona player ratings (4-3-3)
GK: Marc-André ter Stegen (6); RB: Alejandro Baldè (7); BC: Jules Koundé (5); BC: Andreas Christensen (6); LB: Giorgio Alba (7); DM: Sergio Busquets (7); CM: Franck Kessie (6), CM: Frenkie de Jong (7); RW: Refine (7); ST: Robert Lewandowski (7); LW: Ousmane Dembélé (8)
Substitutes: Marcos Alonso (6), Ansu Fati (6), Ferran Torres (7), Eric Garcia (N/A), Pablo Torre (N/A)
Real Sociedad player ratings (4-3-2)
GK: Alex Remirò (6); RB: Aritz Elustundo (6); BC: Igor Zubeldia (7); BC: Robin Le Normand (7); LB: Diego Rico (7); CM: Martin Zubimendi (8); CM: Mikel Merino (8), CM: Asier Illarramendi (6); I AM: Ander Barrenetxa (6); I AM: Mohamed-Ali Cho (7); ST: Alexander Sorloth (9)
Substitutes: Takefusa Kubo (6), Andoni Gorosabel (6), Pablo Marin (6), Carlos Fernandez (N/A), Jon Pacheco (N/A)
Player of the Match – Alexander Sorloth (Real Sociedad)
This article was originally posted on 90min.com as Barcelona 1-2 Real Sociedad: Player ratings like Blaugrana had to wait for record clean sheet.