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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Barcelona fall to Real Sociedad after securing La Liga title

Real Sociedad gave LaLiga champions Barcelona a guard of honor at Spotify Camp Nou ahead of kickoff. Twitter/ESPNFC

Barcelona, recently crowned La Liga champions, suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Real Sociedad before their trophy presentation at Camp Nou. 

Real Sociedad’s Mikel Merino and Alexander Sorloth found the back of the net, ensuring their hold on fourth place and widening the gap with fifth-placed Villarreal in the race for Champions League qualification.

Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski managed to score a late consolation goal, but it wasn’t enough to overturn the result. Despite already securing the league title with a resounding victory over Espanyol, Barcelona coach Xavi fielded a strong lineup. However, they quickly fell behind as Sorloth assisted Merino, who scored through the legs of goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen just five minutes into the game.

Ter Stegen, who has enjoyed an impressive season with 25 clean sheets, conceded his first goal from open play at Camp Nou in La Liga, excluding a Ronald Araujo own goal. The German goalkeeper is now one clean sheet away from matching the league record of 26, although it will be a challenge if Barcelona’s defense continues to perform casually in their remaining matches.

Barcelona pushed for an equaliser, with Ousmane Dembele coming close with a header that was well saved by Real Sociedad’s Alex Remiro. Franck Kessie also had a shot narrowly deflected wide as Barcelona increased the pressure. However, their efforts faded in the second half, allowing Real Sociedad to double their lead through a counter-attack sparked by Martin Zubimendi’s tackle on Frenkie de Jong. Sorloth capitalized on the opportunity, firing past Ter Stegen.

In the final stages of the game, Barcelona captain Sergio Busquets was substituted and received a standing ovation from the crowd. The defeat marked one of his last home appearances before departing in the summer. Lewandowski’s goal gave Real Sociedad a nervous finale, but they managed to hold on for a crucial victory.

After the interruption of their previous celebration by Espanyol fans, Barcelona fans at Camp Nou started their party again, albeit with a subdued atmosphere following the defeat. Barcelona will now shift their focus to their remaining matches, aiming to finish the season strongly despite the setback.

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