Match ends, Barcelona 2, Real Sociedad 1.
Barcelona 2-1 Real Sociedad: Catalans go nine points clear thanks to Alba strike
Jordi Alba once again showed his potency in attack by scoring the winner against Real Sociedad as Barcelona closed in on the La Liga title.
The Spanish full-back found the net with a brilliant low strike only two minutes after Juanmi had equalised for the visitors.
Clement Lenglet, another Barcelona defender, gave Barca a first-half lead with his header from a corner.
Sociedad's Gero Rulli made an excellent one-handed save to deny Luis Suarez.
Victory meant Barcelona re-established their nine-point lead which was temporarily reduced when second-placed Atletico Madrid defeated Eibar 1-0 earlier on Saturday.
Coach Ernesto Valverde's team now only need six points from their remaining five games to retain the La Liga crown.
It certainly was not vintage Barcelona as, time and time again, they looked susceptible to any ball played between their centre-backs - any repeat display against Champions League semi-final opponents Liverpool will likely be severely punished.
One of those Sociedad through-balls should have resulted in the opening goal on Saturday. Ruben Pardo, who was excellent throughout, played a delightful dinked pass into the area for Juanmi whose shot was saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen before Willian Jose, inexplicably, fired over from about six yards.
That spurred Barca into action. Suarez first forced Rulli into making a brilliant stop, but moments later the Sociedad keeper had little chance of keeping out Lenglet's header which was powered in from an Ousmane Dembele corner.
Sociedad were level shortly after the hour mark. Former Newcastle midfielder Mikel Merino, who revelled in his 'quarterback' role, fed a great pass through to ex-Southampton striker Juanmi, who poked in.
The visitors' celebrations were short-lived though as Alba, who cut in from the left, launched a crisp low drive which flew beyond the reach of Rulli. The Barca player has now been involved in more goals than any other La Liga defender in this season (two goals and eight assists).
- 1ter Stegen
- 2Nélson Semedo
- 22VidalSubstituted forRobertoat 90'minutes
- 8ArthurSubstituted forBusquetsat 56'minutes
- 11DembéléSubstituted forCoutinhoat 72'minutes
- 3LlorenteSubstituted forBarrenetxeaat 87'minutes
- 8MerinoBooked at 15mins
- 5ZubeldiaSubstituted forSangalliat 54'minutes
- 12Da Silva
- 7JuanmiSubstituted forRamírezat 87'minutes
- Pablo González Fuertes
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Barcelona 2, Real Sociedad 1.
Substitution, Barcelona. Sergi Roberto replaces Arturo Vidal.
Offside, Barcelona. Arturo Vidal tries a through ball, but Coutinho is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Arturo Vidal (Barcelona) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Coutinho with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Rubén Pardo.
Attempt blocked. Coutinho (Barcelona) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jordi Alba.
Gerard Piqué (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Willian José (Real Sociedad).
Hand ball by Arturo Vidal (Barcelona).
Substitution, Real Sociedad. Ander Barrenetxea replaces Diego Llorente because of an injury.
Substitution, Real Sociedad. Sandro Ramírez replaces Juanmi.
Corner, Real Sociedad. Conceded by Jordi Alba.
Attempt blocked. Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Willian José.
Attempt missed. Arturo Vidal (Barcelona) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is too high following a set piece situation.
Nélson Semedo (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Aihen Muñoz (Real Sociedad).
Attempt missed. Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Luis Suárez.
Attempt missed. Luca Sangalli (Real Sociedad) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Rubén Pardo.
Substitution, Barcelona. Coutinho replaces Ousmane Dembélé.