Barcelona beat Real Sociedad 2-1 at the Camp Nou on Saturday April 20th to go nine points clear at the top of La Liga. A first-half goal from Clement Lenglet was cancelled out by Juanmi after the break, before Jordi Alba drilled home the winner midway through the second half.
As expected Barca started the game with lots of possession but were failing to break through a stubborn Sociedad defence. Luis Suarez was inches from meeting Lionel Messi's cross from the righthand side in the 14th minute. The Argentinian star's free-kick, from the edge of the area, landed on the roof of the net soon after as a uneventful first half hour came to an end.
The first major chance, surprisingly, fell to the visitors in the 36th minute. Ruben Pardo's ball found Juanmi, whose shot from point blank range was saved by goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, before Willian Jose shot over, on the rebound, from just six yards out.
The game was kicking into life as Suarez had a shot brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli minutes later. Just before half-time the Catalan took the lead. Lenglet rose highest to head in to the top corner from Ousmane Dembele's corner to put his side in front.
In the second-half, the away side came out strongly as they pushed the hosts back. Pardo had a shot kept out by Ter Stegen early in the half. Barca almost doubled the lead in the 57th minute as Arturo Vidal's pass found Dembele who curled inches wide of the far post.
The equaliser came just past the hour mark. Mikel Merino's through ball found Juanmi, who slotted the ball in to the net to level the score. But the home side restored their goal advantage just a minute later. Alba ran into the box and struck a right foot shot past Rulli to quell the visitor's celebrations.
Sociedad made life uncomfortable for Barca late on as they pushed for a late equaliser, but the La Liga leaders were able to hold on for the victory.
The reigning side look set to retain their title after extending their lead at the top of the table. After the game, Goal.com reported that Barca's head coach, Ernesto Valverde, refused to acknowledge the idea that the title race was over despite his side's big advantage. "The games are not given to you. You suffer a lot to win."
He continued, "Winning is much more complicated than people think. I understand people when they say that we are already champions and that we just have to wait for the date, but the points have yet to be achieved.
"We have to get that idea out of our heads. This is not over yet."