As Barcelona prepare to take on Imanol Alguacil’s Real Sociedad, join us as we reminisce the Catalans’ 4-0 win over La Real back from the 2015-16 season in this episode of The Rewind.
Having made a mockery out of their eternal rival in enemy territory just a week earlier, Barcelona locked horns with another one of La Liga’s royals in a clash the locals won by 4-0. In the three matches preceding this tie, the Blaugrana had scored 13 goals without reply to seal top spot in the Primera División, four points ahead of nearest challengers Atlético and six from Real Madrid.
This game marked Lionel Messi’s first start since sustaining an injury against Las Palmas that kept him out of action for the better part of two months. On his return to action in the Clásico, the Argentine set Suárez up for the fourth of the tie, and in this game, goals from the iconic trio of Messi himself, Neymar Jr and Luis Suárez were enough to bag the three points for the defending European champions.
Alves · Pique · Mascherano · Mathieu
Rakitic · Busquets · Iniesta
Messi · Suarez · Neymar
Elustondo · Gonzalez · Martinez · Berchiche
Canales · Pardo · Granero · Prieto
Vela · Aguirretxe
In similar fashion to how they started the game against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu, Barcelona began the game on the front foot. Having lacerated the defence with a through ball, Neymar found Suárez’ forward run into the box. The Uruguayan attempted to divert the trajectory of the ball into the net, however, Geronimo Rulli was adequately positioned to salvage the situation for his side.
After a poetic sequence of passes that left Real Sociedad at sixes and sevens, Iván Rakitić’s pass met Suárez at the edge of the box. With the outside of his foot, he played a magnificent cross into Andres Iniesta’s path, however, his headed effort at goal struck the frame of the bar and was subsequently cleared.
In and of itself, the match was rather stale, as the visitors’ low block and congested defence worked as the antithesis to Barcelona’s proactive style of play. By merit, Barça deserved to get into the lead and halfway into the match, they did. Lionel Messi found his partner in crime Dani Alves as he made a darting run into the space left vacated by the Basque side’s defence. He then played a trademark cross into Neymar’s path, and he then followed up the pass with a ruthless strike into the back of the net.
Chances came few and far between, and to Barça’s advantage, they doubled their lead through a sumptuous volley from none other than Luis Suárez, or more colloquially, El Pistolero.
Having spotted yet another run from the Brazilian, Iniesta played a crossfield pass right towards Dani Alves. From the byline, given the nature of the pass, he chipped the ball into the box. Like a true number nine, Suárez sliced the ball right down the middle and such was the force behind the shot, that even the keeper’s quick reactions could do nothing to stop it going in.
First Half: Barcelona 2-0 Real Sociedad
If the first half was enthralling, then the second period was a far cry from the sort of entertainment the fans bore witness to, despite the two goals scored.
In spite of the fact Messi had neither a goal nor an assist, he had been heavily involved throughout the match, and his otherworldly vision was an absolute treat for the Barcelona faithful. His dexterity in this field was once again on show as he set up the Blaugranas’ third goal of the afternoon.
From the centre of La Real’s half, the Argentine lacerated the Txuri-Urdin‘s defence with a pinpoint pass to Jeremy Mathieu. Without hesitation, the Frenchman centred the ball towards Neymar in the penalty area, and the Brazilian finished off the move, hammering the ball into the back of the net to seal his brace and essentially, all three points for the Blaugrana.
Having already served as the architect for two of his side’s three goals, the then four-time Ballon D’Or winner had a go from barely inside the box, however, his audacious chip was a tad bit too high as he saw it crash onto the crossbar and erratically cleared by La Erreala’s defence.
His goal did come though, and the mastermind this time was man of the match Neymar Jr. On the right-wing, the Brazilian dragged Aritz Elustondo and subsequently did away with him with a cheeky piece of skill. He then played a quick one-two with Iniesta on the edge of the box. Having received the ball on the touchline, the Brazilian then laid the ball on a plate for Messi for an easy tap in.
Barcelona more than made amends for the defeat they had suffered at the start of the year, however to their dismay, the infamous “Anoeta Curse” rolled its ugly face once again.
Full Time: Barcelona 4-0 Real Sociedad
The Rewind: Barcelona 8-1 Huesca, 2014/15
While the 8-2 victory from the 2018/19 season is fresher within the minds of Barça’s supporters, the Catalans obtained an equally memorable result in the second leg of their last 32 Copa Del Rey tie. The Garnet and Blue had already ripped the Aragonés in stunning style away from home in the reverse fixture, a game that saw them win 4-0, and were looking to complete the demolition derby at home in a half-packed Camp Nou.
The second tier Azulgranas endured one of the worst halves to a game in their history, as their defence, porous as a sponge, conceded a “manita” by halftime. Pedro, filling in for Neymar in his favoured left-wing scored a first-half hat trick, as goals from Andres Iniesta, Adriano Correia, Adama Traoré, Sergi Roberto, Sandro Ramirez led Huesca to a damning 8-1 loss on away soil.
Montoya · Mascherano · Bartra · Adriano
Roberto · Samper · Iniesta
Rafinha · Munir · Pedro
Antonio · David · Gaspar · Scardina
Manola · Lucas · Sosa · Bernal
Cabezas · Esnaider
Despite the flabbergasting scoreline, Barcelona nearly found themselves on the back-foot early on in the game. As soon as the fifth minute, Chus Sosa played in a sumptuous cross from the touchline into Juan Esnaider’s path. The Spaniard directed the subsequent header towards Jordi Masip’s goal, however to his utter discontent, his effort bounced off the frame of the post and out for a goal-kick.
Having awoken the beast, Barça wreaked havoc on Huesca’s brittle defence, with Pedro opening the scoring. Munir el Haddadi beat his opponent’s offside trap with a perfectly timed run into the half-empty pitch. Once at the edge of the box, he played an outswinger with the outside of his left foot, finding Pedro in the 18-yard area, who scored the subsequent header.
He doubled his tally soon after, as following yet another botched attempt at keeping Barça at bay, the men in white let Pedro of the hook for a fraction of a second, and he punished them accordingly with a smashing effort past Dani Jiménez.
Deputising for Dani Alves, Martin Montoya played one of the Brazilian’s trademark crosses, finding Sergi Roberto right near the penalty spot. The La Masia graduate made the most delicate touch as his chipped effort proved too good a strike for the Huesca shot-stopper even to fathom touching.
Barça were fully in their stride as with a 7-0 aggregate lead, the tie was well and truly finished. With this in mind, they delicately carved Huesca open with pristine passing synonymous with the Barcelona of old. Come the end of the move, Roberto found Iniesta who, with the most fluid of controls for rid of his marker and subsequently tapped the ball past the advancing Jiménez and into the net to make it 4-0.
Barça’s job was just halfway complete, and Pedro added the icing to what was turning out to be a cake adorned with goals of all kinds. Pedro completed his hat trick with a goal almost identical to that of Mohamed Salah’s Puskas winning goal from 2018. It was the perfect strike to cap off what had been a perfect evening.
Half Time: Barcelona 5-0 Huesca
As the momentum was still on, Barcelona kept up the onslaught and ridiculed Huesca even further. Sandro unlocked their defence with the most delicate of through balls, finding Adriano positioned in the opposite flank. With the keeper completely out of his favoured position, the Brazilian took a strike from outside the penalty area, scoring splendidly to take the lead to a whopping ten on aggregate.
With 13 minutes left to play, substitute Adama Traoré, a man of much different physicality then, added further gloss to the scoreline. Just as he does now, he used his quick feet and instinctive reactions to skip post his markers till he ultimately found himself one on one with Dani Jiménez, who was truly helpless to stop the goal going in.
Towards the end of the tie, Javier Mascherano chipped the ball over the entirety of the Huesca backline, finding an on-rushing Sandro in the penalty box. With all the time in the world, he controlled the ball, picked his spot and let out a fierce strike past the keeper to finish the scoring for the Blaugrana.
Huesca got a consolation goal via a Carlos David header, however, it was worth next to nothing, as they were ruthlessly eliminated from the king’s cup by 12 goals to two.
Full Time: Barcelona 8-2 Huesca