Barcelona lose ground in La Liga

Another woeful night for Barcelona. Messi, left, walks out of Anoeta a sad man

Barcelona are now within the reach of the Spanish La Liga pursuers, Atletico and Real Madrid, as the Catalans lost 0-1 at Real Sociedad, their second straight loss after losing El Clasico last week To Real Madrid.

Coach Luis Enrique appeared to have foreseen the dangers lurking in San Sebastián, Basque Country as he warned his players to step up efforts to win the three points there. But it was not be:  a powerful header  by Mikel Oiarzaba in the fifth minute of the game settled matters at the Estadio Anoeta.

Barcelona never recovered from this early goal, despite having 76 per cent of possession and six shots on target, compared to only one, a devastating one it turned out to be, from  their hosts.

Barcelona had never won a match at the Estadio Anoeta since 2007. Last year, they also lost 0-1 to Real Sociedad.

To worsen things for the La Liga leader, defender Gerard Pique, their central defender  also got a red card late in the game.

On the La Liga table now, Barcelona only have a three point lead over Atletico Madrid who won their game 3-1 against Espanyol and four points ahead of their other rival, Real Madrid, who also demolished Eibar 4-0, in the first match played today.