The nine and a half-year-old dry spell that Barcelona had on the Anoeta Ground against Real Sociedad was finally broken by Brazilian forward Neymar Jr, in their match of the first leg of the Copa Del Rey quarter on Thursday.
The Basque side was in a no-nonsense mood, as it set up an early score as Oyarzabal curled one wide right after Samuel Umtiti lost position, but Neymar coaxes the match’s first save from Geronimo Rulli at the other end.
The game kept swaying from one direction to another, but with zeal for a chance, Neymar charged into the box with La Real’s Artiz Elustondo in close pursuit. Neymar then managed to earn a penalty spot kick as he drew a clear trip from the latter.
GOAL! 21st Minute! The curse is broken!
After Messi passed the penalty opportunity on to Neymar, he made sure he didn’t disappoint with a shot right into the Basque side’s box, sending Rulli the other way. This goal ended the dreaded almost decade-long drought of wins for Barcelona on the Anoeta ground. It was Neymar’s 8th goal of the season.
The second half didn’t see much action, with a dip in Neymar Jr’s form and an unfortunate calf injury for Andres Iniesta leading to Andre Gomes getting some play-time.
Sociedad and Barcelona’s track record on the Catalan ground have been a relief for the latter, however, with no wins for the Basque players at Camp Nou. As Barcelona charges away for a third consecutive Copa crown, the form dips and rises every now and then, and now with Iniesta’s injury, it is up to them to step their game up and rise to the occasion for their next match against another Basque team Eibar, on the 23rd of January.
By Anumon Banerjee