First Division - Day 19

Barcelona 1 - Real Sociedad 0

Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Belletti, Oleguer (Sylvinho 60'), Puyol, Van Bronckhorst; Xavi, Márquez, Iniesta; Giuly, Eto'o, Ronaldinho. 4-3-3.
Real Sociedad: Riesgo; López Rekarte, Luiz Alberto, Labaka, Garrido; Aranburu, Alkiza (Larrea 86'), Mikel Alonso; Xabi Prieto, Gabilondo (Uranga 80'); Kovacevic (Nihat 68'). 4-3-2-1.

Team changes: Barcelona: Belletti, Van Bronckhorst, Iniesta for Damià, Sylvinho, Deco / Real Sociedad: Alkiza, Xabi Prieto for Karpin, Nihat,.

1-0. 80. Eto'o. Header into roof of net after Márquez nodded on Xavi corner.

Barcelona kept up the momentum at the top of the table at the mid-point of the season with a 1-0 win over Real Sociedad, although they struggled to beat ten men and only won thanks to a late strike from Samuel Eto'o. The Camerooni striker had missed a great opportunity to put his side ahead early on when he fired a penalty kick against the post after Iniesta had been fouled by Luiz Alberto. And only a couple of providential saves by Víctor Valdés from Kovacevic and Gabilondo either side of half time kept the scores level.

But Real were left a man short when Xabi Prieto picked up a second booking, and Eto'o hit the post soon afterwards. Giuly and Puyol both went close as Barça continued to attack, and Eto'o finally got the goal they were looking for when he steered a header past Riesgo after Márquez had headed on Xavi's corner. Valdes had been called upon though to stop an attack by Nihat just before the goal, and the young keeper made another brilliant save from the Turkish striker later on before the referee finally called it a day. Not a great display by the Catalans, but one of those results when playing badly which can win championships.