First Division - Day 38

Real Sociedad 0 - Barcelona 0

Real Sociedad: Riesgo; Zubiaurre, Labaka, Brechet, Barkero; Karpin (Mladenovic 89'), Mikel Alonso; Xabi Prieto (Gabilondo 72'), Uranga, Aranburu; De Paula. 4-2-3-1.
Barcelona: Jorquera; Oleguer, Puyol, Edmilson, Fernando Navarro; Motta (Gabri 60'), Márquez, Sylvinho (Larsson 46'); Giuly (Damià 80'), Eto'o, Iniesta. 4-3-3.

Team changes: Real Sociedad: Mikel Alonso, Xabi Prieto for Rossato, Mladenovic / Barcelona: Edmilson, Fernando Navarro, Iniesta, Motta, Larsson for Belletti, Xavi, Deco, Ronaldinho.

Goals: None.

League champions Barcelona put an end to their season with a fairly meaningless 0-0 draw at Real Sociedad. Frank Rijkaard used the occasion to give a run out to players who had not played much this season, including Edmilson, Motta, Larsson and Gabri, all of whom were returning serious long knee injuries. The coach also decided to keep Jorquera in goal, as much as anything to ensure that Víctor Valdés won the Zamora prize.

The only issue at stake though was whether Samuel Eto'o would get the goal he needed to catch Arsenal's Thierry Henry in the race for the European golden boot, but despite going close a number of times he was unable to beat Riesgo in the local goal. The Camerooni striker fired one shot into the side netting after Iniesata set him up, and curled a free kick just wide of the mark after the restart.

The Basque side also had their chances though, in particular a cross from López Rekarte which a defender turned towards his own net, Jorquera pushing the ball onto the bar and Uranga failing to head home the rebound. Brechet headed a Karpin free kick over the bar a few minutes later, and Barkero brought an excellent save out of Jorquera with another free kick in the second half.

But the loudest applause of the night was for Karpin, who together with Alkiza will be retiring at the end of the season. The Estonian midfielder took his bow in the closing minutes, and may well return as part of the management team if his group win the upcoming presidential elections. Otherwise though a bit of a damp squid, but with the season coming to an end and the players in need of a rest, that was to be expected.