Barcelona 180 Minutes Away From From Winning Their 8th La Liga Title In 11 Years
Barcelona are closing in on their eighth La Liga title in 11 years after Clement Lenglet and Jordi Alba both scored in a 2-1 win over Real Sociedad on Saturday.
Victory means Barca only have to beat Alaves on Tuesday and then Levante next Saturday to be crowned champions at Camp Nou, while three points against Alaves will be enough on its own if Atletico Madrid then lose to Valencia on Wednesday.
Whether in three days or seven, it is now surely only a matter of when rather than if Ernesto Valverde's side successfully defend their trophy, despite Atletico keeping the gap to nine points after they edged past Eibar earlier on Saturday. "We have to get it out of our heads that we are nine points clear," Valverde said.
"We now have three days until we play again and it will be difficult." Wrapping it up early though would allow Barcelona the luxury of focusing completely on the Champions League, which could give them an advantage over their semi-final opponents Liverpool, who seem to be embroiled in a Premier League race to the finish with Manchester City.
But this was no stroll, with Real Sociedad pulling level in the second half thanks to Juanmi's equaliser, even if parity lasted less than two minutes.
Lionel Messi might not have scored but it was his cute pass that teed up the excellent Alba to score the winner after Lenglet had earlier powered in a header from Ousmane Dembele's cross.
Barcelona Racing Towards Title Barcelona stumbled out of the blocks this season but they are now tearing down the home straight. This was their 21st league game without defeat while Real Madrid sit 16 points behind them ahead of their game at home to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
"You always look at the matches of Real Madrid because you always consider them a rival," Valverde said. "In their case, they may be thinking about next season."
It was a surprise when Messi failed to score with two free-kicks in the first half while Sociedad could have been in front but Juanmi was denied by Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Willian Jose spurned the rebound.
There was nothing complicated about Lenglet's opener, the Frenchman rising high above two defenders and heading into the corner for his first league goal in a Barcelona shirt.
Ter Stegen and Alba were fortunate not to be punished for a mix-up and then La Real did score, in the 62nd minute, as Juanmi slid to connect with Mikel Merino's brilliant through ball. But in the 64th minute, Barca were ahead again as Messi weaved one way and then the other before finding Alba to his left.
The defender jinked inside and drove a shot into the far corner to make it 2:1 Things took an interesting turn when Dembele was substituted off for Coutinho, who was greeted by whistles from the Camp Nou faithful, a clear response to the fingers-in-the-ears gesture made in midweek by the Brazilian after scoring against Manchester United. More importantly for Barcelona, though, was getting a third goal to kill off the match, and Ivan Rakitic and Vidal each had opportunities to do so but could not find the target.
In the end, Barcelona did not need the extra goal, as they calmly finished things out to pocket a hard-earned three points and move themselves closer to a league title.
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