Barcelona 5-2 Real Sociedad: Copa del Rey 2016-17 quarter-final 2nd Leg, result and report
Barcelona beat Real Sociedad 5-2 (6-2) in the quarter-final 2nd leg of the Copa del Rey 2016-17 at Camp Nou with goals from Denis (x2), Messi, Arda Suarez.
Barcelona put themselves into Friday morning's draw for the Copa del Rey semifinals after a thrilling second-half eventually saw them sweep aside Real Sociedad.
Following a dreadful opening 45 in which the only notable action was Messi, Suarez and Neymar's wonderful link up play to set up Denis, the second period was when the game really came alive.
Neymar won a penalty following debatable contact in the box from a last gasp Illarramendi challenge, allowing Lionel Messi to convert expertly.
From that point on, the little Argentine magician was at the heart of everything positive that Los Cules did, although the visitors twice threatened an unlikely comeback (goals from Juanmi and WIllian coming either side of a Luis Suarez effort in a frantic 10 minute spell).
However when Arda Turan restored Barça's two goal advantage on 80 mins, La Real all but gave up hope, letting in Denis to round Rulli for his second shortly after and putting a slightly generous tint on the scoreline in favour of the hosts.
Full Time: Barcelona 5-2 Real Sociedad
93 mins | Full Time. The referee calls time on the second-half goal fest. Barcelona go through.
90 mins | 3 minutes added on
85 mins | Exhibition stuff now from Barça. Real Sociedad have given up and already gone home by the looks. Could be another goal on the cards here....
82 mins | Gooooooooooal! Denis! La Real have fallen to pieces. Messi plays Denis in down the middle, he rounds Rulli and put it into an empty net for his second of the night.
80 mins | Goooooooooal! Arda! He's only on for a matter of minutes. The Turk loves this competition! Roberto with the cross and Arda slides it home from two yards.
76 mins | Neymar off, Arda on
74 mins | Messi almost put Barça back out of reach, wriggling his way past three into the box. His shot - destined for the bottom corner - is just cut out by the foot of Navas.
71 mins | Gooooooooooal! Willian! Comeback back on! The striker beats Cillessen with an absolute bullet header!
68 mins | It's safe to say this half has been a lot better than the first....
65 mins | With this game surely wrapped up now for Barça, Enrique takes off Mascherano and puts on Rakitic.
62 mins | Gooooooooooal Barça! Oh wait, La Real's comeback lasts all of 60 seconds, as Messi picks it up in midfield, spins, and threads it through beautifully to Suarez, who makes no mistake with the outside of his boot one-on-one with Rulli.
61 mins | Goooooooooal La Real! Juanmi break the offside trap and lobs Cillessen! They're back in it....
58 mins | La Real react to going to behind by making a double swap. Xabi Prieto goes off for Canales and Carlos Vela makes way for Juanmi.
55 mins | Goooooal! Messi makes no mistake from the spot. A perfect pen that nestles just inside the post.
54 mins | Drama! Penalty Barça after (debatable) contact on Neymar. Neymar had raced clear after Real Sociedad really, really should have gotten the equaliser. Willian hit it straight at Cillesen from 3 yards out, the ball rebounded clear, and Neymar was set free on the break. Illaramendi was the last man back and he made a last ditch effort to stop the Brazilian. Did he make contact? TV replays prove inconclusive.
50 mins | Oyarzabal in the thick of it again. He takes a stray elbow in the stomach from Luis Suarez. A little bit dirty that from the Uruguayan (¡qué sopresa!). He doesn't get away with it though. Suarez goes into the book.
49 mins | Oyarzabal goes clattering head first into the advertising boards trying to keep the ball in. If anything this game has had a couple of comedy moments, if nothing much else.
48 mins | La Real threat from an early second-half corner. Elustondo gets up but can't keep his header down. Alba hurts himself trying to challenge him and is taken off for treatment. Doesn't look too serious though. He's back on now.
46 mins | Peeeeeeeep! We're back underway
Half time: Barcelona 1-0 Real Sociedad
43 mins | It's a flurry of yellow cards! And to be honest the most eventful period in this game since the goal. Yuri this time on the end of a ref's caution for an off-the-ball shove on Denis.
41 mins | Alba now goes into the book for protesting Neymar's yellow card.
40 mins | Handbags alert! Vela goes in, rather innocuously, on Neymar and the Brazilian falls down theatrically. Neymar gets straight back up though and confronts Vela aggressively, prompting the Mexican to push him away. Both are booked for their troubles.
38 mins | The MSN triangle almost works its magic once again. Three passes from the fearsome trio cut open La Real for the first goal, and it was nearly the same result here. Neymar finds Suarez unmarked on the right edge of the box, the Uruguayan takes a touch, sees Messi lurking at the back post, and tries to slide it across. Yuri gets there just in time though to intercept.
35 mins | A Real Sociedad goal would really liven things up here. And I tell you, this came could do with it. It's all rather flat...
30 mins | There's not a frightening pace to this game by any means. Barcelona do not have the slightest bit of urgency and after that goal... they're just happy to play keep ball.
27 mins | Alba brings down Vela, giving away a freekick in a dangerous position. The delivery is poor though and Barça clear.
25 mins | Sergi Roberto goes down after bash to the bonce. He's alright though. Shake it off son.
20 mins | You could say that Barça opener was against the run of play, but they've settled a little more now and are looking increasingly dangerous. With that, Barça do some comic defending and give Willian an opportunity after some pinball in the box. He volleys it over.
19 mins | That goal doesn't change things too much for La Real. They still need two goals, but the chance of extra-time and penalties is now over. Only two will do.
16 mins | Goooooooooooal Barça! Denis! Too easy for Barcelona that. La Real all over the place at the back as Messi feeds Luis Suarez on the edge of the box, who does the old no look flick with the outside of his boot to the on-rushing Denis. There's absolutely no one there tracking his run and he simply slots past Rulli from 8 yards into the far corner. 1-0.
13 mins | First chance for Barcelona. Gomes slides it to Neymar who tries to find Messi in the box with a left-footed cross. Not enough on it though and keeper Rulli catches.
10 mins | Ten minutes in and the Basques are the team who've started this game more positively. Barça not in their rhythm just yet in what is a very quiet Camp Nou.
7 mins | Vela is set free on the right wing, but with Willian waiting dangerously in the middle the Mexican makes a comedy of errors. First he slips when attempting the cross, then messes up a back heel, and finally lunges in at Alba trying to win the ball back, giving away a foul. ¡Ay Carumba!
5 mins | Neymar is almost played through down the left but there's just a bit too much on it and the Brazilian can't keep it from going out.
4 mins | It opens up for Illaramendi and he attempts the first shot at goal of the game. It doesn't make it past Pique though.
2 mins | Real Sociedad with the best of the opening stages. Vela's cross collected easily by Cillessen.
1 mins | Peeeeeeeeep! The ref gets us underway.
Barcelona - Real Sociedad: confirmed XIs
Real Sociedad: Rulli; Aritz Elustondo, Raúl Navas, Íñigo Martínez, Yuri; Illarramendi, Zurutuza; Vela, Xabi Prieto, Oyrarzabal; Willian José
Barcelona - Real Sociedad: live updates
21:13 | Here come the players from the tunnel. Two minutes and we're off....
21:10 | As I said at 20:55, the stands are looking a bit on the sparse side at the Camp Nou, and the fans haven't filed in as much as expected. It'll be a long way off a capacity attendance for what is decent-sized game at this stage of the season. Disappointing.
21:05 | So, to put it plainly, if Barça can avoid losing by two goals they'll be through to the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey; keeping their aim of winning a third-consecutive Spanish cup alive, as well as their dreams of a treble this season (unlike Real Madrid) still very much in the offing.
21:00 | 15 minutes till kick-off.
20:55 | The players are out warming up in front of a, presently, rather empty Camp Nou. I'm sure that will change in the next ten minutes or so, however.
20:50 | In the event of a 1-0 Real Sociedad win after normal time, we'll have extra time this evening. And if the score stays that way....penalties! Will Barça park the bus? Unlikely. Will they go out and try kill the game off as early as they can? More likely.
20:40 | Eusebio's Real Sociedad will also be lining up in a 4-3-3 formation, with Aritz Elustondo, Raúl Navas, Íñigo Martínez and Yuri at the back, Illarramendi, Zurutuza and Xabi Prieto the middle trio, and Vela up front with Oyrarzabal and Willian José.
20:35 | So it looks like Luis Enrique will be deploying a back four of Roberto, Pique, Umtiti and Alba tonight, with Mascherano sitting in front of them in place of the injured Busquets. The little Argentine will have Denis and Gomes marauding either side of him, while the formidable MSN of Messi, Suarez and Neymar form Barça's attacking trident.
20:30 | Just 45 minutes to go now. Sit tight.
20:20 | A reminder of the uphill battle Real Sociedad are facing tonight. They go to Camp Nou needing to overturn a 1-0 aggregate deficit after their 1st leg home defeat. And while that doesn't seem like such a mountain to climb, history is not exactly on their side. They last beat Los Azulgranas away in the 1990/91 season. That said, Barça overturned their own decade-long hoodoo in San Sebastian last week, so anything could happen.
20:15 | The teams are indeed now out, and you can view both sides' lineups in full at the top of the page.
20:05 | As we await the announcement of the teams very shortly, this just in: Alen Halilovic, who Barça only sold to Hamburg last summer, has returned to Spain joining Las Palmas on loan.
19:30 | Weather watch: It'll be cold but dry at Camp Nou tonight. If you're lucky enough to be going, take a hat and scarf, no need for the cagoule though.
18:10 | ICYMI: Neymar's dad dancing in training had teammates Messi and Suárez in fits of laughter yesterday. Worth a watch, if just for giggle.
17:15 | FC Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium is featured in part II of our look at LaLiga grounds
16:25 | It happened to Barça in early 2016 and it seems to be happening to Zidane's Madrid...win the FIFA Club World Cup and then suffer a dramatic dip in form
14:30 | Real Sociedad coach Eusebio and his take on tonight's game
10:00 | After last night's drama at Balaídos, the focus heads to the northeast for the Copa del Rey quarter-final between Barcelona and Real Sociedad. We'll be bringing you live updates throughout the day as we count down to kick-off in what promises to be a fascinating match.
Barcelona-Real Sociedad: match preview
Holders Barça play their fifth match against Basque opposition since the turn of the year as Real Sociedad visit the Camp Nou aiming to overturn a 1-0 deficit from last week's first leg.
La Real last went all the way in the Copa thirty years ago, back in 1987; they come up against hosts, meanwhile, who are bidding to make it three cup wins on the trot.
Last Thursday's last-eight opener saw Barcelona banish a decade-long hoodoo at Anoeta, as Neymar's penalty handed the Catalans their first victory away to La Real since 2007.
Due to name his squad for the return on the day of the game, coach Luis Enrique has injury absentees in midfield, with Sergio Busquets joining Andrés Iniesta and Rafinha Alcántara in the sickbay in recent days.
Busquets is out with a sprained ankle suffered in a horrific challenge by Gonzalo Escalante in Barça's 4-0 LaLiga win at Eibar on Sunday, Iniesta remains unavailable with a soleus strain picked up in San Sebastián, and Rafinha continues his recovery from a hamstring problem.
But speaking to the media on the eve of the match - one Barça go into on the back of four straight wins in all competitions - the boss was unfazed by the trio's absence, insisting he still has "plenty of options".
Should his side complete the job tonight, they'll seal their seventh semi-final appearance in a row in Spain's domestic cup competition.
Real Sociedad bounced back from defeat in the first leg with a 1-0 weekend LaLiga win over Celta Vigo - who knocked Real Madrid out of the Copa on Wednesday - and, currently in fifth, Eusebio Sacristán's men are enjoying a fine league campaign.
However, they face an uphill battle to turn the tie around at the Camp Nou and prolong their involvement in this term's cup. It's fair to say history isn't on their side: they go to a ground on which they last beat Los Azulgranas in the 1990/91 season.
And with two goals required to stand a chance of advancing to the semi-finals without the need for penalties, they'll have to manage more in a single game in the Ciudad Condal than they have since 1996.
Despite the size of their task, Eusebio was in upbeat mood as he prepared to visit his former club. "We have complete faith in our chances of going through to the semis," he said. "Our hopes and expectations that we had when we entered this competition haven't changed."
The Txuri-urdin make the trip to Barcelona having added right-back Joseba Zaldúa and forward David Concha to their injury list.