Real Madrid F.C. moved three points clear at the top of La Liga as Barcelona suffered their second league defeat in four games with a 3-1 reverse away to Real Sociedad.
Earlier yesterday, Madrid had comfortably seen off Elche 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu thanks in part to a spectacular long-range strike from Gareth Bale.
Barcelona had come into the game on a high after beating
Manchester City in their much-anticipated Champions League tie on Tuesday, but went behind when Alex Song turned Sergio Canales' cross into his own net.
Lionel Messi restored parity almost instantly with aclinical left-footed finish.
However, two goals in the opening 15 minutes of the
second-half from Antoine Griezmann and David Zurutuza handed Sociedad a deserved victory.
"We didn't feel comfortable and we didn't have possession, which is our strength. That allowed then to create chances," Barca defender Gerard Pique told Spanish TV station Canal Plus.
"Now we have a week to rest and reflect on why things
did't go well. It is not worrying, we just have to continue
onto the next game."
Barca boss Gerardo Martino had made six changes from the
side that started in Manchester as Neymar made his first start
in a month.
After a slow start from the visitors, Pedro came close to
opening the scoring when he sliced Andres Iniesta's pass just
It was Sociedad who struck first, though, as Song bundled
the ball into his own net under pressure from Gorka Elustondo.
The lead lasted only three minutes as Messi fired home
his seventh goal in his last five games with an unerring
finish from the edge of the area.
Sociedad should have been back in front before half-time
when Carlos Vela pounced on an error from Gerard Pique, but
the Mexican wastefully blasted over the bar with just Victor
Valdes to beat.
Barca were dealt a blow at half-time when coach Gerardo
Martino was sent to the stands for the second half after
taking his protests towards the officials too far as they
headed down the tunnel.
And the Catalans' defence also seemed to completely lose
their composure at the start of the second-half as Sociedad
opened them up at will.