Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez said that football is “inexplicable” after Ronald Araujo scored the game-winning goal in the 92nd minute, giving Barcelona a 1-0 win over Real Sociedad in La Liga on Saturday.
After falling to Real Madrid in the last seconds in the Clasico last Saturday, even though they had the better of the game, Xavi’s team did the same thing to Real Sociedad in San Sebastian.
Barcelona didn’t have any clear chances until the very end. Their custodian Marc-Andre Ter Stegen kept the score even until Ilkay Gundogan’s cross was headed home by Araujo with seconds left.
Barcelona is now in third place, one point behind Real Madrid in second place, who play Rayo Vallecano on Sunday. Atletico Madrid is in fourth place, two points behind, having lost at Las Palmas on Friday.
After coming back from two down to beat Osasuna 4–2, Girona is now temporarily ahead of Real Madrid in La Liga by three points.
“It tastes amazing,” Xavi told Movistar after Araujo’s late winner.
“Football sometimes is inexplicable — last week we deserved to win and ended up losing, now (we) don’t deserve to win, and end up winning.”
Barcelona’s first league loss came from a brace by Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham. Xavi said that the team was still processing what happened because La Real played better than them.
“Maybe we came out with a post-Clasico hangover… we didn’t have the intensity that we wanted,” said Xavi.
Robert Lewandowski was brought back into the starting lineup for Barcelona by the coach after coming off the bench against Madrid to play.
And the Polish forward was just as quiet as he was last weekend. For long stretches, the game went by him and Barcelona without them.
During the first half, Real Sociedad pushed the Catalans back and had by far the better chances, but they couldn’t score the first goal.
Ander Barrenetxea called for Ter Stegen to come on in the first 30 seconds, and the hosts pounded the ball forward hard, putting pressure on the German custodian.
Real Sociedad still had the lead after halftime, but Barcelona became more stable by cleaning up at the back and cutting off some of the space Barrenetxea and Kubo had earlier.
In the second half, Xavi tried to take more control by replacing Lewandowski with Pedri, who had been out with an illness since August.
In injury time, Pedri cleverly put Gavi through, but Remiro saved the midfielder’s shot. It was the winners’ first real chance.
It looked like they would lose the chance to steal the points, but center-back Araujo was in the right place at the right time to pull off the trick.
“These are three very important points after coming from the Clasico, which we lost playing well,” Araujo shared with Movistar.
Because of the loss, Real Sociedad is now in sixth place. Real Betis beat Mallorca to move ahead of them.
According to Real Sociedad forward Mikel Oyarzabal, “we were better than them in general, but we didn’t finish our chances, and they scored the one they had.”
“I think it’s worse to lose without showing up, to lose without playing well… if you have to lose, I prefer to lose like this.”
Top of Girona
Yesterday, Girona made an amazing return late in the game to beat Osasuna and move into first place.
The guests went ahead thanks to Ivan Martin’s goal, but Ante Budimir scored twice for Osasuna to turn the game around.
Artem Dovbyk and Viktor Tsygankov, both from Ukraine, scored goals for Girona to put them ahead again, and Aleix Garcia sealed the win late on. It was their 10th win in 12 league games.
Girona coach Michel, on the other hand, said that his team wasn’t fighting with Spain’s “big three,” but with the other teams that wanted to get into the top four.
“We’re not in the league of Barca, Madrid and Atleti, but we will fight to be in the league of those coming in behind them,” stated Michel.
“I dream of that, being in the league of La Real (Sociedad), Athletic, Rayo… now, yes, I dream of that league.”
Real Betis beat Real Mallorca 2-0 at home, which was another game in that matchup.
When Nabil Fekir came on as a replacement for Betis, he was coming back from a knee ligament injury that had kept him out since February.
Rafa Benitez’s Celta Vigo stayed in the relegation zone after Youssef En-Nesyri scored late to keep Sevilla’s 1-1 draw at Balaidos.