Barcelona fight to revive title bid


Madrid (AFP)

Barcelona reignited their La Liga title push on Wednesday coming back from a goal to defeat Real Sociedad 2-1.

The victory allowed Barcelona to move six points from the top of the table, while the defeat meant Sociedad had lost their leadership position to be replaced by Atletico Madrid.

However, Barca did it the hard way.

Sociedad, without a point at Barcelona for 25 years, took the lead thanks to Willian Jose in the 26th minute.

Jordi Alba equalized four minutes later with Frenkie de Jong adding the second just before the break.

Under-seat Barca coach Ronald Koeman played for the side which ceded a point at home to Sociedad in 1995.

The Dutchman feared the worst when Willian Jose scored with a right foot from close range after a corner from Portu.

Alba’s equalizer came within half an hour after a nice exchange of passes between Antoine Griezmann and Pedri.

French star Griezmann hit the bar six minutes later after passing the ball past Sociedad goalkeeper Alex Remiro.

De Jong then gave Barca a 42nd-minute lead with a right-footed workout for his first goal since February.

The goal, however, was only cleared after a VAR consultation for a possible offside.

Griezmann had consecutive chances to increase the lead at the start of the second half.

Lionel Messi had to be treated for a calf injury as the second half ended before Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen turned down Willian Jose from afar and then Alexander Isak.

On Tuesday, Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane hailed Karim Benzema as the best center-forward in French history after his brace against Athletic Bilbao which put them in third place, tied on points with the Atletico and Sociedad.

Bilbao’s Ander Capa had canceled Toni Kroos’ strike before Benzema, 32, struck twice late, coming home with a cross 16 minutes to go and clinically finishing in pass timeout by Luka Modric.

Subsequently, Zidane did not hesitate to declare Benzema the best center-forward in France of all time, placing him at the top of a list that includes Thierry Henry, Kylian Mbappe, Jean-Pierre Papin and Just Fontaine.

“For me he’s the best – it’s very clear,” said Zidane, the legend of the French midfielder who won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 with Les Bleus.

“He’s proven it – he’s been playing for Real Madrid for a very long time, he has over 500 appearances, all of his goals… his record, everything he’s accomplished here speaks for itself,” Zidane added.


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