Barcelona’s LaLiga title celebrations fell flat at Camp Nou as they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Real Sociedad on Saturday.
Xavi’s side claimed the top-flight crown with a 4-2 win over Espanyol last time out, with the team celebrating on the pitch afterwards – much to the chagrin of their rivals’ fans.
Yet the Blaugrana were unable to mark their first league title since 2019 with a victory on their return home, with Mikel Merino’s early strike and Alexander Sorloth’s breakaway finish claiming the points for La Real.
Robert Lewandowski’s late header sparked hope for Barca, but their visitors clung on for a first away win at Camp Nou since May 1991, putting Imanol Alguacil’s side in the box seat for Champions League football with three games remaining.
La Real caught their hosts cold on the counter inside five minutes, with Merino tucking home an early finish.
Barca seemed set to equalise when Ousmane Dembele met Lewandowski’s delivery, but Alex Remiro made a fantastic save, before the Poland international dragged wide from close range.
1 – Alexander Sørloth is the first @RealSociedadEN player to score and assist against Barcelona at Camp Nou in @LaLigaEN in the 21st century.
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) May 20, 2023
The Blaugrana meanwhile lived a charmed life at the other end, as Ander Barrenetxea squandered two golden opportunities either side of Marc-Andre ter Stegen denying Mohamed Ali-Cho.
Sorloth subsequently headed wide from six yards out, but the Norway international made no mistake afterwards when he finished a superb counter-attack, before Ter Stegen made a superb stop to deny Diego Rico.
Lewandowski’s fine header set up a grandstand finish late on, but La Real held firm through five minutes of added time to move five points clear of fifth-place Villarreal with a worthy win.
What does it mean? Memorable victory ruins title party
There was to be no title-capping victory for Barca, though in truth they were far from deserving of one.
La Real went into Saturday’s game having lost each of their last 24 trips to Camp Nou in LaLiga, having drawn there in 1995.
The visitors registered 1.9 xG to Barca’s 1.5, with 12 of their 13 shots coming from inside the hosts’ area, showing how easily they found space in the final third at times.
Sorloth the star man
After missing a simple chance to put La Real 2-0 up, Sorloth could easily have fluffed his lines when one-on-one with Ter Stegen, who was arguably Barca’s best player.
Instead, he became the first La Real player to both score and assist against Barca at Camp Nou in a league game in the 21st century.
Ter Stegen stops it getting ugly
Barca’s goalkeeper could head to the tunnel with his head held high, after making four saves, including an outstanding one from Rico after Sorloth had made it 2-0 to La Real.
Real Valladolid are next up for Barca, while La Real face Almeria at home.
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