MADRID (REUTERS) - Luis Suarez inspired a spectacular Barcelona comeback which saw them recover from two goals down to beat Real Sociedad 4-2 at Anoeta on Sunday (Jan 14).
Willian Jose sent the hosts ahead in the 11th minute and Juanmi added a second goal in the 34th at a ground where Barcelona had not won in La Liga since 2007.
However Suarez set up Paulinho to pull one back before half-time before scoring twice himself, to ensure Barcelona would remain unbeaten and nine points clear of second-place Atletico Madrid at the top of the table at the halfway stage of the season.
Lionel Messi added some gloss with a perfectly placed free kick for Barcelona’s fourth goal in the 85th minute, to end a thrilling game in spectacular fashion. “The negative run of results we’ve had at Anoeta has changed,” Suarez told Movistar.
“This ground is always difficult and we are happy with the result. Obviously we wanted to continue on the same path, knowing that here it’s always difficult to get something.
“This is the best way to finish the first half of the season, winning and coming back in a game we were losing 2-0.”
Real Sociedad started the game brimming with confidence despite recording just one win in their previous eight matches in all competitions and they did not take long to go ahead. Xabi Prieto’s cross found striker Willian Jose, who escaped Paulinho and sent a bouncing header past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The Brazilian was unfortunate to see another strike ruled out, with David Zurutuza harshly penalised for a foul on Ivan Rakitic in the build-up. However Sociedad soon made it two when Sergio Canales’s superb lofted through-ball was dispatched by Juanmi, whose effort deflected in off Sergi Roberto. It looked like Barcelona were going to be beaten at Anoeta again but Suarez had other ideas.
The striker forced his way down the left and put in a low cross for Paulinho to bundle home in the 39th minute. Five minutes into the second half Roberto and Messi combined to set up Suarez, who curled home a stunning effort from just inside the area to level the score.
Racing on to Thomas Vermaelen’s header in the 71st minute, he slotted home his second goal, before Messi’s late dead-ball contribution. Beyond maintaining their advantage in the title race, the Catalans also moved 19 points clear of Real Madrid and extended their unbeaten streak to 29 games.