Real Sociedad vs. Barcelona  3 - 2

Article

Pique: I´m not a dirty player

20 January 2013 16:34

Gerard Pique has defended his disciplinary record at Barcelona after being sent off in the 3-2 defeat to Real Sociedad.

The 25-year-old defender was dismissed after receiving two yellow cards from referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco, the first for obstructing a free-kick and the second for a foul on Carlos Vela, in a match that saw the leaders beaten for the first time in La Liga this season.

The Spain centre-half, speaking to journalists after the game, regretted the red card but did not appear to blame the official for his decision.

"They were two isolated instances where the referee decided to give a yellow card, and that's that," he told Marca.

"We have to accept it. I don't consider myself a dirty player at all, but I was given my marching orders."

However, Pique later took to Twitter to defend his disciplinary record.

"Season 2012/13: 14 games played, seven fouls committed, five yellow cards, one red," he wroteon the social networking site.

It was the sixth time Pique has been sent off in his career.

Despite the result against Sociedad, Barcelona remain top of the table with 55 points from 20 games.

Article

Vilanova frustrated by Pique dismissal

20 January 2013 08:32

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova was left frustrated by Gerard Pique's red card as his side lost for the first time in La Liga this season.

The Spanish international was handed a second booking against Real Sociedad as the league leaders surrendered a two-goal lead and their 19-match unbeaten streak to lose 3-2.

"Even if his (Pique's) sending-off was for a clear foul, there must have been 200 other cases similar to his tonight," Vilanova said.

"I don't have to add more.

"At half-time, I told Pique to be careful, as his next foul would most likely result in a second caution."

But the Barcelona boss also praised Philippe Montanier's Sociedad, who have not lost at home to his side in the past three seasons.

"Credit to Real Sociedad," he said.

"Their win is more due to their merit, rather than us not playing well. I have nothing to reproach the players for."

Veteran defender Carlos Puyol lamented Barcelona's first league loss of the season as did midfielder Xavi, but both admitted it was bound to happen at some stage.

"We should have scored more in the first half, but even if we had a 3-0 lead, it would not have been over, they have a great team," Puyol said.

"It's a pity, we could have gone up with (Lionel) Messi's shot against the post in the first half," Xavi said.

"The loss had to happen one day though, let's move on."

Messi, too, said the defeat was not entirely unexpected, but added that the side must now rebound with a win in the Cope del Rey.

"Losing a game had to come at some point. We have to pick ourselves up immediately because of the cup match coming up," he said.

Despite the loss, Barcelona still lie top of La Liga, 11 points ahead of second-placed Atletico Madrid.

The Camp Nou outfit travel to Malaga in midweek for their Copa del Rey quarter-final.

Article

Kodro lavishes praise on Barca

19 January 2013 14:14

Former Real Sociedad and Barcelona attacker Meho Kodro has praised Tito Vilanova's side ahead of Saturday's match against the Basque outfit.

The former Bosnia and Herzegovina international wore the Barca jersey in 1995/96, and is impressed with the way they have dominated the game in recent years.

"Barca? Football doesn't get any better than that," he told the club's official website.

"I am sure that something even better will come along one day, but right now, as far as I'm concerned, there's nothing better. They have marked an era in every sense.

"They say it is easier to get there than to stay there, but Barca have managed to do both things phenomenally.

"They were very clear about what they were doing on the way up and have managed to stay at the top for a long time. That's a very difficult thing to do."

The 45-year-old had nothing but praise for four-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi.

"Messi is simply genius in a person's body. (Pep) Guardiola was very clever to give him more freedom. A genius like that has to be let loose to do his job."

The Argentine has netted 28 goals in La Liga this term.

Article

Griezmann up for Barca test

18 January 2013 17:23

Real Sociedad's Antoine Griezmann says his team can become the first to inflict a league defeat on Barcelona this season.

Barca are nine points clear at the top of La Liga and are yet to be beaten, having won 18 and drawn one of their matches to date, but the winger is up for the challenge.

"It motivates me a lot and I hope that we are the first team to beat them, we have the ability to do it. We have to be at our best in defence and take the few opportunities that we have," Griezmann told Mundo Deportivo.

Sociedad sit in ninth place ahead of Saturday's encounter, 29 points adrift of Tito Vilanova's side, but Griezmann insisted it is a match he is approaching with relish.

"At the start of the season you always look for the games against Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico because they are emotional to play in," he said.

"In 90 minutes anything can happen. We are eager to take the three points."

The France Under-21 international has made 16 appearances for the San Sebastian side so far this season, scoring three goals.

Primera División table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +75 100
2 38 +61 85
3 38 +34 76
4 38 +21 66
5 38 +13 65
6 38 +3 57
7 38 +1 56
8 38 -16 53
9 38 +4 50
10 38 -14 47
11 38 -17 46
12 38 -21 45
13 38 -9 44
14 38 -9 43
15 38 -17 42
16 38 -17 39
17 38 -15 37
18 38 -29 36
19 38 -23 35
20 38 -25 34