Barca too good for Sociedad
Barcelona's Lionel Messi
Carles Puyol, Pedro Rodriguez and David Villa scored the other goals for the Catalans, while Gonzalo Castro pulled one back for the visitors.
The hosts opened the scoring in the 4th minute through captain Puyol who showed how useful he can be at the other end as he shook off his marker to head home from a Xavi Hernandez corner.
The lead only lasted for five minutes before Philipe Montaner’s side got back on level terms when Castro blasted his left-footed shot into the roof of the net after he was put through by Asier Illarramendi.
However, it took Barcelona less than two minutes to restore their lead as Pedro found Messi inside the box and the Argentine went through two defenders before seeing his deflected strike ending up in the back of the net.
Messi double his tally in the 16th minute as he got in ahead of defender Ansotegui Gorostola to poke the ball past Claudio Bravo, connecting with a cross from left winger Cristian Tello.
The Argentine was denied his hat-trick in the 36th minute after good interplay between him and Cesc Fabregas, but Bravo did well to push the ball to safety, while Illarramendi saw his long range lob tipped over the crossbar by Victor Valdes a minute later.
Then in the 41st minute a brilliant build up from Tito Vilanova’s men saw Xavi releasing Tello on the left, who then chipped the ball towards the far post for Pedro to sidefoot home on the half-volley to extend the lead before the break.
Castro, who was the best infield player for the visitors, came close to grabbing his brace five minutes after the break after sneaking behind the Barca defence, but his shot went just wide of the post.
Two minutes later Messi had another chance to score his third goal of the match after playing a neat one-two with Pedro, but his shot ended up against the sidenetting.
Xavi was the next player to be denied by the Real Sociedad goalkeeper in the 64th minute as he fired a powerful shot on target from outside the box, but Bravo was equal to the task as he dived to his right to keep the ball out.The victory was sealed in the 84th minute when substitute Villa, who hadn’t played a La Liga game for Barca since fracturing his leg in December last year, placed his shot past Bravo after receiving a cut-back pass from Andres Iniesta.