Barcelona 1-0 Real Sociedad: Andres Iniesta bows out with Barcelona win
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 21/05/18 6:59am
Andres Iniesta ended his Barcelona career with a 1-0 win against Real Sociedad on Sunday, as the hosts lifted the La Liga trophy.
The midfielder announced earlier in the season that he would be leaving the club after 22 years and played 81 minutes at the Nou Camp before leaving the field to an emotional reception.
It was a stunning strike from Phillipe Coutinho in the 57th minute that sealed the victory for Barcelona and they were presented with the league trophy in front of their fans after the game.
It caps off a successful domestic season for Barcelona, who also won the Copa del Rey a few weeks ago, while Real Sociedad will end the season in 12th place.
Barcelona made one change with Gerard Pique in for Thomas Vermaelen and Andres Iniesta captaining the side. Real Sociedad made six changes with Raul Navas, Asier Illarramendi, Mikel Oyarzabal, Juanmi and Willian Jose keeping their places in the XI.
Real Sociedad did well in the opening exchanges and forced the first save of the game as Adnan Januzaj tried his luck from 20 yards, but his fizzing effort was pushed behind by Marc-Andre ter Stegen. On the 10-minute mark, Iniesta nearly capped his final appearance with a goal but his shot skimmed the outside of the net.
The best chance of the half came in the 26th minute for Barcelona. Coutinho left two Real Sociedad players in his wake before picking out Ousmane Dembele on the right flank, who then lofted a cross into the area which met the head of Ivan Rakitic in the middle but he could only direct the effort over the crossbar.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen (7), Semedo (7), Pique (7), Alba (7), Mina (7), Rakitic (7), Busquets (6), Iniesta (8), Coutinho (7), L Suarez (7), Dembele (7).
Subs used: D Suarez (7), Messi (7), Alcacer (5).
Real Sociedad: Moya (7), Llorente (6), Elustondo (6), Navaa (6), De la Bella (6), Illarramendi (7), Juanmi (6), Januzaj (6), Zurutuza (6), Mikel (6), Willian Jose (7).
Subs used: Canales (5), Osriozola (5), Prieto (n/a).
Man of the match: Andres Iniesta.
Real Sociedad should have gone down to 10 men just before the break as Raul Navas launched into a horrible tackle on Dembele, catching him on the ankle with his studs, but did not receive a red card despite the protests of the home players, although he did go into the referee's book.
Barcelona opened the scoring 12 minutes after the restart, and it was a brilliant goal from Coutinho. He picked up the ball in the middle of the park before finding a sliver of space with Real Sociedad defenders around him. He then hit a thunderous effort from 20 yards that powered into the back of the net.
He was replaced by Lionel Messi in the 67th minute, and Barcelona had two good chances not long after. Gerard Pique's shot from a delivered free-kick was saved by Miguel Angel Moya before Messi was set away down the pitch, picking out Denis Suarez to his right, but the eventual cross from the latter went wide.
Iniesta left the Nou Camp pitch for the final time in the 81st minute to a rousing reception from every corner of the stadium, hugging each Barcelona player before taking his spot on the bench with tears in his eyes as the fans sung his name for the remainder of the match.
Man of the match - Andres Iniesta
Andres Iniesta – Barcelona career— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) May 20, 2018
674th & final app, against R. Sociedad
Only Xavi has more apps for club (767)
Debut (aged 18) v Brugge, Oct 2002
32 trophies, including 9 La Liga titles
4-time CL winner, joint-record in CL era
Named in FIFA World XI in each of last 9 years pic.twitter.com/FkxxdUchgj
Who else could it be? He was involved in everything for Barcelona on Sunday evening, showing why he is still one of the world's best midfielders.
He continuously found that perfect pass, and set up his team-mates to pile forward although they only had the one goal for the evening and his substitution was full of emotion. He will certainly be missed at Barcelona by fans and admirers alike.