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Barcelona 1-0 Real Sociedad: Ousmane Dembele strike sends Barca into semi-final of Copa del Rey

A stunner from Ousmane Dembele against Real Sociedad sent Barcelona into the semi-final of the Copa del Rey.

In a clash between two of the most in-form sides in Spain, it was the hosts who started the game the brighter, with Xavi’s men showing attacking intent from the first whistle.

After 11 minutes on the clock the Blaugrana had the ball in the back of the net but it was ruled out for offside. Robert Lewandowski’s effort took a touch off Frenkie de Jong who was standing beyond the last line of defence. It was the correct decision but a warning sign for La Real.

After 20 minutes Barcelona had another huge chance to take the lead, this time Ousmane Dembele was able to find space before playing a superb incisive pass into Frenkie de Jong who slid at full stretch to meet it but could only divert his effort wide of the post.

On the half hour mark Imanol Alguacil’s side came within inches of taking the lead completely against the run of the play. 19-year-old Pablo Marin did superbly in a tight space to slip in Takefusa Kubo who struck a vicious effort towards goal which crashed off the crossbar.

Just when the Basque side were growing into the game, disaster struck. In the 39th minute Brais Mendez was initially given a yellow card for a strong studs up challenge on Robert Lewandowski, just moments later and after a quick VAR check, yellow turned to red and La Real were down to ten men.

Barcelona came out for the second half with the same attacking vigour they showed in the first half and after seven minutes they found the breakthrough. Ousmane Dembele burst through on the right-hand side before smashing an effort near post past Alex Remiro to put his side ahead. The goalkeeper managed to get a hand on the shot but it wasn’t enough.

The Catalan side went agonisingly close to making it 2-0 after 68 minutes, Dembele this time turned provider – superbly cutting a pass across to Gavi who saw his first-time effort strike the crossbar.

Barcelona survived a couple of nearly moments from La Real at the end but overall Xavi’s side managed the game well in the second half to see out the victory, put an end to Real Sociedad’s nine-match win streak and send Barcelona to the Copa del Rey semi-final.

TALKING POINT – RUTHLESSNESS NEEDED

Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez was not a happy man following Barcelona’s 1-0 win over Getafe on Sunday, they had to ride their luck at times and despite scoring in the first half, they ultimately scraped the three points despite having nearly 70% of the ball. It felt at any moment that Barcelona would click into gear and put the game to bed but that moment never arrived. Tonight Barcelona put in a much better performance but Barca’s lack of ruthlessness – particularly against ten men – will frustrate the Barcelona head coach to no end. The Blaugrana had plenty of chances to kill the game but simply couldn’t find the composure to get their second of the game. In the recent derby against Espanyol, Barcelona had 21 shots but couldn’t find the killer second goal and the match ended up a 1-1 draw, in the match against Osasuna it was an 85th minute winner from Raphinha that spared Barca’s blushes. On one hand it is fantastic for Xavi that Barcelona are winning matches, but I imagine he’d hope they could start putting the match to bed earlier to avoid any late drama.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH – OUSMANE DEMBELE (FC BARCELONA)

The French forward was exceptional tonight for Barcelona. It was his superb goal that gave Barcelona the lead but it was his overall display that was impressive. In the first half he was constantly giving the Real Sociedad defenders a headache, twisting and turning on the right. He put in a succession of good crosses and passes into dangerous areas and on another day he could have ended the match with a couple of assists, including one to Frenkie de Jong that could have easily resulted in a goal had the Dutchman got his finish right and another great pass to Gavi who struck the crossbar with his effort. A brilliant attacking performance from the 25-year-old.

Ousmane Dembélé

Image credit: Getty Images

PLAYER RATINGS

FC BARCELONA: Ter Stegen 7, Kounde 7, Araujo 7, Christensen 7, Balde 7, Pedri 7, Busquets 8, de Jong 7, Dembele 9, Lewandowski 7, Gavi 7

SUBS: Kessie 6, Raphinha 6, Fati 6, Alonso N/A

REAL SOCIEDAD: Remiro 6, Rico 6, Le Normand 6, Zubeldia 6, Elustondo 6, Zubimendi 7, Mendez 4, Marin 6, Kubo 7, Sorloth 6, Oyarzabal 6

SUBS: Navarro 6, Barrenetxea 6, Olasagasti 6, Munoz 6, Fernandez N/A

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

11 – NO GOAL! – Barcelona have the ball in the back of the net but it’s offside. Lewandowski fires an effort towards goal which hits Frenkie de Jong on the goal line who was in an offside position.

18′ BIG CHANCE! That is a big chance for Barcelona! Jules Kounde finds Ousmane Dembele who runs at the La Real defence before bending an effort just wide of the post.

20′ BIG CHANCE! – Ousmane Dembele once again fires a in a brilliant cross which Frenkie slides in to meet but it’s wide of the post.

30′ CROSSBAR! – What a goal that would have been! Pablo Marin does brilliantly to find space before finding Take Kubo who strikes a vicious effort onto the crossbar!

39′ RED CARD – REAL SOCIEDAD – Brais Mendez is sent off for his challenge on Robert Lewandowski.

51′ GOAL – FC BARCELONA Xavi’s side find the breakthrough and it’s Ousmane Dembele! He uses his acceleration to get in on the right before firing an effort in at the near post and past Alex Remiro. He’s been the best player on the pitch so far.

68′ CROSSBAR! – A huge chance for Barcelona to extend their lead to 2-0. Ousmane Dembele with a fantastic ball into Gavi who strikes it first time and it cannons back off the bar.

KEY STAT

Real Sociedad’s run of nine consecutive wins (the best in their history) comes to an end.

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