Araujo's Last-Minute Winner Lifts Barca Over Real Sociedad

Araujo’s Last-Minute Winner Lifts Barca Over Real Sociedad

Ronald Araujo delivered a dramatic late header in the 92nd minute to secure Barcelona an unmerited 1-0 triumph against Real Sociedad in La Liga on Saturday.

Having endured a heartbreaking loss to Real Madrid in the Clasico just last Saturday despite playing the better football, Xavi Hernandez’s team inflicted similar agony on Real Sociedad in San Sebastian.

Barcelona struggled to generate any clear opportunities until the final moments, with their goalkeeper, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, keeping the score level. Araujo then nodded home Ilkay Gundogan’s cross in the dying seconds.

This victory propelled Barcelona into third place, two points ahead of Atletico Madrid, who suffered a defeat on Friday against Las Palmas. They now sit just one point behind second-placed Real Madrid, who are set to face Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.

Girona provisionally led La Liga by three points over Los Blancos after they came from behind to defeat Osasuna earlier on Saturday.

Xavi included Robert Lewandowski in Barcelona’s starting lineup after he returned from injury as a substitute in the Madrid match. However, the Polish forward remained as uninvolved as he was last weekend, with the game largely passing him and Barcelona by.

During the first half, Real Sociedad pushed Barcelona back and created significantly better chances, yet they couldn’t find the opener.

Within the first 30 seconds, Ander Barrenetxea forced Ter Stegen into action, and the German goalkeeper soon denied Mikel Oyarzabal as well.

Ter Stegen made a critical save with his feet to block a Takefusa Kubo attempt at the back post, with Real Sociedad regularly threatening from dangerous areas.

Barcelona, on the other hand, provided very little at the opposite end, with only a wayward Joao Cancelo effort in response.

Ter Stegen thwarted Martin Zubimendi’s attempt as the hosts continued to apply intense pressure at the Reale Arena.

Gundogan had urged his teammates to exhibit more after their Clasico setback, but he was as guilty as anyone, frequently losing possession under La Real’s pressure.

Fermin Lopez managed Barcelona’s first shot on target near the end of the first half, a feeble low effort easily handled by Alex Remiro.

Real Sociedad maintained control after the break, but Barcelona found more defensive stability, closing down some of the space that Barrenetxea and Kubo had previously exploited.

Pedri made his comeback from injury in the second half, replacing Lewandowski for his first appearance since August, as Xavi aimed for more control.

Ter Stegen denied a Barrenetxea volley from the edge of the box, marking the 21-year-old forward’s final contribution in an impressive performance.

Substitute Ferran Torres blasted a shot from the edge of the box, reflecting Barcelona’s night until that point. However, the champions finally produced a legitimate chance in stoppage time.

Pedri cleverly set up Gavi, but Remiro thwarted the midfielder who should have found the net.

Their opportunity to secure victory appeared to have vanished, but center-back Araujo emerged in the right place at the right time to perform the late heist.