Barcelona were again less than spectacular but they none the less will take a 2-0 lead into the second leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal after defeating Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou. Sergio Busquets scored late in the first half and the Blaugrana added a second thanks to one of the weirder own-goals you'll ever see.
Barca came close to taking the lead in the 12th minute when Lionel Messi moved the ball out right to Alves. The fullback sent a low skipping cross toward the far post, where Cesc Fàbregas got a touch on the ball to put it on frame. Real Sociedad goalkeeper Zubikarai was on top of things, blocking the shot off the line.
In the 26th minute Zubikarai was at a it again, twice denying Messi from close range. Fàbregas' laser beam pass found Messi, who'd somehow managed to slip into space between two defenders, in the middle of the La Real box. Messi simply stuck out his boot a redirected the ball but Zubikarai was on top things and the shot. Messi was able to get a boot on the rebound but the Zubikarai stopped that as well with his legs.
Barca were nearly undone in the 42nd minute when Carlos Vela blew past the defense and raced in against José Manuel Pinto. Vela got a shot off, despite clearly being dragged to the ground by Javier Mascherano, but Pinto made an excellent save with his feet. La Real players were rightly furious that the referee either missed or ignored the clear penalty and Barca took advantage.
In the 44th minute Gerard Piqué headed a ball up in the air inside the box that was volleyed back across the area by Pedro. Sergio Busquets was well placed and unmarked as the ball got through a crowd and rolled right to the midfielder, who directed it past Zubikarai.
As La Real players protested after the goal, defender Iñigo Martinez was shown a straight red card by the referee, presumably for pointing out that the referee had completely missed a penalty call against Vela.
With the man advantage, Barca chipped away at the La Real defense and finally added a second goal in the 60th minute thanks to what can only be described as a sadly comical own-goal.
Alexis Sánchez cut across the top of the box, taking a pass from Fàbregas and hammering it off the far post. The ball ricocheted back cross the face of goal to Gorka Elustondo, whose clearance attempt hit Zubikarai's back and rolled across the line. It's an early leader for weirdest own-goal of the year and you can see it here.
Barca continued to dominate but wasted chance after chance to extend the lead and put the tie out of reach for La Real. Some was down to not hitting the target but Zubikarai deserves credit for impersonating a stonewall in front of the goal as well. While overcoming a 2-0 deficit against Barca is tough, the door remains cracked open for the second leg next week.
Barcelona: Pinto, Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Jordi Alba, Busquets, Xavi, Fàbregas (Tello 85'), Sánchez (Iniesta 73'), Pedro, Messi
Goals: Busquets (44'), Zubikarai (o.g. 60')
Real Sociedad: Zubikarai, Mikel (C. Martinez 19'), I. Martinez, Ansotegi, Zurutuza, J.Angel, Gaztañaga, Elustondo, Zaldua, Griezmann (Seferovic 82'), Vela (Canales 72')