Barcelona failed to make the most of Real Madrid’s slip-up against Valencia, suffering defeat themselves to David Moyes’ Real Sociedad side.
Luis Enrique made a number of surprise selections, with both Lionel Messi and Neymar left out of the starting line-up as the Barca boss looked to freshen up his team, but the decision backfired almost immediately when Jordi Alba headed into his own goal within three minutes.
The Catalans struggled to find any sort of rhythm in the first half, with Luis Suarez toiling due to a lack of service from those around him. And with Real Sociedad holding form chances were at a premium for Barcelona.
However, Neymar – who was also introduced in the second half – had grounds to feel aggrieved in stoppage time, when he was penalised for kicking the ball from goalkeeper’s Geronimo Rulli’s hands. But the Sociedad number one looked to have thrown the ball cleanly into the air, meaning the goal he subsequently scored should have stood.
Just two points now separate the top three teams in La Liga following Real Madrid’s defeat and Atletico Madrid’s victory over Levante on Saturday, with the Spanish title race tightening after the winter break.
Meanwhile, Moyes was left to savour one of the most famous nights of his career as he produced a response to his many critics.