Barca tumble to shock loss

Sociedad’s 3-1 win helps Real Madrid to open three-point lead

After a dramatic day of football, Spanish league saw Barcelona slip and Real Madrid leapfrog to the top of the table, going three points clear of reigning champions and leaders Atletico Madrid.

Real Madrid’s 3-0 win at home to Elche, coupled with Barca’s 3-1 defeat away to Real Sociedad marked the change at the top. Barca kicked off knowing they needed a win in order to retain their leadership, but they were always second best to a magnificently-organised Real Sociedad, who played intelligent football and used the pace of Carlos Vela and Antoine Griezmann to win the game.

"We didn't feel comfortable and hold possession which is our strength. This meant that they had openings," Barca defender Gerard Pique told reporters. "Now we have a break for a week and we can consider what went wrong. We are only three points behind so it isn't worrying."

Barca, who also had coach Gerardo Martino dismissed at halftime for complaining to the referee, have 60 points from 25 matches.

The Basques opened the scoring after Alex Song turned a Sergio Canales cross into his own net under pressure from Gorka Elustondo, before Leo Messi scored a smart goal from the edge of the penalty area to take the sides in level at the break.

If Barca thought they would go on to win the second half they were mistaken as first Griezmann and then David Zurutuza punished some slack defending with excellent finishes on the break.

Barcelona found it difficult to break down an organised Sociedad team.  Vela shot over before the hosts took the lead in the 32nd minute when a cross by Sergio Canales went in off Song who was under pressure from Gorka Elustondo.

Barca levelled four minutes later after Sergio Busquets dummied a Martin Montoya pass and the ball found Messi who finished clinically. Sociedad continued to open up a static Barca at the back and Vela scampered clear to cross for Griezmann to make it 2-1 early in the second period.

Zurutuza then sprang the offside trap before steering home a Griezmann pass. Elsewhere, Rafinha earned Celta Vigo a 1-1 draw with Getafe after Angel Lafita had put the visitors ahead while Almeria drew 0-0 with fellow strugglers Malaga.

Real Madrid had few problems in what was a routine win over Elche, although the points were not secured until 18 minutes from time when Gareth Bale scored a stunning 30 yard shot to make the score 2-0.

A deflected shot from Asier Illaramendi had given Madrid the lead after 34 minutes and after Bale had secured the points in a game in which Madrid keeper, Diego Lopez was hardly called into action, Isco rounded off the win with a solo goal 10 minutes from time.

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