Valverde rejects suggestions he spared players ahead of El Clasico

Valverde rejects suggestions he spared players ahead of El Clasico

Sociedad manager Imanol Alguacil described the game as "a champion's game with champion's fans".

Barcelona's frustrations were heightened by the fact Sociedad had taken the lead from a spot-kick of their own after 12 minutes, when Sergio Busquets was penalised for tugging Llorente's shirt in circumstances not dissimilar to those involving Pique at the end of the match. Barca is 11-1-3 and just ahead of rival Real Madrid days ahead of El Clasico, while Sociedad is 8-3-5 but has won just one of of its last four games.

"I do not want to distract from what we have tomorrow, because for us three points against Real Sociedad is the same as the three points against Real Madrid".

The hosts remained in the ascendancy for much of the first half, but Barca pulled level in the 38th minute courtesy of a devastating break.

Suarez put the visitors ahead in the 49th with a strike into the open net after a pass by Messi, who attracted the defenders before making the assist.

Sociedad levelled shortly after the hour mark, as Swedish youngster Alexander Isak pounced on a loose ball and smashed it home from close range. The away fixture could be a great opportunity to test both the players before Los Blanco's visit to the Nou Camp next Wednesday.

What does it mean? Real Sociedad are fourth on 28.

A mistake by Barca's usually excellent goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen gifted la Real an equaliser in a thrilling contest at Anoeta between two of the division's most attacking teams. They have also threatened to block the streets around Camp Nou with more than 20,000 people expected to join the protest.

Madrid loanee Odegaard is enjoying a fine season and the young midfielder was a lively and creative presence throughout this match. I have not seen it repeated but I will say that it is a penalty and that the Busquets one was not. He generously sidefooted left to Suarez, who had an open goal.

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