MADRID: Barcelona started life without Lionel Messi by beating Real Sociedad 4-2 in the opening match of La Liga near the Camp Nou this morning as fans admitted they felt like “being in a foreign place.”
Captain Gerard Pique gave them an early goal in the 19th minute which was also the club’s 50th goal.
Martin Braithwaite found the net in injury time of the first half and the 59th minute.
Sergi Roberto added a fourth goal in the final minutes of the game.
However, they had to hold their breath as Sociedad bounced back from a 3-0 deficit to 3-2 thanks to a goal from 20-year-old Julen Lobete in the 82nd minute and a 30-meter free-kick by team captain Mikel Oyarzabal three minutes later.
“Our fellow supporters, they want to see football,” Pique said.
“We knew they would feel that way. We knew what Leo had to offer, but everything has changed and we need to keep going.
“We’re still very competitive and we’re going to fight for the title to the finish. We may not have talent like that, but we’re proving we can play together.”
Meanwhile, defending La Liga champions Atletico Madrid also created a 2-1 victory at Celta Vigo.