After Barcelona’s shock defeat at the hands of Real Sociedad, FIFA Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi felt that it was coming.
The Barcelona forward told the club’s official website: “Losing a game had to come at some point.”
Barca suffered their first loss of the campaign, despite being two goals to the good after 25 minutes. Argentinian Messi put the Catalan giants in front after collecting Andres Iniesta’s pass before putting it just past the Sociedad goalkeeper.
Pedro doubled the lead for the visitors, tapping home Dani Alves’ cross from close range.
It looked like another victory and possibly a goal rout for Barcelona, but just before half-time, Sociedad forward Gonzalo Castro closed the gap to one goal, cracking a low shot past keeper Victor Valdes.
After the break, it did not get any better for Messi & Co, as Gerard Pique was shown a second yellow and then the red, leaving the away side’s defence a little light.
Messi said: “It’s always more difficult when you’re down a man.”
This was correct, as Sociedad did not waste any time after the dismissal, with make-shift defender Javier Mascherano deflecting Castro’s shot into his own net.
With Tito Vilanova's side rattled to the core, they were looking fragile and liable to concede another goal and the game.
With time running out, Barcelona looked to have held on, but they did not anticipate substitute Imanol Agirretxe beating veteran defender Carles Puyol to a sublime cross and nudging it to Valdes’ left.
Messi concluded: “We have to pick ourselves up because we have a Cup match”
Barcelona will need to win against Malaga to ensure safe passage into the semi-finals of the Copa Del Rey.