La Liga: Barcelona win late, go two points clear; Real Madrid, Atletico draw
Barcelona moved two points clear at the top of La Liga on Saturday after riding their luck to come from behind and win 2-1 at Real Sociedad on Saturday.
Champions Barcelona fell behind following a thumping shot from Aritz Elustondo in the 12th minute from a set piece.
They then survived a mini onslaught from the home side in the second half before Luis Suarez levelled in the 63rd with a scrappy goal and Ousmane Dembele gave them a barely deserved lead three minutes later.
The fightback follows Barca's 4-2 win at Anoeta last January and makes them the only team to still have a perfect record in Spain's top flight, where they lead the standings with 12 points, two clear of Real.
Visiting coach Ernesto Valverde decided to start his side's arguably least favourite away trip without Philippe Coutinho and Sergio Busquets ahead of a jammed schedule of six games in 20 days.
That gamble appeared to have backfired when Elustondo smashed home following a knockdown from a corner.
Valverde brought on Coutinho and Busquets early in the second half but their presence initially made little difference as Real Sociedad launched three counter-attacks in quick succession, with only the presence of German goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen preventing the home side from doubling their lead.
Barely a minute after Ter Stegen had blocked a gaping chance for Juanmi, Uruguayan striker Suarez took advantage of some confusion in the area following a free kick and smashed home from close range to the disbelief of the home supporters.
The Catalans took the lead following another set piece, Dembele sending the ball skidding in after goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli had flapped at a corner and left his net unguarded.
Real Sociedad still had several chances to equalise in the final stages but could not keep their composure in front of goal, while Barcelona walked away from a ground where luck has so often deserted them with three scarcely earned points.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid could only draw 1-1 in a highly entertaining game at Athletic Bilbao.
Iker Muniain gave Athletic a deserved lead in the 32nd minute in Bilbao by bundling the ball home after Real failed to get back in time to defend a counter-attack.
The home side had a slew of chances during an entertaining, end-to-end first half, while Real were twice denied by Athletic's impressive 21-year-old goalkeeper Unai Simon.
The visitors finally beat the youngster when Isco nodded home a cross from Gareth Bale in the 63rd minute as Real improved after bringing on midfield anchor Casemiro at the start of the second half.
Simon made two more outstanding saves to thwart Marco Asensio and Sergio Ramos although Athletic continued to counter, Inaki Williams smashing wide and the Basques being denied a penalty when the ball struck Casemiro on the arm while the Brazilian was on the floor.
The decision enraged Athletic supporters in a hostile atmosphere at San Mames, which was mirrored on the pitch as referee Jose Luis Gonzalez Gonzalez handed out eight yellow cards, six to Athletic players.
In La Liga's other match, Atletico Madrid averted an embarrassing home defeat to minnows Eibar by drawing 1-1 thanks to a strike from teenage debutant Borja Garces deep in stoppage time but continued their poor start to the La Liga season.
Eibar, one of the smallest teams in the top flight, took a shock lead with three minutes remaining at the Wanda Metropolitano when striker Sergi Enrich struck the ball in from close range after soft goalkeeping from Jan Oblak.
Atletico had dominated proceedings but were frequently thwarted by Eibar's Serbian keeper Marko Dmitrovic and it took the unlikely figure of academy graduate Garces, 19, to pull them level in the 94th minute, thumping the ball home after controlling a cut-back from Angel Correa.
Atletico have only five points from their opening four games