Football round-up: Real Sociedad inflict Barcelona's first La Liga loss of the season

 

Mid-table Real Sociedad did what no other La Liga side have managed this season – they beat champions and runaway leaders Barcelona. And, moreover, they came back from 2-0 down, Lionel Messi and Pedro having put Barça firmly in charge at half-time in the Anoeta Stadium.

The San Sebastian side hit back with two goals from Gonzalo Castro, either side of a red card for Barça's centre-back Gerard Pique. In injury time, Imanol Agirretxe poked in from close range to produce an unlikely 3-2 scoreline.

There also was an unexpected result in the opening game of the Africa Cup of Nations in Johannesburg, where South Africa were held to a goalless draw by Cape Verde Islands. It was a disappointing opening day to the tournament as Morocco and Angola also drew 0-0.

In Italy, another match involving the club Pro Patria had to be stopped because of racism. Their youth team were playing at Casale when the home side called off the game in the 38th minute because of an alleged racist insult towards their player Thiago Ribeiro. He had reacted angrily and was sent off after punching a Pro Patria player. Casale's technical staff then decided to stop the game.

In the Championship, Michael Appleton admits Blackburn players need to learn how to deal with criticism from fans at Ewood Park after his first game in charge ended in a 2-1 loss to Charlton. Rovers were booed off under the gaze of their watching owners, Venky's, and Appleton said: "The atmosphere in the stadium was a strange one so I think they have got to deal with that. They are a big fish in a smaller pond to what they were in last year in terms of the Premier League. There is added pressure with that and they are going to have to cope with it.

Wolves did not manage a shot on target in their 0-0 draw at Sheffield Wednesday, but manager Dean Saunders, who is still looking for a first win since taking over, said: "I do not think there is major surgery needed."

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