Guardiola has a defensive crisis after further Barça injuries

Real Sociedad 2 Barcelona 1

With Uefa set to ban Jose Mourinho for up to four games for his post-Champions League semi-final first-leg comments he will wonder if life as Real Madrid coach could get any worse. The answer is: yes, it could.

Had Barcelona not fallen to only their second league defeat of the season the gap at the top would be 11 points and not eight as the two teams prepare to go into battle for the fifth and final time this season tomorrow night.

Barcelona's players watched Real Madrid's lacklustre display against Zaragoza on Saturday and then produced one of their own at the Anoeta Stadium in San Sebastian, meaning both sides lost on the same day for the first time since August 2008.

Of more concern to coach Pep Guardiola will be injuries to Gabriel Milito and young left-back Martin Montoya. Centre-back Milito will miss tomorrow's second leg with a thigh strain and Montoya will be out until next season after breaking his collar bone. The youngster is the fourth left-back Guardiola has lost and he admitted afterwards: "We are very low on numbers and need the help of everyone to finish the job. Madrid will arrive with nothing to lose and it is going to be a very hard game in more ways than one."

The two teams will know Uefa's judgement on the Battle of the Bernabeu before they take to the pitch after European football's governing body brought forward its disciplinary meeting's hearing to today. Goalkeeper Jose Pinto will find out if his part in the half-time fracas last week will cost him more than the one match ban he will serve tomorrow. He started this game as Guardiola left Dani Alves, Sergi Busquets and David Villa out of his starting line-up.

With Cristiano Ronaldo watching Real Madrid's defeat from the stands, Leo Messi started. Regardless of whether Ronaldo was being punished for his post-match comments about not liking his team's negative tactics, or just rested, the extra game for Messi gave him a chance to extend his lead over Ronaldo in the goalscoring charts.

The Argentine could not add to his 31 league goals this season but Barcelona did make a good start when Thiago Alcantara netted on the half hour. The goal meant Pep Guardiola's side became the first team ever to score 45 goals away from home in one La Liga season.

Barcelona threatened more goals in the second half but with Real Sociedad desperate for the points to secure top-flight safety and the visitors already playing with the assured cushion of eight points after Madrid's defeat they let the lead slip. Diego Ifran equalized with 19 minutes left and, after Javier Mascherano brought down David Zurutuza, Xabi Prieto gave the home side the lead from the spot in the 82nd minute.

"It's always better to go into a Champions League game off the back of a win," said Guardiola. He, like Mourinho, must now lift his players, although needing just four points from four games to win the league and being 2-0 up ahead of the second leg will make his task easier than his rival's.

Real Sociedad (4-2-3-1): Bravo; Martinez, Demidov, Gonzalez, Estrada; Rivas (Zurutuza, 68), Markel; Xabi Prieto, Aramburu, Griezmann; Tamudo (Ifran, 68).

Booked Tamudo, Estrada.

Barcelona (4-3-3): Pinto; Montoya (Alves, 13), Pique (Mascherano, 62), Milito (Busquets, 77), Fontas; Xavi, Keita, Thiago; Afellay, Messi, Jeffren.

Booked Mascherano.

* Uefa yesterday handed Frank de Bleeckere the task of refereeing Tuesday's Champions League encounter between Barcelona and Real Madrid – an appointment unlikely to go down well with Mourinho. The Real coach last week accused referees of favouring the Catalan side . The Portuguese was enraged by the dismissal of makeshift midfielder Pepe by Wolfgang Stark and afterwards read out a list of officials he believes have made decisions which have benefited Barça in previous years. De Bleeckere was on that list after opting to send off Thiago Motta in last season's last-four game between Internazionale, then managed by Mourinho, and Barça.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
football
News
Tangerine Dream Edgar Froese
people
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Life and Style
The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Arts and Entertainment
Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
News
i100
Environment
Number so freshwater mussels in Cumbria have plummeted from up to three million in the 20th century to 500,000
environment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us