Neymar's Lone Strike Ends Barcelona Anoeta Jinx [REPORT]
Neymar’s first-half penalty ended the ‘curse of Anoeta’ as defending champions Barcelona ended their 'winless' record at Real Sociedad home in the Copa del Rey first-leg clash on Thursday.
Barca’s last victory at the Basque venue came back in 2007, but the nasty streak came to an end after Neymar won and converted the spot-kick himself to give his side the advantage going into next week’s return leg at the Camp Nou.
The hosts troubled Barca in the opening minutes when Mikel Oyarzabal curled just wide after Samuel Umtiti gave the ball away on the edge of the area.
Moments later, Neymar, returning to the side after sitting out the 5-0 rout of Las Palmas over the weekend, forced the match’s first save from La Real goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli as Barca gradually took control.
And in the 21st minute, Neymar sent Rulli the wrong way from the spot after surging into the box and drawing a foul from Aritz Elustondo.
Andre Gomes came on for injured Andres Iniesta at the start of the second period, and Barca continued to carve out openings with Neymar missing a number of chances to double their advantage.
Asier Illarramendi headed narrowly over and Lionel Messi curled a free-kick wide as the game petered out to a 1-0 victory for the Catalans.