Barcelona players celebrate after scoring their third goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Barcelona and Real Sociedad at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. AP
Barcelona began the post-Lionel Messi era with an entertaining 4-2 home win over Real Sociedad in their first game of the LaLiga season on Sunday.
A header from Gerard Pique gave the Catalans the lead in the 19th minute to the delight of 20,000 fans who returned to the Camp Nou for the first time in 17 months, and Martin Braithwaite struck either side of halftime to extend their lead.
Sociedad looked to be out of the game but substitute Julen Lobete pulled them back into contention in the 82nd minute and forward Mikel Oyarzabal scored a stunning free kick moments later to set Barcelona nerves jangling.
Sergi Roberto struck in added time for the hosts, however, to make sure of the points in Barca's first match without all-time top scorer Messi, who joined Paris St Germain last week after 21 years with the Spanish club.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)