Barcelona, May 21: Andres Iniesta ended his career in Spanish First Division football — and with FC Barcelona — with a 1-0 victory over Real Sociedad at Camp Nou here.
The team captain had no part in the lone goal of the match, a fabulous tally by Philippe Coutinho in the 57th minute, but he put on a marvellous review of his dominant style throughout the first half, with machine-like passing to his teammates, although that was nothing new since it’s been his trademark since he made his debut with the club during the 2002-2003 season, reports Efe.
Iniesta announced last month that he would be leaving the squad at the end of this campaign, and then two days later Barca took down Deportivo La Coruna for its 25th La Liga title.
The 34-year-old played until the 81st minute, when Ernesto Valverde took him out for Paco Alcacer, but not before he symbolically gave the captain’s armband to teammate Lionel Messi and heard the wild cheers and chants from the 84,000-strong crowd in his honour.
Although both teams had chances in the first half, neither one could capitalise on them, but Barca went into the second period with more dynamism than their rivals and it wasn’t long before Coutinho found the chance.
Real Sociedad almost went down to 10 men just before the break when Raul Navas delivered a hard foul against Dembele, but the referee only showed him a yellow card.
Like Iniesta, Real Sociedad’s Xabi Prieto was also playing the last game of his career. IANS