MADRID:Barcelona stayed hard on the heels of La Liga leaders Real Madrid when Lionel Messi’s brilliance lifted a side containing several youngsters from the club’s B team to a 2-1 win at home to Real Sociedad on Saturday.
Real had earlier deployed close to their strongest team in a 1-0 victory at city rivals Getafe, defender Sergio Ramos nodding in the only goal on a bitterly cold and blustery night at the Coliseum stadium that lifted them to 55 points from 21 matches.
With Wednesday’s King’s Cup semi-final second leg against Valencia looming, coach Pep Guardiola had opted to start with regulars including World Cup-winners Xavi, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique on the bench.
20-year-old Tello opened the scoring in the ninth minute when he dashed in from the left wing on to a Messi through ball and finished clinically past goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, his debut goal for the first team.
World Player of the Year Messi made it 2-0 in the 72nd minute before Carlos Vela pulled one back for the visitors two minutes later.
Messi’s strike put him on 23 league goals for the season, one behind Real forward and top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo.