Barca keep pressure on Madrid with thrilling Real Sociedad win

Juventus to play Dybala and Higuain against Pescara

Barcelona continues to chase rival Madrid in the league race.

Messi scored two goals in the first half and then set up Francisco Alcacer for another before half-time, just after Samuel Umtiti had scored an own-goal for Sociedad.

It was that man who doubled Luis Enrique's side's lead, although his second goal was far less glamorous than his opener, bumbling home the ball into an empty net after Geronimo Rulli parried Luis Suarez's attempt.

#Messi500... just two left...

Sociedad made an encouraging and should perhaps have gone a goal up when Willian Jose presented Mikel Oyarzabal with a fine opportunity in the 12th minute, only for the young attacker to aim a tame shot straight at goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

And the superstar helped the club off to a good start Saturday as Messi ripped a low screamer from outside the area 17 minutes into the contest to give Barcelona the 1-0 advantage.

Consecutive defeats to Malaga and Juventus forced Luis Enrique's hand as Barca reverted to 4-3-3 against La Real, with Jeremy Mathieu making way for left-back Jordi Alba and Paco Alcacer replacing the suspended Neymar.

A win would have moved them up to fifth, but Asier Illarramendi's opportunistic free kick from 40 yards out that was pushed over by Ter Stegen their most unsafe attempt on target.

In stoppage time, Rulli denied Suarez in a one-on-one as Barcelona put themselves back into a winning mindset ahead of next week's key matches.