They were far superior to their opponents and they deservedly led 2-0 at the interval after goals from Pique and Martin Braithwaite.
When Braithwaite scored again on the rebound just before the hour mark, it looked as though that would be that, but Real Sociedad had other ideas.
Goals from Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto either side of the Dane’s brace saw Barcelona beat Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou in La Liga. Two late goals from Julen Lobete and Mikel Oyarzabal had given the Basques hope.
Lobete, on his first team debut, pulled one back with eight minutes remaining and then a splendid Mikel Oyarzabal free-kick gave Barca a late scare. However, Sergi Roberto settled any nerves in stoppage time with a goal on the counterattack. That said, Barca were comfortable for almost the entire contest and Sociedad would have been very lucky had they equalised.
Barca meant business from the off and Braithwaite and Griezmann both had shots inside the opening two minutes. The Frenchman then went close with an acrobatic effort with 10 minutes on the clock and he then struck the crossbar with a header just two minutes later. When Pique headed home Memphis Depay’s free-kick on 19 minutes, it was no surprise.
Koeman’s men continued to threaten against a toothless Sociedad side and Depay showed plenty of signs of his quality on several occasions. Right on half-time, Barca made it two in controversial fashion. De Jong went down the far side and Braithwaite headed home the cross, but the Basques wanted what looked to be a foul on Adnan Januzaj by Eric Garcia. The officials thought otherwise and the away side had work to do in the second period.
Griezmann had the ball in the back of the net just after the interval, but Frenkie de Jong was offside and then Jordi Alba missed a sitter after 50 minutes when he was one on one with the goalkeeper. However, he may well have been offside. After 59 minutes, Barca looked to have put the game beyond Sociedad when Alba’s cross come shot was saved by the goalie and Braithwaite fired home the rebound, but the Basques had other ideas.
Julen Lobete, who was making his debut after coming through the B team, got on the scoresheet with eight minutes remaining. Barrenetxea made a superb run and he found the youngster who beat Neto. That looked to be a mere consolation, but three minutes later, Mikel Oyarzabal pulled Sociedad to within one. Substitute Nico Gonzalez was wrongly penalised after winning the ball and Oyarzabal hit a stunning free-kick into the top corner.
Barca woke up after that double strike though and as Sociedad looked for a leveller, Barca delivered the killer blow. They countered through Griezmann, the ball was given to Braithwaite and he squared for Sergi Roberto who made no mistake at the back stick. It was the ideal start to Barca’s season as they showed they can score goals even without Messi while the away side will be disappointed not to have put up a better show.