Ousmane Dembele’s goal, which capped a brilliant individual performance, helped Barcelona beat Real Sociedad 1-0 and reach the Copa del Rey semifinals on Wednesday.
The French striker scored in the 52nd minute to boost the record 31-time champions against 10-man La Real, which saw Brais Mendez sent off late in the first half.
Barcelona enjoyed a strong start to 2023, winning the Spanish Super Cup and moving three points clear of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga, and continued in a thrilling cup clash.
Imanol Alguacil’s Real Sociedad have been enthusiastic in the league, occupying third place, but were without veteran David Silva and Mikel Merino through injury.
Xavi Hernández, on his 43rd birthday, nervously guided his team to victory, in search of more trophies.
Barcelona came out of the blocks quickly and Robert Lewandowski had a blocked effort after the electric Dembele found him.
Gavi shot wide and Frenkie de Jong deflected another shot but from offside and the goal was disallowed.
At the other end, Takefusa Kubo smashed a shot off the crossbar, as the game went back and forth in entertaining fashion.
Barcelona fans frequently showed their anger towards referee Jesus Gil Manzano in the first half: he was the referee who sent off Robert Lewandowski against Osasuna in November, resulting in a ban that the Pole is still serving in La Liga.
However, it was the Real Sociedad midfielder Méndez who was sent off at the Camp Nou, shortly before the break.
The Spaniard pounced on Sergio Busquets, hitting his compatriot with his studs above the ankle.
Early in the second half, Barcelona broke the tie when Jules Kounde slid past Dembélé down the right flank and he entered the box and past Alex Remiro at the near post.
Real Sociedad, despite their numerical disadvantage, fought well and should have equalized when Sorloth fired from a couple of metres.
The Norwegian striker had scored five goals in his previous six matches and seemed horrified by his miss.
Barcelona survived two final scares after Ter Stegen gave away the ball, but then saved from Robert Navarro and produced another great save to deny Jon Ander Olasagasti.
Osasuna takes on Sevilla on Wednesday afternoon, while on Thursday Real Madrid host Atlético Madrid and Valencia host Athletic Club in the other quarter-finals.