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The man that replaced Pique in defense may be the most at fault for the loss. Javier Mascherano has proven that he can give cover at the back, but he continues to show that defense is not his first position.
Mascherano was involved in the last two goals for Real Sociedad.
First, a shot came off of the Argentine and gave Victor Valdes no chance of saving it. It was Mascherano’s third own goal of the season, but this was hardly his fault.
It is never wise to blame someone for allowing the ball to bounce off of them. He was in the right position and just happened to be unlucky with the path the shot took.
In fact, Mascherano was filling in well for Pique. The converted center-back made several strong challenges and was holding the Soceidad attack at bay.
Sadly, though, the stoppage time winner for Real Sociedad may be subject to the poor positioning of Javier Mascherano.
As the cross came in that eventually led to the winner, Mascherano was clearly out of position. The Argentine was caught flat-footed and was beaten. Carles Puyol rushed to make up for the play but was unable to arrive in time.
For all of his stellar defending on the night, this one play will be all that is remembered for Mascherano.
Though he may be a terrific substitute, Mascherano just does not possess the positioning ability of a true center defender.