Barcelona travel to Sevilla as they look to go 14 points clear of Atletico Madrid. Sevilla enter the game trailing Villarreal as they look to overtake the Yellow Submarine’s.
The big news ahead of kick-off was Lionel Messi being benched after suffering an injury during the international break. Messi didn’t feature for Argentina due to a slight muscle injury but has been deemed fit enough for the bench.
Sevilla started the game off the better side, they came close to breaking the deadlock in the 16th minute of the game. Luis Muriel was on the end result of a corner and his header went inches wide of Ter Stegen’s goal.
Minutes later, Sevilla had another brilliant chance to take the lead. Joaquin Correa set up Luis Muriel but his initial shot went wide with Jesus Navas keeping the play alive, the Spanish winger crossed the ball into the penalty box and Correa’s header went wide of the goalposts.
Barcelona’s first real chance of the game came in the 34th minute with a free-kick. Andres Iniesta whipped in a delightful ball that just missed Samuel Umtiti.
However, it was Sevilla who broke the deadlock in the 36th minute and it was a well deserved goal. Joaquin Correa’s wonderful footwork set up Franco Vazquez who was unmarked in the penalty box and his shot went straight past Ter Stegen. A miscommunication between Gerard Pique and Samuel Umiti left Vazquez alone in the box and it ultimately cost Barcelona.
Barcelona came close to levelling the game in the 44th minute through Gerard Pique. Umtiti put in a cross with Pique the target but his efforts came to no avail.
Sevilla went into half-time the leaders and it was well deserved. The home side had outplayed Barcelona throughout the first-half and they look lost without Lionel Messi.
Sevilla started the second half the better side and they nearly scored a second. Layun’s cross was aimed at Muriel and a touch would have made it 2-0 for the home side.
Minutes later, Sevilla did indeed double their lead and it was Luis Muriel who made it 2-0. Escudero’s initial shot was saved by Ter Stegen and Muriel latched onto the rebound with his shot being deflected and going straight pass Ter Stegen.
It was nearly three for Sevilla as Jesus Navas found himself one on one with Ter Stegen, the winger’s shot was cleared off the line before the rebound fell to Vazquez but his shot went wide of the goal.
Barcelona looked to the bench as Lionel Messi was brought on for Ousmane Dembele to find a way to get back into the game.
The away side went close and it was Messi who was the architect. The Argentine found Coutinho who put the ball into the box before Simon Kjaer made a goal saving clearance.
Both sides found themselves with chance after chance, Sevilla could’ve easily had five or six goals but they wasted their chances. The home side looked promising on the counter-attack but the finishing has been poor.
In the 87th minute, Barcelona pulled one back with Luis Suarez. The striker latched onto a corner and put the ball into the net to give Barcelona a lifeline.
Minutes later, a moment of magic from Lionel Messi as he equalised for Barcelona! Yes equalise! The Argentine came off the bench at the start of the second half and had changed the dynamics of the game and in the 88th minute, the magician struck from 20 yards out to level the game and rescue Barcelona.
Two late goals from Barcelona ensured they come out with a point after a terrible first half performance. Sevilla could’ve buried this game but they were wasteful in front of goal. A positive performance from the home side was undone in a matter of minutes.
The draw for Barcelona means they stay 12 points clear of Atletico Madrid with the latter playing on Sunday. Sevilla stay sixth and trail Villarreal by a point.