An important win to put Sevilla in the driving seat of this tie. A two-goal advantage that raises Sevillistas' hopes but that guarantees nothing in seven days time at the Camp Nou. Sarabia and Ben Yedder's goals have opened the door to dream
It was in their hands and they made the most of it. Sevilla FC draw first blood in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals, beating FC Barcelona 2-0, who had scored at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán for 16 years in a row. After many warnings in the first half, Sarabia and Ben Yedder's goals lit the tie up and put Sevilla in the driving seat, although there still remains a lot of work to do in seven days time in the Camp Nou against a Barcelona who will most likely have many different names out on the pitch than those tonight. A strong performance against La Liga's leaders which makes Sevillistas dream of another semi-final appearance in the cup.
Both teams started the game sloppily, with both teams unable to get hold of the ball. Sevilla made some breaks forward but suffered when they lost the ball in the midfield where Barcelona found space, however they were unable to link with their men up front, such as Boateng who made his debut. Machín's team were not comfortable and needed to change things up to impose their football on the game. They began to make more dangerous crosses into the box which Barcelona's defenders managed to clear. Fortunately, as the minutes passed by, the team began calmer and started to put together more attacks in the Azulgrana's half.
After a poor start from both sides, Sevilla began to get on the front foot
The game's first controversial moment came just after halfway through the first-half with a potential handball by Arturo Vidal. Fortunately for the Chilean it hit his shoulder and, after consulting VAR, the referee pointed for a corner, although Banega thought he had called a penalty. It was a sign of Sevilla growing into the game, with Ben Yedder having a great chance ten minutes before the break. The French striker received the ball and beat three defenders - Piqué, Sergi Roberto and Arthur - before shooting over. Valverde's team did also have their chance when Malcom received Arthur's pass and rounded the goalkeeper before firing wide. Ben Yedder had another chance before the break but Cillessen was there to block the shot.
Barcelona reacted in the second-half, getting on the ball more but Juan Soriano did not face many shots in goal. Sevilla were strong at the back, and before the hour-mark they tested Cillessen once more. A good dribble from Sarabia down the right resulted in a cross to Amadou in the box but he shot over. The ball went close to the top corner, however the eventual goal would not take much longer to come. A minute later Sarabia would finish off a cross at the back post, after a great run from Promes who put the ball into the box, with Amadou just missing out. Sevilla continued attacking and could have made it 2-0 immediately after, with Promes again getting down the wing and crossing, this time to Banega who headed his effort just over the ball.
After many attempts, Sarabia managed to break the deadlock on the hour-mark
Valverde reacted by bringing on Luis Suárez and Coutinho. The Brazilian had a chance minutes after coming on, but his shot just went over the bar. Machín followed suit and refreshed his troops by bringing Vázquez on for Pablo Sarabia with 15 minutes to go. The changes seemed to cool the atmosphere and the substitutions continued with André Silva coming on for an injured Jesús Navas. The calm wasn't to last long, as the second would soon arrive after an André Silva dribble. The Portuguese gave it to Banega on the left whose cross-come-shot deflected off Lenglet and fell into Ben Yedder's path who was free at the back post.
The victory was close but there were still 15 minutes remaining to ensure the good work got its reward, given an away goal could have completely changed the tie. Arana for Escudero was Machín's last change, with the team smartly defending against a lively Suárez. The team will travel to Barcelona in a week's time with a two-goal advantage, before which they come up against Levante UD at home in the league.
2. SEVILLA FC: Juan Soriano, Mercado, Kjaer, Sergi Gómez, Jesús Navas (André Silva, 71'), Banega, Amadou, Sarabia (Franco Vázquez, 67'), Escudero (Arana, 88'), Promes and Ben Yedder.
0. FC BARCELONA: Cillessen, Sergi Roberto, Piqué, Lenglet, Semedo (Jordi Alba, 80'), Arturo Vidal, Rakitic, Arthur, Malcom (Coutinho, 64'), Aleñá and Kevin Prince-Boateng (Luis Suárez, 63').
GOALS: 1-0, 58': Sarabia; 2-0, 76': Ben Yedder.
OFFICIAL: Carlos Del Cerro Grande. Yellows for Sergi Gómez and Jordi Alba.