A tough defeat against the leader for a Sevilla who managed to go in front twice in the game until the Argentine attacker - with three goals and an assist - decided that Barcelona were to win
Sevilla FC were the superior team against FC Barcelona, but Messi once again showed that he is more than any other player. The Argentine singlehandedly destroyed Sevilla in a game which showed that, with the correct attitude, Machín's team is capable of beating any team that comes in front of them. But La Liga's top scorer still has the measure of Sevilla, his favourite team to score against. Jesús Navas and Mercado brought the team into the break in the lead but, in a very different second-half, Barcelona were more clinical and pressured Sevilla until they came crashing down.
Pablo Machín was clear that there could not be a repeat of the performance in the second leg of the Copa del Rey at the Camp Nou. The team immediately took to the attack with Ben Yedder crossing into Promes who shot at Ter Stegen. Although it was offside, the clear chance demonstrated the danger that Sevilla would pose throughout the game. From there on in, Sevilla managed to cope with a Barcelona who had all their stars on the pitch. The team were well organised in defence, even with the change of Wöber moving to left wing-back. After 10 minutes, Coutinho had a shot from range which went straight at Vaclík. There was good football being played although there was not much danger in either box. Jesús Navas took charge of changing that. In his 650th game, the wing-back shot in between Piqué and Ter Stegen to fire Sevilla into the lead after a great counter attack from Ben Yedder.
Sevilla had got themselves in front but Messi would equalise with his first chance. Raktic centred from the wing for the Argentine, who was left too free in the box, for him to hit a sublime volley which was impossible for Vaclík to save. Barcelona then went on to have their best period in the match with a counter attack that Piqué almost converted, forcing Sergi Gómez to clear for a corner. However, Sevilla returned to the fore and that allowed them to get themselves back in the lead. It was down to Sarabia's hard work in keeping the ball in play, crossing with his right foot and assisted Mercado who had pushed forward and who pushed the ball into the side of the net to send the Sánchez-Pizjuán wild. Machín's team kept on pressing in the final minutes of the first half, with Kjaer having the chance to score the third from a header but his effort went over the bar.
A breathless first-half in which Sevilla got the fans out of their seats
Sevilla did not start the second-half just as well, with Dembelé and Sergi Roberto coming on for Barcelona. The French winger brought a lot of dynamism to Barcelona's attack and when Machín's team tried to push on, injuries would once more halt them in their tracks. Firstly Mercado and then secondly Wöber, who was having a brilliant game, had to leave the pitch and the Nervionenses lost a lot of the spark they had in the first-half. The away side controlled the midfield and Sevilla tried, without success, to push forward on the counter attack. Although they were solid in defence, they had to keep pushing back and Messi made the most of a chance he had halfway through the second-half. It was a hammer blow for a team that found it a lot more difficult to pick themselves up but who kept looking for the chance that would put them in front once more. All the substitutions had been made by the 60th minute and they could only hope for a set-piece or a counter to get them the lead.
Unfortunately, with five minutes to go, the man of the hour had some fortune as an Aleñá shot was deflected right into his path and he chipped it over the onrushing Vaclík. If the first two goals were all of the Argentine's making, this time he just had to wait for the ball to fall at his feet to turn the game around. There was time for one final blow, with Sevilla pushing on with nothing to lose, in injury time. Messi found Suárez who chipped Vaclík to leave the score at an unfair 4-2 which puts Sevilla out of the Champions League spots. Getafe now occupy the fourth spot which Sevilla will fight to win back next Saturday in El Alcoraz against SD Huesca, a good opportunity for Sevilla to react away from home.