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With a place in the Copa del Rey final at stake, both sides started brightly and looked to get a foothold in the game. Joan Jordán pressed early for Sevilla, whilst Ousmane Dembélé looked dangerous each time he was in possession.
Bono managed to save with his legs from Lionel Messi on 10 minutes, with the first real chance of note following some sharp movement from the visitors. Former Barça man, Aleix Vidal, enjoyed the battle with Jordi Alba down the flank, with another former blaugrana, Ivan Rakitic, wanting to dictate from midfield.
Alba found Frenkie de Jong just after the quarter-hour for a half-chance as Barça attempted to keep the pressure on the hosts. The visitors continued to look comfortable, however, Koundé burst forward from his defensive position for Sevilla to put them ahead on 25.
Dembélé managed to get in behind Sergio Escudero down the Sevilla left on a couple of occasions, but the Andalusians kept any attempts by the Frenchman to find a team-mate at a minimum in an exciting first half at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán.
Right on half-time, Barça were indebted to Marc-André ter Stegen after the custodian denied Escudero with a magnificent save, ensuring the Catalans still had all to play for in the second-half.
As with the opening 45 the second-half began at a high tempo, with both teams going close within five minutes. De Jong was agonisingly close to equalising with the Catalans coming on strong leading up to the hour mark, whilst Samuel Umtiti produced a wonderful tackle to deny Youssef En-Nesyri the opportunity of extending Sevilla’s lead.
Bono had to save the hosts from Messi again, and also be on his guard from three successive Barça corners that were played directly under the crossbar. Fascinating midfield battles began to develop all across the pitch and the action didn’t let up as both sides kept on the front foot.
Alba appeared to have won a penalty with 18 to play only for a free-kick to be awarded, though it didn’t stop the Spaniard or his Barça team-mates from taking the game to the hosts at every opportunity.
Somehow, Sevilla managed to repel whatever the blaugranes tried on the night, and with only five minutes remaining Rakitic extended the lead to hand the Andalusians the advantage in the tie. There was still time for Messi to extend Bono yet again but it just wasn’t to be for the visitors who have it all to do in the return.
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