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Sevilla v FC Barcelona is a meeting of the two oldest clubs in La Liga. Founded in 1899, Barça was for many years deemed to be the older of the two, but UEFA and FIFA have recently endorsed the claim that the Sevilla Football Club officially registered in 1905 was, for all effects and purposes, a continuation of the club of the same name set up by British expatriates in 1890.
The club shares a rivalry with Real Betis, which is traditionally viewed to be more representative of the ‘working classes’ in the fourth largest city in Spain and the biggest in the southernmost region of Andalusia.
Sevilla have only won La Liga once, and that was way back in 1946, and the last decade or so, with a record five UEFA Cups/UEFA Europa Leagues (2006, 2007, 2014, 2015 and 2016) has been their most successful period ever.
Completed in 1955 and named after an early club president, the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán was the venue for one of the darkest days in Barça history. Barça were overwhelming favourites to beat Steaua Bucharest in the European Cup Final played here in 1986, but ended up losing on penalties following a dire 0-0 draw.
In 1982 it was the venue for one of the greatest World Cup games of all time, the semi-final between West Germany and France, which the Germans won on penalties following a 3-3 draw, also remembered for the infamous collision between Patrick Battiston and Harald Schumacher.
Often dubbed ‘La Bombonera de Nervión’, comparing it to the Boca Juniors stadium, it is a favourite venue for the Spanish national team, where ‘La Roja’ have never lost.
HEAD TO HEAD
When Barça lost 2-0 at the Sánchez Pizjuán in the Copa del Rey last month, it was only their second defeat to Sevilla in the last 26 meetings across all competitions. Of course, they more than made amends for that loss by winning the return leg 6-1.
Barça also won the home fixture in La Liga, 4-2 with goals from Philippe Coutinho, Leo Messi, Luis Suárez and Ivan Rakitic.
After 13 weeks, Sevilla were top of the league, but just two wins in the 11 matches played since mean they have dropped to fourth. But it’s been their away form that’s particularly been letting them down. They haven’t lost at home since September.
It was Barça who put paid to both Sevilla’s Spanish Super Cup and Copa del Rey chances this season, but the Andalusians are still alive in the Europa League after beating Lazio 3-0 on aggregate and on Friday will learn who they are meeting next.
Catalan centre back Sergi Gómez made his senior debut playing for Barça against Sevilla in the 2010 Super Cup. Forward Nolito was also used by Pep Guardiola that season, but both players are now plying their trade at the Sánchez Pizjuán.
Full back Aleix Vidal moved in the other direction, but after three seasons at the Camp Nou, returned to Sevilla last summer.
Even more recently, Munir El Haddadi swapped blaugrana for all-white during the winter transfer window. When playing for Valencia, he scored twice against Barça in the league. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again.
There have been three prime sources of goals for Sevilla this season, with Frenchman Wissam Ben Yedder, Spaniard Pablo Sarabia and André Silva of Portugal way out in front.
After just five senior appearances for Numancia, a knee injury forced Pablo Machín into retirement when he was just 23. He joined the club’s coaching staff instead, and eventually replaced former Barça goalie Juan Carlos Unzué as first team manager.
He was hired by Girona and masterminded the club’s first ever promotion to La Liga and impressive debut season before being tempted away by Sevilla at the start of this season.
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