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Barça kept a third consecutive clean sheet since the forced hiatus due to Covid-19, and that is always a commendable achievement away to a side like third-placed Sevilla. The not-so-good news is that they failed to find the net themselves either, and although a draw at the Sánchez Pizjuán is by no means a bad result, it does give Real Madrid the chance to make up lost ground when they go to Real Sociedad on Sunday.
Gerard Pique’s post-match comments sum up the game to perfection. “They are third in the table for a reason” he said. “It was a very competitive game. We had more chances than they did, but we weren't able to take them.”
Another empty stadium
It had been a curious match. There can be no denying that once again the absence of any fans took some of the vibe, adrenalin and drive out of the game. The first half progressed with both sides, and particularly Barça, playing some very nice football, but the players were lacking that extra lift that only a full stadium can give, whether the supporters are on your side or not.
Almost all of the meaningful play was in the Sevilla half. But other than a moment when keeper Vaclik failed to hold onto the ball and the home defence managed to scramble it clear before Martin Braithwaite could get a foot on it, plus the occasional pop on goal from Suárez and Messi, there wasn’t too much for Barça fans viewing on TV to get excited about.
There was even less for Sevilla fans. Jules Kounde nearly found the net after 12 minutes, but that was their only real chance in the first 45 minutes.
Ter Stegen solid as ever
Despite Barça’s command of the game, Sevilla fired several warnings on the counter attack. Ter Stegen was forced to produce his very best to deny both Ocampos and then former Barça man Munir in quick succession, while Jordi Alba managed to intercept a delivery that could otherwise have ended very badly.
Although Barça were dominating, it was the Andalusians that were coming closest to finding the net.
It was becoming a frustrating evening. Barça so deserved more than they were getting but, but the connection over the final metres wasn’t happening, and the main reason for that was some extremely resilient defending by the men in white shirts.
With three minutes left on the clock, it looked like Barça finally had it. Alba centred and Luis Suárez, practically playing the full 90 for the first time since his return from injury (he’d be replaced by Riqui Puig moments before the end), appeared to have found his spot. Frustratingly, the ball screeched over the bar by the narrowest of margins.
His head went to his hands. That was the chance. And that image summed up a night when things just didn’t want to click like the way usually do.
Even Ter Stegen went up for a corner deep into injury time. Could one last push produce the elusive goal? It couldn’t. The whistle blew and the spoils have been shared at the Sánchez Pizjuan.
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