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FC Barcelona came from behind to earn a 2-1 win at Sevilla on Sunday in a breathless encounter at the ever-intense Sánchez Pizjuán stadium.
The Andalusians had won all five of their home league games going into the encounter but Leo Messi’s equaliser just before the break followed by Luis Suárez’s strike on the hour-mark sealed an important victory for the Catalans.
A sweeping move involving the front three so nearly handed Barça a dream start in the first minute of the encounter but Suárez’s effort was tipped wide by Sergio Rico in the Sevilla goal.
Jorge Sampaoli’s attacking philosophy, coupled with Barça’s familiar style led to a frenetic encounter with chances coming thick and fast and the ball swinging from end to end.
Dominant Sevilla take the lead
It was the hosts who drew first blood as a swift counter-attack from the hosts saw Sarabia thread a pass in behind the backline for Vitolo. The Spanish international forward withstood pressure from Javier Mascherano to squirm the ball beyond Marc-André ter Stegen.
Sevilla may well have gone two up had Sarabia been aware of the time and space he had in the box after a cross from the left. The 24-year-old instead chose to back-heel the ball to the edge of the box and the danger was eventually snuffed out.
Another Sarabia through ball was almost Barça’s undoing again as Vietto latched onto the Spaniard’s pass but the on-loan striker dragged his effort well wide of Ter Stegen’s far post.
Sevilla’s high press was causing Barça problems and another dispossession in the final third almost had the hosts in again with Vitolo going close once more.
Messi takes over
But just when it looked like Barça would be the happier of the two sides to hear the half-time whistle due to the intense Sevilla onslaught, the visitors drew level, and it was no surprise who scored it.
The Andalusians are Leo Messi’s favourite opponents, and the Argentine was on hand to get his 27th goal in total against Sevilla after Neymar’s jinking run and composed layoff set him up for a cute finish from the edge of the box.
The half-time break often results in an intense game simmering down in the second period, but it would not be the case on this occasion as both teams remained loyal to their fabled styles.
A quick breakaway from Barça, spearheaded by Suárez ended with Messi angling a right-footed shot towards the far corner, only to be thwarted by the outstretched Sergio Rico. The same combo combined again minutes later, as the Uruguayan nonchalantly flicked a long pass into the path of Messi but the big keeper was there again to tip over.
After asking the question on several occasions at the start of the second half however, Barça would not be denied. On 61 minutes, Messi turned provider as he picked out Suárez who expertly tucked the ball underneath Sergio Rico to complete the turnaround.
Though Barça managed to establish a period of dominance after the second goal, Sevilla were almost back on level terms when N’Zonzi leapt above the outrushing Ter Stegen but the Frenchman’s header went just wide of the post.Messi turned on the style in the second half to help Barça over the line in an extremely tough game. For all of Sevilla’s efforts, the mercurial no.10 was the difference maker in the end as Barça held on for the three points.
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