Sevilla claim Barca scalp

Barcelona fell to their second La Liga defeat in three matches on Saturday after they were beaten 2-1 by struggling Sevilla at Sanchez Pizjuan.

Claudio Bravo had been missing for the past month with a calf injury, but he was fit enough to reclaim his place in goal at Marc-Andre ter Stegen's expense.

Elsewhere, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto and Munir El Haddadi all entered the fold, with Dani Alves, Andres Iniesta and Sandro Ramirez dropping to the substitutes' bench.

The Andalucians, on the other hand, named a defensive-looking XI, the industry of Vicente Iborra and Vitolo preferred to the more-technical Jose Antonio Reyes and Yevhen Konoplyanka.

Although little in the way of quality football was on show in southern Spain, the two sides' defensive deficiencies – as seen by the eight yellow cards dished out – made for an exciting encounter.

First up was Iborra, who needed just a couple of minutes to test Bravo with a floated volley, before the goalkeeper saved on the line to keep out Kevin Gameiro's header.

Nonetheless, Sergio Rico ended the half as the busier of the two shot-stoppers, starting with two vital stops to deny Neymar and Luis Suarez with finishes from close range.

Barca then hit the woodwork in quick succession, Rico pushing Neymar's free kick onto his left-hand post, which rolled across the line, before Suarez bent an audacious attempt onto the bar from a standing position.

Sevilla flew out the traps for the restart as they took the lead just seven minutes in, Gameiro leaving Mathieu in his wake with electric pace down the right and squaring the ball to Michael Krohn-Dehli at the far post for an accomplished finish.

The goal meant Barca had conceded for a seventh successive match, and they were to suffer the same fate again shortly prior to the hour mark as the Dane superbly exploited their faltering offside trap with a perfectly-clipped ball for Iborra to guide past Bravo.

The Catalans subsequently began to throw the kitchen sink at Los Nervionenses, yet Rico was still not to be beaten. The goalkeeper faced three Neymar attempts from close range consecutively and saved them all.

His goal would soon be breached, however, as Benoit Tremoulinas was perceived to have blocked Sandro Ramirez's shot with his hand in the box. Up stepped Neymar, who pulled one back for his side from the penalty spot.

Ultimately, though, it was to be Sevilla's day, confirmed when Sandro sent Luis Suarez's drilled cross onto the crossbar from point-blank range in the dying embers.

Sevilla 2-1 Barcelona

Krohn-Dehli 52, Iborra 58 (S) Neymar pen 74 (B)

Sevilla: Rico; Coke, Andreolli, Kolodziejczak, Tremoulinas (Mariano 89); Krychowiak, N'Zonzi; Krohn-Dehli, Iborra (Reyes 70), Vitolo; Gameiro (Llorente 72)

Barcelona: Bravo; Sergi, Pique, Mathieu (Alves 60), Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Mascherano; Munir (Sandro 60), Suarez, Neymar

Referee: Gil Manzano

La Liga - Club News