Barcelona moved top of La Liga with a 4-2 victory over Sevilla on Saturday, but the result was marred by an injury to Lionel Messi.
Barca were leading 2-0 until Messi went off with an arm injury and ended up needing a Luis Suarez penalty and Ivan Rakitic volley to secure the three points as Sevilla pulled two late goals back and forced Marc-Andre ter Stegen into two top saves.
Ousmane Dembele was benched for the second game running, with Philippe Coutinho once more preferred on the left wing, while Arturo Vidal continued his wait for a start.
Sevilla also needed a win to go top, and they had Gabriel Mercado back on the bench, the defender having missed almost two months of action with an arm problem.
Luis Suarez took just two minutes to flick Nelson Semedo’s cutback to Messi, who in turn slipped through a totally-unmarked Coutinho. The Brazilian then finessed a finish past Tomas Vaclik with aplomb.
Straight down the other end, Guilherme Arana was found unopposed to the left of Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s goal and his daisy-cutter struck the post.
Nonetheless, Sevilla’s high line was caught out by a long ball, which provided the cue for a trademark Messi goal as he cut inside from the right and perfectly placed a shot into Vaclik’s bottom-left corner.
However, that pleasure turned to pain when the No 10 landed very awkwardly on his arm from a 50-50 with Franco Vazquez. He was heavily bandaged, before being replaced by Dembele.
Ter Stegen was soon called upon to somehow claw away Andre Silva’s header from goal and then throw himself in front of Vazquez’s rebound.
But just as the Andalusians looked like making a game of it, Suarez nutmegged his marker and was brought down by Vaclik for a clear penalty, which he blasted hard and low into the Czech’s bottom left.
Vaclik fared better to keep out Suarez’s first-time side-footer, and that was followed by Pablo Sarabia’s speculative drive taking a huge deflection off Lenglet and wrong-footing Ter Stegen.
The German pulled off more heroics to deny Sarabia and then Muriel on the rebound, and Ivan Rakitic finally killed off his former club, angling an inch-perfect volley into Vaclik’s bottom-left corner.
The visitors had a goal disallowed as Sarabia handballed before finding the back of Ter Stegen’s net, although Luis Muriel did with a last-gasp curler.
Barcelona 4-2 Sevilla
Coutinho 2, Messi 12, Suarez pen 63, Rakitic 88 (B) Lenglet og 79, Muriel 90 (S)
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur (Sergi Roberto 67); Messi (Dembele 26), Suarez (Munir 81), Coutinho
Sevilla: Vaclik; Carrico, Kjaer (Mercado 54), Sergi Gomez; Navas, Banega, Sarabia, Vazquez (Mesa 69), Arana; Andre Silva (Muriel 78), Ben Yedder
Referee: Martinez Munuera