Both sides are still in the fight for European glory but off the pace in La Liga, so the Copa is the best chance either have of winning silverware this season.
First advantage went to Sevilla. Julen Lopetegui‘s men secured an impressive 2-0 victory, scoring either side of half-time to ensure that Barcelona returned to Catalonia empty-handed. They were competent, controlled and ruthless.
The game started competitively, with Sevilla taking the lead inside the opening half-hour through Jules Kounde. The French centre back dribbled past Samuel Umtiti before finishing coolly.
Sevilla doubled their lead heading into the final five minutes, with ex-Barcelona man Ivan Rakitic scoring to give his club a valuable two-goal cushion that could come in handy come the second leg.
Lopetegui, speaking post-game in comments carried by Marca, was understandably pleased with his team’s efforts. “The team played a great game against a great rival who’s in a great moment,” he said.
“To compete with them you have to be at a high level and Sevilla have done it. They have had moments because they have a lot of quality but we were able to live with them. We still have the most difficult thing to do, however, which is to play in Barcelona. We know how difficult the return leg will be.”