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.
Kounde, speaking post-match in comments carried by Diario de Sevilla, explained how he scored his superb goal. The defender has become one of the most highly-touted talents in Europe.
“At the beginning of the move I lost the ball a little, but their block enabled me to recover it, dribble and finish well,” he said. “I know I can finish well.”
The French centre back also touched on the cohesive nature of the way Sevilla defended their lead. “I think the clean sheet is the work of the whole team,” he said.
“We played a complete game with a very good first half, but in the second we suffered more and lost a lot of balls. They came out really switched-on, but we were able to not concede and score a second.”