Barcelona travelled to Andalusia this afternoon to take on Sevilla in La Liga at the Sanchez-Pizjuan and kick off a monumentally important week. Ronald Koeman’s men play Sevilla twice in five days in two games that could very well decide the course of their season, and got it off to a good start with a convincing 2-0 win.
The result has significant implications regarding the title race. Barcelona have leap-frogged Real Madrid into second and now sit just two points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid. If they had lost, Sevilla would have leap-frogged them and Barcelona would have ended the weekend in fourth, with their title bid in tatters. The Blaugrana will go into their Copa del Rey semi-final second leg against Sevilla this Wednesday believing they can turn around the 2-0 deficit from the first leg.
Barcelona took the lead in the 29th minute. Lionel Messi threaded through an incredibly nonchalant pass to set Ousmane Dembele clean through on goal. The Frenchman didn’t disappoint, finishing well. Messi scored himself inside the final few minutes, linking well with substitute Illaix Moriba before getting the ball past Sevilla goalkeeper Bono.
Despite the great result, there was a couple of injury worries that will bother Barcelona. Gerard Pique went off with a niggle, as did Ronald Araujo and Pedri. “They’re small things,” Pique said post-match in relation to the injures in comments carried by Marca.
“We’ve spoken with the coach about increasing the load little by little. I’m playing more than I expected after so many months out injured. I’ve been able to train little and we had agreed on the timing, but I’ve very happy to have been able to continue participating and I’m proud of today’s performance.
“It’s to be valued, we’ve played a great game. The last few times I’ve spoken [to the press] it’s been in painful moments, but today I’m very proud. We came from PSG, Cadiz, the first half against Elche, and the team has risen. We played a good second-half against Elche and today we’ve shown we’re still alive, there’s talent. On Wednesday we’ll fight.” Pique was asked whether there’s a title race on the cards. “There sure is,” he replied.