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.
“The assessment is not positive,” Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui said bluntly post-match in comments carried by Marca. “When you fail to win, and also deservedly, it cannot be positive. We’re not happy, far from it. We didn’t play well and the rival surpassed us. Like when we won, we have to turn the page quickly and think about the next game, which is important, beautiful and exciting.”