Julen Lopetegui: “This is a team that’s fought a lot, that’s shown character and ambition”

Sevilla and Barcelona played out a tense and entertaining 1-1 draw at a rain-soaked Sanchez-Pizjuan on Tuesday evening. Both sides went into the game desperate for victory – Sevilla would have put real pressure on Real Madrid at the top of the table, while Barcelona would have elevated themselves into the top four. Neither happened, but a draw was fair all things considered.

Sevilla took the lead in the 32nd minute through Papu Gomez. The Argentine was live at the edge of the area to meet Ivan Rakitic’s short corner before arrowing his effort past Marc-Andre ter Stegen and into the bottom left corner of the goal. It was a fine and intelligent move straight off the training ground.

Barcelona found an equaliser on the stroke of half-time. Again, it came from a set-piece – Ousmane Dembele floated in a corner from the right side to meet Ronald Araujo, who had risen highest, in mid-air. The Uruguayan’s header left Bono with no chance.

Sevilla’s bid for victory became a little more complicated in the 65th minute. Jules Kounde was sent off for throwing the ball at Jordi Alba after an altercation on the touchline – the Frenchman saw red and left Sevilla down to ten men at a pivotal time. But the Andalusian side managed to see out the draw to earn a point.

“This is a team that’s fought a lot, that’s shown character and ambition,” Julen Lopetegui said post-match in comments carried by Diario de Sevilla. “It’s a pity to have conceded that set-piece – we knew about Araujo’s power but we couldn’t defend against it.

“In the second half we improved and we began to dominate the pitch. We forced Barcelona to doubt themselves. But then, the red card conditioned us and forced us to take a step back. But the team did an extraordinary job. I think they only gave up one chance – [Ousmane] Dembele’s late effort.

Tags Barcelona Julen Lopetegui Sevilla
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