LIVE: Sevilla vs Barcelona

LIVE: Sevilla vs Barcelona

Lopetegui will certainly expect far more energy and desire from his team in the second half. They’ve been passive throughout the first 45 minutes and Messi was allowed to receive the ball, turn and play his pass with almost casual ease in the build-up to the goal. Barcelona have looked a little sluggish too, despite leading, but they have created a few chances and controlled the game well.

There goes the half-time whistle! Barcelona lead at the halfway mark courtesy of Dembele’s strike just before the half-hour mark, slotting through Bounou’s legs after a lovely ball in behind by Messi. Sevilla have been lacklustre, failing to register a shot of any kind in the first period. It’s 1-0 to Barcelona at the break.

45′ + 1′ HALF-TIME: SEVILLA 0-1 BARCELONA

Sevilla

45′ Yet another yellow card is shown as Escudero slides in on Dest just outside the Sevilla box. The left-back is certain that he won the ball and is none too pleased to be booked.

44′ Messi catches Kounde’s heels as the centre-back drives out from defence with the ball. A free-kick is awarded but Lopetegui goes berserk on the sidelines, asking for Messi to receive a second yellow card. The referee is unimpressed and books the Sevilla boss.

Barcelona

42′ Messi is now penalised as he mistimes his challenge on Fernando, catching the midfielder late and earning himself a yellow card.

40′ OVER! Dest is fed in an advanced position on the right and he cuts inside Escudero before unleashing a strike towards the top-right corner, but he gets too much on it and it flies just over the bar!

Sevilla

38′ Diego Carlos follows team-mate Fernando into the book as he accidentally catches Messi in the face when grappling with him for control of the ball.

35′ Sevilla are really struggling to impose themselves in any way on this game. They’re still yet to have a shot with just 10 minutes of the half remaining.

33′ CHANCE! Dembele skips away from his man on the right with a neat turn of pace and fires a low ball into Messi on the edge of the box. The Barcelona skipper slides it to his left for De Jong, who takes it to the byline instead of having a shot and tries to cut it back into the middle for Messi, but Bounou intervenes and hangs on!

Sevilla

31′ Fernando earns himself the game’s first yellow card for a poor challenge on De Jong in the middle of the pitch.

Barcelona

29′ Messi was given plenty of space in the centre and exploited Sevilla’s high line with a lovely pass into space for Dembele, who took the ball in his stride and knocked it past Bounou!

Barcelona

29′ GOAL!! BARCELONA LEAD!! Messi picks the ball up on the halfway line and slides a perfectly-weighted pass in behind for Dembele, who races between two Sevilla defenders and into the box before tucking a low shot through the goalkeeper’s legs and into the far corner! It’s 1-0 to Barcelona!

26′ Barcelona are slowly starting to exert some pressure on the Sevilla goal. The hosts have posed next to no threat so far in the contest.

24′ Messi swings a free-kick in from a deep position on the right and it curls sharply towards the near side of the goal, but Bounou is alert and gets across to hang on.

22′ SAVE! The first shot of the game arrives as Dembele drives towards the edge of the box and cuts inside before attempting to curl a shot inside the far post with his left foot, but Bounou dives across and holds on confidently!

20′ Between them, De Jong and Fernando win the ball off Pedri in an advanced area, but the pair are thoroughly unimpressed as the referee blows up for another foul. 

18′ A succession of fouls by Sevilla mars the rhythm of the game – they’re doing their utmost to disrupt Barcelona’s build-up.

15′ Sevilla have started with the left-footed El Haddadi on the left and the right-footed Gomez on the right as they look for natural width down the flanks, but they haven’t had a great deal of opportunity to utilise their forward players just yet.

13′ Barcelona win a couple of corners off Fernando, but the visitors can’t make the most of it and Sevilla are untroubled by the set-pieces.

11′ The visitors have settled on the ball a little now and are looking more confident in their control of proceedings. They’re yet to take any real risks with their approach play, however.

9′ Dest is found in space on the right and whips the ball into the box, but Barcelona are lacking an aerial presence in the middle and Sevilla get the ball clear.

7′ Barcelona are edging possession but their build-up hasn’t been smooth so far. There almost appears to be a little bit of nervousness in the team.

5′ It’s been very cagey so far, with no goalmouth action to speak of to this point. Neither side has truly got into full flow yet.

3′ Interestingly, Koeman has opted for a back three today instead of the team’s usual 4-3-3 shape. Perhaps he hopes a more conservative approach will bring success away from home.

1′ We’re underway in Seville!

However, Koeman is winless as a manager in his three games against Sevilla in all competitions (D1 L2), two in La Liga and another in the Copa del Rey – a record he will be hoping to put behind him today.

Sevilla have only won one of their last 13 home La Liga games against Barcelona (D5 L7), a 2-1 victory in October 2015 – although they have drawn two of the last three (L1).

Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman, meanwhile, makes four alterations after his team recorded a 3-0 win over Elche in their last fixture. Umtiti, Trincao and Braithwaite are benched, while Miralem Pjanic is ruled out through injury. Lenglet, Dest, Busquets and Dembele are the quartet who take their places in the starting line-up.

Sevilla head coach Julen Lopetegui makes three changes to the side that beat Osasuna 2-0 away from home last time out. Rekik, Torres and Suso all drop to the bench, with Escudero and former Barcelona pair Rakitic and El Haddadi coming into the side.

Barcelona substitutes: Martin Braithwaite, Junior Firpo, Matheus Fernandes, Inaki Pena, Samuel Umtiti, Neto, Ronald Araujo, Antoine Griezmann, Riqui Puig, Ilaix Moriba, Trincao.

Barcelona XI (3-4-1-2): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Oscar Mingueza, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet; Sergino Dest, Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, Jordi Alba; Pedri; Ousmane Dembele, Lionel Messi.

Sevilla substitutes: Oscar Rodriguez, Oliver Torres, Suso, Youssef En-Nesyri, Aleix Vidal, Nemanja Gudelj, Tomas Vaclik, Sergi Gomez, Javi Diaz, Joris Gnagnon, Karim Rekik, Franco Vazquez.

Sevilla XI (4-2-3-1): Yassine Bounou; Jesus Navas, Jules Kounde, Diego Carlos, Sergio Escudero; Joan Jordan, Fernando; Alejandro Gomez, Ivan Rakitic, Munir El Haddadi; Luuk de Jong.

Fourth-placed Sevilla host third-placed Barcelona this afternoon as the pair look to close the gap on league leaders Atletico Madrid, who have hit something of a slump recently. The fixture is also a chance for Barcelona to get revenge after being beaten 2-0 at this ground in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final earlier this month, with the second leg scheduled for Wednesday.

Hello and welcome to our LIVE coverage of the LaLiga clash between Sevilla and Barcelona at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan.

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