Barcelona ended Sevilla’s run of six consecutive La Liga wins with a 2-0 victory at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium, shooting them up to second in the table.
Ronald Koeman’s side dominated possession and pressed well, limiting Sevilla’s opportunities to break into their half. They had to be patient against a resolute defence, but took the lead after 28 minutes when Ousmane Dembele latched onto a ball from Lionel Messi and fired home.
Sevilla upped the ante after the break, but Barça continued to look threatening and moved the ball with speed and conviction. Sergino Dest hit the bar after 58 minutes and Messi followed up by smashing a lay-off over the bar shortly after.
The hosts thought they had equalised with ten minutes to go after Youssef El-Nesyri netted, only to see the effort ruled out for a handball in the build-up. Inevitably, Messi weaved into the box six minutes later, slotting home from close range to seal the point and a deserved win for Barça.
Here’s how La Blaugrana rated on Saturday afternoon.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) – 5/10 – Ter Stegen had an easy opening 45 minutes as Sevilla failed to register a shot at goal. Slightly busier second half and was beaten, albeit illegally.
Oscar Mingueza (CB) – 6/10 – Looked far more comfortable as the right central defender rather than in the fullback role he has been asked to play in recent times.
Gerard Pique (CB) – 7/10 – Commanding performance from Pique who relished the cover of two central defenders, in particularly stepping up well to lead a high line.
Clement Lenglet (CB) – 7/10 – Equally as clean cut was Lenglet, who did well to combat high pressing with some good interceptions. Had a header ruled out in the second half.
Sergino Dest (RWB) – 7/10 – Thrived in the wingback role, which allowed him to assert his attacking abilities more consistently.
Sergio Busquets (CM) – 6/10 – Floated through the first half somewhat and wasn’t nearly as effective as his colleagues Did snuff out danger when needed and recycled play with some intelligent positioning.
Frenkie de Jong (CM) – 8/10 – Moved the ball well and kept the tempo high for Barcelona with a number of runs into the box. Endlessly comfortable in possession wherever he is on the field and completed four successful dribbles from midfield.
Pedri (CM) – 6/10 – Only showed his ability in glimpses, but did work tirelessly nevertheless.
Jordi Alba (LWB) – 6/10 – With the bulk of Barcelona’s attacks coming down the right, the Spaniard was restricted somewhat and often sat back to ensure balance.
Ousmane Dembele (ST) – 8/10 – Was reluctant to stay central as he’s so used to floating out wide. Made a smart run to give Barça the lead, and was always a threat with his movement and ability on the ball.
Lionel Messi (ST) – 7/10 – Not Messi’s greatest performance, but absolutely typical of him to end it with a goal and an assist anyway.
Ronald Araujo – 5/10 – Araujo’s return from injury was short lived as he was forced off once more. A real shame.
Ilaix Moriba – 5/10
Samuel Umtiti – N/A
Martin Braithwaite – N/A