Copa del Rey: Jules Kounde, Ivan Rakitic rating as Sevilla’s first leg win leaves Barcelona with mountain to climb

Copa del Rey: Jules Kounde, Ivan Rakitic rating as Sevilla’s first leg win leaves Barcelona with mountain to climb

Barcelona’s hopes of successful the Copa del Rey this season are actually left hanging by a thread.

Copa del Rey: Jules Kounde, Ivan Rakitic score as Sevilla's first leg win leaves Barcelona with mountain to climb

Sevilla’s Ivan Rakitic, second left, reacts after scoring his facet’s second purpose towards Barcelona. AP

Barcelona’s hopes of successful the Copa del Rey this season have been left hanging by a thread on Wednesday after Sevilla gained the primary leg of their semi-final 2-0.

Jules Kounde furthered his rising popularity as one of many world’s most enjoyable central defenders by scoring a shocking purpose on the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan earlier than Ivan Rakitic got here again to hang-out his former membership by including a second late on.

The 22-year-old Kounde dribbled previous three Barca defenders and shot into the nook whereas Rakitic’s strike turned a setback for Ronald Koeman’s facet into what now seems to be like a formidable problem to make the ultimate.

The winner will meet both Athletic Bilbao or Levante, who play the primary leg of their semi on Thursday, within the last.

“The result’s a bit unfair, the reward feels an excessive amount of for them,” mentioned Koeman. “The return can be sophisticated at 2-0 however we now have had possibilities and we now have to maintain going. At dwelling, this staff is able to something.”

Koeman had described the cup as Barcelona’s “shortest route” to a trophy this time period and the sight of Kounde ghosting by means of his defence hardly conjures up confidence forward of subsequent week’s assembly with Paris Saint-Germain.

Barca face PSG at Camp Nou within the first leg of the Champions League final 16 on Tuesday.

But all just isn’t misplaced within the cup. Though Koeman fielded his greatest accessible XI, after resting gamers towards Actual Betis in La Liga final weekend, he can even hope to have injured defenders accessible once more for the return recreation at Camp Nou on March 3.

With Ronald Araujo and Gerard Pique out, Koeman performed a patched-up again 4 of Jordi Alba at left-back, the left-footed Junior Firpo at right-back, right-back Oscar Mingueza at centre-back, alongside Samuel Umtiti, who continues to be regaining sharpness after a string of accidents.

Sevilla have ‘hardest half’ to return

“We’re midway by means of the tie with the toughest half to return,” mentioned Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui.

Lionel Messi was quiet however compelled a good save from Bono early on after an excellent cross by Antoine Griezmann, with Sevilla the higher facet within the first half and deserving their purpose.

Kounde carried the ball out from deep in his personal half and bounced the ball off Suso earlier than advancing into Barcelona’s defensive third.

He ghosted previous Griezmann, darted inside Sergio Busquets and with Alba dragged left, nicked it across the legs of Umtiti earlier than driving into the far nook to finish a shocking particular person effort.

Barca had Marc-Andre ter Stegen to thank for denying Sergio Escudero a second however neither facet seemed eager to threat conceding by pushing too laborious for a purpose after half-time.

But Sevilla have been gifted one with 5 minutes left as Oliver Torres’ ball excessive freed Rakitic, who had choices inside. Rakitic went alone, blasting into the roof of the web and refusing to have fun, however placing Sevilla in sight of the ultimate.

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