LaLiga: Lionel Messi scores and assists as Barcelona brush apart Sevilla to reignite title hopes
Barcelona regarded lifeless and buried a couple of weeks in the past however this was their ninth win out of 10 in LaLiga, a surge that has put them again in competition.
Barcelona reignited their title hopes after Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele scored in a 2-0 victory over Sevilla on Saturday to place them two factors behind Atletico Madrid.
Atletico nonetheless have two video games in hand, the primary of these coming towards sixth-placed Villarreal on Sunday, however a dip in type from La Liga’s leaders has given their chasing rivals hope.
Barca regarded lifeless and buried a couple of weeks in the past however this was their ninth win out of 10 in La Liga, a surge that has put them again in competition, with Atletico enjoying towards Actual Madrid subsequent weekend.
Sevilla began the day as arguably the shape group on the prime, having gained all of their final six league video games, the final 5 of these with out conceding a aim.
However they had been second greatest on the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, a dominant efficiency from Barcelona exposing them nonetheless as barely wanting Spain’s prime three.
It additionally creates an intriguing back-drop to Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semi-final second leg when these two groups meet once more, with Barca hoping to overturn a 2-0 deficit at Camp Nou.
Pedri and Ronald Araujo may very well be doubts after each had been substituted within the second half with what regarded like harm issues.
Coach Ronald Koeman might effectively stick along with his new 3-5-2 system, which noticed Jordi Alba and Sergino Dest enjoying as wing-backs forward of a again three and Dembele deployed up entrance alongside Messi.
With out Antoine Griezmann, who dropped to the bench, Koeman sacrificed some creativity within the ultimate third for management by the center, to not point out the specter of Dembele in behind.
Actually for the most effective a part of an hour Sevilla struggled to flee Barcelona’s press or set up any sustained strain, even after Julen Lopetegui launched three substitutes at half-time and switched formation to match their opponents.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen was handed match to play by the group physician regardless of hurting his proper thumb within the warm-up and in reality it was hardly examined within the first half.
Barca managed the sport and whereas Alba and Dest by no means actually superior as a lot as Koeman might need favored, Frenkie de Jong and Pedri had been a relentless risk by the center, with the speedy Dembele simply in entrance.
Possibilities, although, had been few and much between and it took a counter-attack for Barcelona to take the lead.
Fernando gave the ball away cheaply up entrance and two passes had been sufficient, Messi curling the decisive one by for Dembele to race clear and end.
Lopegtegui reacted with three modifications at half-time and two extra after the hour however even by matching Barcelona’s system, Sevilla struggled to achieve a foothold.
Alba got here up simply wanting De Jong’s cross, Dest slammed towards the put up and Messi blazed over after one other surge from Dembele.
Certainly one of Lopetegui’s substitutes Youssef En-Nesyri had Sevilla’s greatest likelihood however headed over.
But with out a second aim, a nervy finale was at all times possible and En-Nesyri discovered the nook on the flip however had the aim dominated out for a handball, his tussle with Araujo seeing Barca’s defender go off and he booted some chairs over in frustration.
However Sevilla’s push was temporary, ended by Messi with six minutes left.
He traded passes with Dembele, nipped inside Diego Carlos and tried to complete with a chip. Bono saved however the ball got here to Messi, one yard out.
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