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Played
February 23, 2013 4:00 PM EST
Camp Nou — Barcelona
Referee:‬ Carlos Velasco‎
Attendance:‬ 57629‎
 
52′ David Villa
Botía 42′
60′ Lionel Messi
 
Top of the Match
David Villa
David Villa
Barcelona
Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi
Barcelona
Flop of the Match
Alexis Sánchez
Alexis Sánchez
Barcelona
Alexis Sánchez
Alexis Sánchez
Barcelona

Barcelona 2-1 Sevilla: Brittle Blaugrana bounce back against wasteful Rojiblancos

The Catalans showed impressive character in coming from behind to triumph at Camp Nou, thanks to David Villa and Lionel Messi, but their defensive frailties were again on show

By Mark Doyle

Barcelona somewhat-fortuitously put its Champions League woe behind it with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Sevilla that allowed the Catalans to stretch their lead at the top of La Liga to 15 points.

Just as it did against AC Milan at San Siro on Wednesday night, the Blaugrana looked largely devoid of ideas for long periods and their defensive deficiencies were exposed once more when Rojiblancos defender Alberto Botia silenced Camp Nou just before the break.

David Villa and Lionel Messi turned the game back in Barca's favor by the hour mark but they would not have held on to all three points had it not been for some dreadfully wasteful finishing from both Ivan Rakitic and Alvaro Negredo.

While Real Madrid initially left star man Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench for their meeting with Deportivo La Coruna earlier in the evening, with Tuesday’s Copa del Rey Clasico at Camp Nou very much in mind, Barca opted to risk starting with Messi up top, which was just as well, really.

One imagines that the diminutive Argentine would have been dead against a rest, anyway, given that he had effectively taken a night off against Milan in midweek. Messi certainly looked a different player against Sevilla, creating an opening for Andres Iniesta inside the first five minutes, only to see his teammate ultimately crowded out after cutting inside on to his right foot.

The mercurial duo combined again midway through the first half when Iniesta nonchalantly picked out his teammate in a couple of yards of space on the right-hand side of the box. However, Messi’s low strike from an acute angle was easily dealt with by Beto.

Truth be told, the Sevilla players were coping quite comfortably with everything that Barca were throwing at them. Admittedly, their most effective tactic was taking it in terms to chop down Messi every time he attempted to build up a head of steam, but their defensive shape was excellent and they stunned their hosts with a classic sucker punch just before the break.

Rakitic floated a free kick from left to right and, after controlling it beautifully, Coke lofted the ball into the area for Botia to beat Victor Valdes with a downward header. Camp Nou was stunned - and yet it was wholly unsurprising given its side’s woeful defensive record of late.

It was clear that the Blaugrana needed a swift riposte to restore their fragile confidence - and they got one five minutes into the second period, Villa cushioning a sublime cross from Dani Alves past a helpless Beto.

The goal, coupled with the halftime introduction of Cristian Tello in place of the typically ineffective Alexis Sanchez, transformed Barcelona and it took the lead just before the hour mark. Messi started and finished the move, passing wide to Tello before losing his man, Botia, in the area and then coolly sidefooting the return-ball home.

Messi went close to netting a second goal in as many minutes but his long-range effort flew just over. However, Sevilla had not gone away and Rakitic really should have restored parity on 69 minutes but he dragged his shot wide after being the recipient of a terrific cut-back from the impressive Navas.

If that was profligate, what followed five minutes later was far worse, Negredo lifting the ball over the bar after being put straight through on goal by Rakitic's slide-rule pass. Sevilla would not get a better chance to salvage what, on the whole, would have been a deserved draw.


Barcelona

1
Víctor Valdés
Goalkeeper
3.50
22
Daniel Alves
Defender
52′
3.00
3
Piqué
Defender
3.00
2
Montoya
Defender
2.50
8
3.00
6
Thiago Alcántara
Midfielder
3.00
14
Javier Mascherano
Midfielder
3.00
17
Alex Song
Midfielder
2.50
9
David Villa
Striker
52′ 79′
4.00
9
2.00
10
Lionel Messi
Striker
60′
3.50

Sevilla

3.00
-
Beto
Goalkeeper
3.00
2
2.50
3
3.00
23
Coke
Defender
42′
3.50
3
Botía
Defender
42′ 86′
3.00
15
3.00
8
Gary Medel
Midfielder
55′
3.00
11
Ivan Rakitic
Midfielder
2.00
12
3.00
14
2.50
-

Substitutes

13
 - 
15
Bartra
Defender
 - 
18
Jordi Alba
Defender
 - 
6
Xavi
Midfielder
69′
3.00
16
Busquets
Midfielder
79′
 - 
7
Pedro
Striker
 - 
20
Tello
Striker
46′ 60′
3.50

Substitutes

 - 
-
Cuesta
Goalkeeper
 - 
27
Cala
Defender
 - 
-
Alberto
Defender
82′
 - 
28
Javi Hervás
Midfielder
2.50
-
3.00
9
Negredo
Striker
61′
 - 
21
Reyes
Striker

Coach/Manager

Coach/Manager

3.00
-
 
  • Goal
  • Own Goal
  • Penalty
  • Penalty Missed
  • Yellow Card
  • Assist
  • Penalty Save
  • Penalty Shootout Goal
  • Penalty Shootout Miss
  • Yellow Card / Red Card
  • Red Card
  • Substitution IN
  • Substitution OUT
  • Injury
  • Goal.com Rating
  • Goal.com Man of the Match
  • Goal.com Flop of the Match
  • Top & Flop Global Ranking
  • Fans' Man of the Match
  • Fans' Flop of the Match
Results
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo
Striker
Real Madrid
28 6
Diego Costa Diego Costa
Striker
Atlético de Madrid
27 5
Lionel Messi Lionel Messi
Striker
Barcelona
26 6
Karim Benzema Karim Benzema
Striker
Real Madrid
17 0
Alexis Sánchez Alexis Sánchez
Striker
Barcelona
17 0