It was the battle for the top spot of the table yesterday in which Barcelona came out as victors. The space between two matches was all Sevilla had for engaging in the revelry about having the claim to the 1st place on the points table as Barcelona beat the visitors at home to silence their parties. It was a tough fixture for Barcelona because of the poor run of display in the last four matches of which they won none in contrast to the opponents who had won all of their last four matches. Add to that the scintillating form of Andre Silva who has scored 7 goals in the league, enhanced the threat for Barcelona.
Barcelona started off superbly as they registered a goal in the 2nd minute. Semedo had contributed largely to the goal as he ran with the ball past the defenders through the wings to pass it to Suarez on the edge of the d-box. Suarez combined with Messi who was able to find Coutinho who then shot it nicely into the goal. Barca were dominating well and it was emphasized further on the 12th minute when Suarez picked out Messi in the right wing who had loads of space ahead and after that there’s only one answer, and that is goal!
But after some time when Messi in possession of the ball, was trying to hold off the opponents fell upon the ground by a challenge. Prima facie it did not seem it would’ve been something serious but as a few moments passed and the spectators saw the leader wincing in agony, rolling back and forth, a spell of anxiousness swept through the stands of Camp Nou. The captain walked off the pitch, got his arm bandaged and made his way into the tunnel. The club later announced it would take approximately 3 weeks for Messi to recover. This was a huge blow to Barcelona, not just for the match under reckoning but also for some very crucial matches ahead.
Dembele came on as a sub for Messi but failed to create a proper impact which one would expect from a 140 million euro priced player. The first half was quite dull after Messi left the pitch. In the second half the team was playing beautifully but inspite of that Sevilla managed to test Ter Stegen a many times. Marc Ander Ter Stegen played the biggest role in the match because had he not been at his supreme level yesterday, goals would’ve been rendered insufficient. He kept Sevilla at bay by making two double saves which kept Barca in the game. in the first sequence Ter stegen clawed away Silva’s header by rising on the right and immediately blocks the ball again when the rebound fell Arana’s way. After this Suarez earned a penalty and he made it 3-0 for Barca. But eleven minutes before the full time Sarabia scored a goal which came off a deflection from Lenglet, denying the German of his clean sheet.
In another sequence Sarabia again made an attempt at goal but it was parried by Ter Stegen who made another save immediately when the rebound was fired by Muriel. With this performance, it totally earned the German keeper, the man of the match.
In the dying minutes of the match Rakitic scored on the half-volley to secure the win for the team. Muriel nets one injury time but that could only improve Sevilla’s goal difference and nothing else.
The Catalans have taken back the pole position on the points table but, and it’s a huge ‘but’; but this has costed them their talisman Lionel Messi, who will be unavailable for some very important matches ahead including the biggest football match in the world, the El Clasico. Thus it looks like this win may at some level be called a pyrrhic victory for Barcelona, for they are going the miss their best player, rather the world’s best player for at least some matches.