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Error-prone Barcelona face Copa del Rey elimination after Sevilla defeat

Barcelona suffered a 2-0 defeat to Sevilla in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final.
Barcelona suffered a 2-0 defeat to Sevilla in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final.
ANALYST
Modified 11 Feb 2021
Feature

Barcelona came away from Sevilla with a disappointing result after losing in the first leg of the semi-final of the Copa del Rey. The Blaugrana were soundly beaten 2-0 at the Sanchez Pizjuan.

Goals from Jules Kounde and Barcelona old boy Ivan Rakitic were enough to secure a healthy first-leg advantage for Julen Lopetegui’s side.

The defeat leaves Barcelona with an uphill task in the second leg although they cannot be completely ruled out of the tie yet. The Catalans had been on an impressive run prior to the game, but their performance on the night was woeful at best.

Ronald Koeman would have been frustrated by his side’s wastefulness in front of goal, as well as their overall lack of attitude after falling behind early.

A disaster-class in defence

Barcelona’s performance was mirrored by the defensive horror show put up by Samuel Umtiti. The Frenchman was responsible for the two goals conceded on Wednesday night.

First, Umtiti allowed Kounde to easily dribble straight past him before firing past Marc-Andre ter Stegen. He was also culpable for Rakitic’s second goal after he played the Croatian midfielder onside.

"We left a lot of space in the first goal, not just in defence, but from the midfield," Koeman said in the press conference after the match. "And in the second goal, we have not done a good job creating the offside."
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"Umtiti was good in the game. He made mistakes like everyone else does. It's part of football. It's not fair to go after him. We all lose and we all win together," Koeman added.

Umtiti may have been the biggest culprit but the rest of Barcelona’s backline was also in shambles. Jordi Alba, Oscar Minguez and Junior Firpo barely had any breathing space against Sevilla.

Barcelona could end the season without a trophy

Defeat to Sevilla means Barcelona now have to overturn a two-goal deficit in order to advance to the final of the Copa del Rey. Having already fallen far behind in the race for La Liga, this is the club’s most realistic chance of ending the season with a trophy.

Atletico Madrid have opened an eight-point gap at the top of the table and also have a game in hand. Meanwhile, a clash with Paris Saint-Germain also awaits the Blaugrana in the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League.

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Between the three competitions – La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League, the Spanish cup would be the easiest to win. However, Barcelona already seem to be on their way to exiting the competition.

Should they fail to overturn the defeat against Sevilla, Koeman’s side will be staring a trophyless season in the face. But who can they blame after such a lethargic performance against Sevilla?

Published 11 Feb 2021, 22:43 IST
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