What. A. Game!
Sevilla pressed like their lives depended on it throughout the first half, but two moments of outstanding skill from Leo Messi, and a ruthless Luis Suarez made all the difference. The Argentine was everywhere and the longer the game drew on, the greater his impact was. What a player that human being is. WOOF.
Sampaoli's men played their hearts out, but tired as the game wore on. They will rue a host of missed opportunities - particularly Salabria's ludicrous backheel when through on goal - and in the end they succumbed to their more illustrious rivals. They really look like a top-three team, though, and La Liga looks set for a promising 2016-17 season.
It was an immense pleasure covering this game with you guys! Thank you for the mails and the company!
Anirudh Menon signing out, and crashing on the nearest pillow...
The hosts gave it their all, but Leo Messi and Luis Suarez were simply too good, too ruthless.
93' Correa goes down under pressure from Mascherano inside the Barca box, but the ref waves PLAY ON!
92' Mariano rampages forward, but Gomes blocks brilliantly... Messi breaks superbly and plays in Neymar on goal. The Brazilian takes a touch too many and lets Rico come forward to collect.
91' Barca waste another minute as they REFUSE to give the ball back to Sevilla for their throw-in. WOW. Sevilla really got under their skin, here. Mascherano entered the book for time-wasting by the bye
THREE MINUTES OF STOPPAGE TIME! THAT IS RIDICULOUS!!! IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A MINIMUM OF FIVE!!!
90' The game has slowed down to a crawl now - when compared to the ludicrous speed of the first half!
89' I like how the ref hasn't been intimidated by Barca's big stars. He's been excellent tonight!
88' Luis Suarez talks himself into the book - he was harrying the ref asking him to book Carrico again. Let the ref do his job, Luis!
87' OH VIETTTOO!!! HE BREAKS 2 ON 1 WITH DIGNE BACKTRACKING AND IBORRA FOR COMPANY! HE SMACKS THE CROSS STRAIGHT AT TER STEGEN. WHAT A WASTED CHANCE!!!
86' Sevilla swarm forward with real menace, but Andre Gomes does well to nip it off the toe of Escudero
85' Messi takes the free kick, but Vitolo is bundled over by Gomes and that's a free kick for Sevilla now. SUBSTITUTION for Barca -Rafinha ON, Denis Suarez OFF. Dhiraj gets his wish - about 85 minutes after he made it!
84' Carrico gets a YELLOW as he rugby tackles Suarez to the ground.
83' SUBSTITUTION - Sarabia OUT, Correa ON.
82' Vietto dithers on the ball, and Barca break right back. N'zonzi enters the ref's naughty book after he trips up Leo Messi. The Argentine lies down on the grass, and takes his own sweet time to put his boot back on - and he gives the ref a mouthful the whole while! The ref correctly books him for that childish behaviour! Great decision from the man with the whistle!
81' HAHAHA!! Neymar tries to tease and torment Mariano. The right back doesn't fall for any of his tricks and eventually Neymar manages to trick himself and Mariano breaks
80' Umtiti clears the first time, then Mascherano gets his head to it... it bounces away to Vitolo, but his usually powerful shot deserts him and it dribbles harmlessly wide
79' Sarabia plays the ball into Ganso who plays it first time to Vietto at the edge of the box, and Digne clears superbly. Corner for Sevilla...
77' An exhausted Samir Nasri OFF, Vincent Iborra ON! The local lad is a bundle of power and energy who has aged like fine wine. He's really good, is what I'm trying to say.
76' Messi is on the ground with his head in his hands.... the crowd lets the man know what they think of it. Meanwhile, I forgot to update you that Andre Gomes came on for Ivan Rakitic a couple of minutes back - the Pizjuan gave their former sweetheart a standing ovation!
End. To. End.
74' OH SUAREZ!!!! AM I EVER GOING TO GET TO STOP TYPING IN CAPS!!! SUAREZ HAS A POP AT GOAL FROM SIX YARDS OUT THAT SERGIO RICO DOES MAGNIFICENTLY WELL TO SAVE!!!
73' OH N'ZONZI!!!!!!!!!!!! THE BIG MAN BEATS EVERYONE IN THE AIR, INCLUDING TER STEGEN, BUT CAN ONLY PLACE HIS HEADER WIDE!!!! THAT WAS OH SOOOOO CLOSE!! WHAT A LEAP FROM THE SEVILLA MIDFIELDER!!!!
72' Escudero and Ganso combine on the Barca right and win a corner of Roberto.....
71' OOO NEYMAR! The Brazilian wafts through the Sevilla defence and plays in Luis Suarez with a delightful through ball. The Uruguyan takes the ball past the keeper but uncharacteristically gets caught in two minds and smacks a shot-cum-pass across the face of goal!! THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THREE, AND WITH IT, THE GAME!
70' Messi is walking around the centre of the park with the ball at his feet. The home fans are getting supremely annoyed that their team are not pressing ala the first half! Sampaoli looks like his neck will burst any moment!
69' Sevilla look a touch disheartened, they have been palpably the better unit, but what do you do when you are up against Messi and Suarez?
68' Digne tries to wriggle his way through the box, then Messi gives it ago, but Sevilla break..... Rami's ball has just too much juice on it for Vietto!
67' SUBSTITUTION for Sevilla - Lucas Vazquez OFF, Paul Henrique 'Ganso' ON. The Brazilian is right old magician on the ball - cut off the same cloth as that slo-mo genius Juan Ramon Riquelme
66' Nasri plays a delightful ball to the far post where Adil Rami is in acres of space. The defender tries to lay it back to N'Zonzi, but its intercepted
65' YELLOW for Digne as he pulls down a rampaging Mariano.
64' Sevilla, this time, unable to string towo passes together! Vitolo finally manages to break forward, but guess who's there tracking back and hassling the Spaniard. Leo Messi, that's who. Vitolo - almost out of surprise - loses the ball to the Argentine!
63' How Sevilla will be ruing the million chances they missed in the second half. Barcelona are beginning to impose themselves here. It's pass-pass-pass.
62' Mariano skins Digne down the right and then he swings in a teasing little cross that bounces its way to Vitolo. The Spaniard inexplicably dithers on the ball, and that's the chance lost!
Oh Wow. Messi draws white shirts to him like they are bees and he's a particularly attractive flower, before he slips in Suarez. The Urguyuan has a tough finish, but he makes it look Oh so easy! What a player that man is
59' OH LEO MESSI, He dinks and jinks his way past FOUR Sevilla players, ball tied to his laces with that magical touch of his... and he's through one-on-one, but it's on his right foot and he blazes over. What beautiful skill to make space. What a rubbish finish once he got that space!
58' Escudeto slams a shot straight at ter Stegen! OW!!
57' Mascherano is growing into this game, and he's warming to his task. He slides along the immaculate Pizjuan to intercept Vietto and Barca counter... Denis Suarez lets fly with a shot, but it's handsomely wide!
56' WHAT A CHALLENGE JAVIER MASCHERANO! The argentine was the last man as Vitolo bore down and goal, the tiniest miscalculation and that was Red!
|10||Celta de Vigo||34||12||9||13||6||45|
|18||Deportivo La Coruña||34||6||10||18||-33||28|