Football

Sevilla 2-0 Barcelona: 5 talking points as Andalusians sink Blaugrana | Copa del Rey 2020-21 




Goals in each half by Jules Kounde and Ivan Rakitic gave Sevilla a comfortable 2-0 victory over Barcelona in the first leg of the 2020-21 Copa del Rey semi-final.Both managers fielded their strongest teams, with a place in the final on the line.It was Sevilla who started as the stronger of the two sides. But Lionel Messi had the first good chance of the game after he latched onto Antoine Griezmann’s lofted pass into the box. Yassine Bounou, though, rushed off his line to thwart the Argentina forward with a great save.This was to be a running theme in the game, as the Sevilla keeper made a further two fine saves off the Barcelona captain.In the 16th minute, the home side paid tribute to late midfielder Antonio Puertas, and Jules Kounde had a shot sail narrowly wide four minutes later.The France international was not to be denied in the 25th minute, though. He danced his way across the Barcelona midfield and defence before unleashing a well-placed shot beyond Marc-Andre ter Stegen.The goal belied the fact that he is a defender, although questions will once again be asked about why the Blaugrana defence was so easy to breach.Sevilla had another chance in first-half injury time when Sergio Escudero found himself in space on the edge of the box. However, his well-placed shot forced a fine save from Ter Stegen, who ensured Barcelona went into the break just a goal behind.The visitors came off the block blazing in the second half, and Lionel Messi had the first chance after the restart. The 33-year-old had a trademark dribble across the Sevilla defence before playing a one-two with Frenkie de Jong, but Bono once again pulled off a fine stop.

With Barcelona pushing for an equaliser, Sevilla had several chances to catch them on the break. The hosts eventually punished their visitors in the 89th minute.A long ball over the top caught out the Barcelona defence, with Samuel Umtiti fluffing his lines while trying to play Ivan Rakitic offside. The Croatian midfielder ran into the box and held his nerve to score against his former team.The victory puts Sevilla in firm control of this tie ahead of the second leg at Camp Nou on 27 February.On that note, here are five talking points from the game.#5 Impressive Sevilla good value for their win Sevilla dominated Barcelona.Sevilla came into this game on the back of a seven-game winning run in all competitions. Furthermore, they have lost just one of their last 17 games in all competitions, with just two draws recorded in this period.The Andalusians have been rejuvenated under the management of Julen Lopetegui, and they once again produced a comprehensive performance against Barcelona.

A dominant display saw them control proceedings from start to finish, particularly in a one-sided first half. Despite facing some of the best forwards in the game, Sevilla did not give too much away.Most of Barcelona’s few chances came from moments of individual brilliance and set-pieces, but Sevilla had better chances in both halves.Los Nervionenses brought their A-game to the fore against the Blaugrana, and, on the overall balance of play, they deserved their two-goal win.#4 Back to the drawing board for Barcelona’s Ronald Koeman Barcelona saw their winning run come to an end.A recent run of six wins in all competitions had helped ease some of the pressure on Ronald Koeman at Barcelona.Their late comeback against Granada in the quarter-final of this competition rejuvenated the squad.

Fans of the club would have been hoping they could build on that to end the season on a high. But Sevilla had different ideas though, with their impressive victory putting a halt to Barcelona’s winning run.The Copa del Rey offers Barcelona the best opportunity for a trophy this season. But Ronald Koeman has his work cut out if his side are to successfully overturn this two-goal deficit.

Published 11 Feb 2021, 05:56 IST

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