FC Barcelona seemed to have recaptured their mojo in their come from behind victory over Sevilla today. FC Barcelona were behind twice but Messi’s goal and assist ensured an important 4-2 victory that ensured they protect their large lead atop of the standings. They currently enjoy a ten-point cushion as Atletico Madrid will play tomorrow.
Barça would suffer the first blow when Jesus Navas scored Sevilla’s opener in the 21st minute from a rapid counter-attack, which came as a result of poor pass from Messi, that resulted in Ben Yedder setting up Jesus Navas for the opening goal. Fortunately, Sevilla’s lead was short-lived, because four minutes later, Messi struck a sublime volley from inside the box, courtesy of a cross from Ivan Rakitic from the left side of the box. Sevilla though would retake the lead again four minutes from the break, after the defense’s lapse of concentration saw Pablo Sarabia set up Gabriel Mercado to score from close range.
The second half would be a different tale as Barça, through Messi, battled back to ensure a positive result for them. In the 67th minute, a poor pass from Sevilla’s goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik, was intercepted by Rakitic and he quickly fed the ball to Dembélé who spotted at the edge of the box. Messi would quickly curl a superb shot pass Vaclik to make it 2-2. In the 83rd minute, Barça benefitted from a fortunate bounce after substitute’s Carles Aleñá’s shot attempt was blocked, only for the ball to fall directly to Messi, who proceeded to chip the ball over Vaclik and score the game winning goal.
That goal was Messi’s 650th goal of his career and the 50th hat-trick of his career. Sevilla has become Messi’s favorite opponent as he has now scored more goals against them than any other side in Spain, with 36 goals in 35 matches, including what is now three hat-tricks. He also set a new league record for most goals against an opponent, with 28 goals against Sevilla. Messi was not quite done with Sevilla as he also assisted Luis Suárez in stoppage time who lobbed the ball over Vaclik to make it 4-2.
This result means Barça will enjoy a comfortable lead atop of the standings. Now, they must shift their attention to the upcoming Clásico encounters where they will face their arch enemies Real Madrid in Madrid twice in a span of a week. They will face Madrid on Wednesday in the second leg of their Copa del Rey Semi-Final clash before facing them again at the Bernabéu on Saturday for their final league encounter.
Match Info (From Sport):
Sevilla FC: Vaclik, Navas (c), Mercado (Vázquez, min. 50), Kjaer, Sergi Gómez, Wöber (Amadou, min. 55), Rog (Roque Mesa, min. 60), Banega, Sarabia, Promes & Ben Yedder.
FC Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Semedo (Sergi Roberto, min. 45), Piqué, Umtiti, Alba, Busquets, Rakitic, Arturo Vidal (Dembélé, min. 45), Messi (c), Coutinho (Aleñá, min. 78) & Luis Suárez.
Goals: 1-0, Jesús Navas (min. 21); 1-1, Messi (min. 25); 2-1, Mercado (min. 41); 2-2, Messi (min. 67); 2-3, Messi (min. 83). 2-4, min. 90+2: Suárez.
Referee: Mateu Lahoz.
Cautions: Piqué (min. 38), Rog (min. 48), Wöber (min. 55), Vázquez (min. 69), Kjaer (min. 80), Sarabia (min. 82) & Roque Mesa (min. 89).