(Jordi Blanco) – A goal from Koundé in the first half and a deadly counterattack defined by Rakitic in the final stretch of the second half gave Sevilla a huge victory in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals to leave Barcelona on the verge of KO.
2-0 at the Pizjuán and the decision of the tie pending a round that will be played in three weeks … And in which Barça will have to work little less than a miracle.
Of the 18 games that Sevilla has played as a visitor this season, only one lost by that marker, on January 12 against Atlético de Madrid and in the six Cup games they have not conceded a single goal. This time, not even Messi, who historically has his favorite victim in the Seville club, was able to overcome Bounou.
It was an unexpected result, understanding that Sevilla did not sentence him until the final stretch, when the 1-0 already seemed immovable despite the intense dominance, although absent from clear occasions, of a Barça that did not give up, although it sinned with little success in the auction.
In fact, it was not a typical Cup duel. Not from what was seen this season. Both Sevilla and Barça aware that the tie will be decided in a double game and that the second leg is ahead (it will be played on March 3), they did not seek an open-ended match and maintained the intention of ensuring rather than sentencing.
He defined a goal, a great goal, by Koundé midway through the first half, after an excellent personal move, winning the ball from Griezmann, leaving Umtiti marked and beating Ter Stegen with a crossed shot that surprised, in all its extension of the play, both for the plasticity and brilliance and for the lack of forcefulness of the Catalans, who went from dominating to dominating from the goal and until the break.
Before that, Koeman’s team was able to advance in a chopped pass from Griezmann whose first shot was miraculously saved by Bounou and the best minutes were seen, without overwhelming, of a firm Barça in the game and that lost its head after that play by the Sevilla central defender.
In fact, he was still fortunate to go to rest losing by the minimum, saved by Ter Stegen in the last breath and pending to recover sensations in a second half that, it was hoped, would have another spirit.
Barcelona entered with more determination and with greater intention to regain dominance. Dembélé again allowed himself to be seen, Messi took the lead and De Jong multiplied to corner a Sevilla more busy defending his minimum income than expanding it … Unless it was through a backlash, less and less common to the extent to which the game progressed.
Barça looked for it, eagerly but without success in the local area and Sevilla was defending calmly and soberly, which little by little, however, understood that fatigue was noticeable among the Catalans and looked for one against that would give him gold …
And he found it almost at the end, when the Barça organization was conspicuous by its absence and the ball came to Rakitic on the left wing of the attack so that he entered the area and finished off with a shell an unexpected game due to the result.
Bounou still had time to shine again against Messi … And Barça went home defeated, sunk and collapsed. Pending a miracle for the return if he still wants to aspire to play the final. Today everything is looking ahead for Sevilla.