BARCELONA (Jordi Blanco, correspondent) – Barcelona re-engaged in the League in the most appropriate setting. Threatened with losing the third place, he went to win at Sánchez Pizjuán a Sevilla FC that had taken the measure so much and did not attend to Koeman’s tactical revolution, the change of system and the rebellion of a team that took three points transdendental in a performance that sometimes verged on excellence.
A goal from Dembélé at half an hour and another from Messi, in the final stretch, in his eighth consecutive game scoring, earned Barça that very important 0-2, that eighth consecutive victory away from Camp Nou in the League that made it clear that Koeman’s team is still alive, bordering on despair in its attempt to fight a League that wants to compete to the point of exhaustion. Until it is possible.
Barça closed in this way on Saturday in second position, two points behind the leadership and with the best feelings for Wednesday, when they will have to host Sevilla again in the Cup. With seven league victories at home and 15 games without losing in his best streak since the middle of the 2018-19 season.
The Barça coach surprised with a new system, three centrals (Mingueza-Piqué-Lenglet) and Dest-Alba as lanes, reinforcing both the center of the field and raising a pressure that drowned Sevilla, already from the beginning and during the entire first half that dominated with solvency. Fast in the combination, well positioned and as aware of the command of Busquets as of the electricity of Dembélé, Barça subdued a rival who barely arrived once with some danger to Ter Stegen’s goal while opportunities were repeated in the Bonus area.
With all the 0-1 came in a marginal play, in a counter that was born from an error by Lenglet that ended with the ball at the feet of Busquets, which left it to Messi for the Argentine to launch a deep pass, on the run, for Dembélé, who arrived in the area and beat Bono with a low shot to do justice to the best Barça game.
From there to the break the superiority of Barça was perhaps more evident, increasing its dominance and looking for a second goal that it brushed against a couple of occasions to focus the second half with greater tranquility … It did not come.
Lopetegui reacted to the break with a triple change that varied a little, not too much, the scene. Sevilla stretched and forces were equal in appearance, although the control remained of the Catalans, who were able to kill the game on separate occasions from Alba, who did not reach a center by De Jong by millimeters, and Dembélé who was crashed with a defender.
Staying as far away from his area as possible, defending with the ball and having the placement of Busquets and De Jong’s mobility to his best arguments, adding the leadership of Messi and the verticality of Dembélé, a goal from Barça was still closer than a draw for Sevilla … But time passed. And the outcome remained, after all, uncertain.
Piqué injured first and Pedri injured later, Koeman refreshed his team with the entry of Araújo, who reappeared, and Ilaix Moriba, with the misfortune that the Uruguayan was injured again after 15 minutes, leaving the field in a final stretch in the one that appeared in his place Umtiti, next to Braithwaite taking Dembélé’s position.
Looking for the 0-2, Barça also began to suffer for maintaining the 0-1 at the end of a game that Sevilla desperately wanted to re-engage with … Until Messi appeared, with class and determination to close the game in the minute 86 to avoid final suffering.
Barça won by offering an excellent image, it was about time, and they can think again about fighting the League. At least for now.