Goals from Pablo Sarabia and Wissam Ben Yedder helped Sevilla to a 2-0 win over Barcelona in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final on Wednesday night.
Having lost to Real Madrid in their previous fixture, in La Liga, Sevilla were desperate to return to winning ways against the Copa del Rey holders, and their performance on the night reflected their intent.
— Sevilla FC (@SevillaFC_ENG) January 23, 2019
The hosts started the game on the front foot and looked determined to break the deadlock right from the first minute. Barcelona, who were without most of their first-choice players, failed to cope with Sevilla’s relentless pressing and were forced to drop deep.
Barcelona players offered almost no resistance, as Sevilla players bombarded their final third. However, despite dominating every single aspect of play in the first half, the hosts failed to get themselves on the scoresheet, as none of their six attempts on goal managed to trouble the Blaugrana stopper.
Sevilla, once again, came out all guns blazing in the second half. The visitors threatened in bits and pieces, but they, too, were just as awful in front of goal. Pablo Machin’s side finally broke the deadlock just before the hour mark, with Pablo Sarabia’s smart finish handing the Rojiblancos a much-deserved lead. They doubled their advantage in the 76th minute, as Ben Yedder converted from a defence-splitting Ever Banega cross.
After scoring against Barcelona on Wednesday, Wissam Ben Yedder paid tribute to Emiliano Sala 🙏 pic.twitter.com/RJBKphDNLU
— Goal (@goal) January 23, 2019
Barcelona tried their best to cut the deficit but lacked the conviction to punish an inspiring Sevilla outfit.
Sevilla: Soriano; Gomez, Kjaer, Mercado; Escudero, Banega, Amadou, Navas; Sarabia; Promes, Ben Yedder.
Barcelona: Cillessen; Semedo, Lenglet, Pique, Roberto; Artur, Rakitic, Vidal; Alena, Boateng, Malcom;
Talking Points: A Deserving Sevilla Win
Pablo Machin’s Sevilla have enjoyed a successful campaign so far, and last night’s performance was yet another feather in their cap. Despite going against the defending champions, they didn’t show even a hint of nervousness and took the game by the scruff of its neck.
The hosts were at their best in the first half and really deserved a goal mark their superiority. They did well to keep up the tempo in the second half and secure a two-goal advantage heading into the second leg at Camp Nou.
In Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez’s absence, new Barcelona signing, Kevin-Prince Boateng, was handed his Barcelona debut at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium on Wednesday night. Thanks to Sevilla’s determination, Boateng didn’t have much to work with and was largely restricted to non-threatening areas.
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde chose to start most of the second-string players, who themselves are still not fully accustomed to the team’s style of play. As a result, the 31-year-old looked isolated and failed to make any sort of impact.
No Messi, No Party, Again
Valverde took the bold decision of leaving Barcelona skipper, Lionel Messi, out of the squad for the first-leg, hoping other members of the team would step up and avoid an embarrassment. Sadly, they didn’t.
— Goal (@goal) January 24, 2019
The Catalan outfit were looking out of their element right from the first minute and allowed Sevilla to walk all over them. Without Messi, they lacked creativity up top and barely threatened the Sevilla back-line. Only 1 of their 10 goal attempts was on target – a proper reflection of Barcelona’s hapless state without their ingenious captain.
Barcelona’s next fixture sees them welcome Girona to Camp Nou in La Liga on Sunday.