Barcelona 4-2 Sevilla: La Liga – as it happened

  • Lionel Messi forced off with arm injury
  • Coutinho, Messi, Suárez and Rakitic score for Barcelona

Lionel Messi ruled out of clásico

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Thank you for joining me for this rather exciting evening of football in Barcelona. You can’t argue about the level of entertainment on offer (unless you’re a massive Messi fan). Anyway, that’s all from me. Join me again tomorrow for the Milan derby, because I know you want to.

A great final goal from Barcelona, it has to be said ...

Barcelona produced three great goals thanks to Coutinho, Messi and Rakitic’s late volley, not to mention Suarez getting his reward for his tireless work in the final third. Let’s just hope Messi’s problem isn’t too severe.

Full-time: Barcelona 4-2 Sevilla

Barcelona are now top of La Liga but that is a fraction of the story from the Nou Camp tonight. Firstly, Messi went off injured with a nasty looking arm injury when Barcelona were two goals ahead. The score makes it look like they dominated but they were reliant on Ter Stegen producing some great saves, as Sevilla repeatedly got beyond Barcelona’s weak defence.

That has tired me out.

GOAL! Barcelona 4-2 Sevilla (Muriel, 90+2)

A lovely consolation goal. Sevilla broke on Barcelona, resulting in Muriel getting the ball in space on the left and curling a precise shot around Ter Stegen into the corner.

GOAL! Barcelona 4-1 Sevilla (Rakitic, 88)

CRASH! BANG! WALLOP! WHAT A GOAL! Dembele tried to play the ball through the defence but it was blocked, only to land perfectly on Rakitic’s right boot from where he unleashed a stunning low volley across the goalkeeper and arrowed into the bottom corner. And, as he’s a gentlemen, he refused to celebrate against his former club.

Ivan Rakitic takes the acclaim of his teammates after another searing strike.
Ivan Rakitic takes the acclaim of his teammates after another searing strike. Photograph: Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images

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86 min: RUDDY HELL! Ter Stegen has come to the rescue once more with a second incredible double save. He first sticks out an arm to repel Sarabia who was 15 yards away form goal and under no pressure and then he stayed big to get in the way of Ben Yedder’s rebound. No wonder the home fans are singing his name.

85 min: Jesus Navas’ heatmap has just been shown and it very much indicates a man who has been scurrying up and down the right flank all game. Sadly for no reward.

83 min: Coutinho whipped a free-kick over the wall from 35 yards, which bounced just in front of Vaclik who manages to fist the ball away from his goal in an innocuous manner.

81 min: Suarez is the last man to be replaced for Barcelona. Munir has come on to take his place.

GOAL! Barcelona 3-1 Sevilla (Sarabia, 79)

Sarabia will certainly be claiming this one. He cut in from the right onto his left foot and fired away a shot which was going straight at Ter Stegen but ex-Sevilla man Lenglet tried to get it clear but only succeeded in deflecting it beyond his own goalkeeper. Game on?

77 min: The Barcelona fans are, suppoesedly, signing “Julen, we love you. Stay.” I am not sure the former Barcelona goalkeeper will appreciate the sentiment, if I’m being honest.

75 min: Barcelona look the far more likely to get a goal, as Sevilla are struggling to contain them in midfield and attack. It could be a tricky last 15 minutes for them unless they find some gumption.

73 min: Almost a fourth for Barcelona as Coutinho’s latest corner landed on Lenglet’s head but he glanced it wide from a central position.

The next man to try to increase the lead was Suarez who enjoyed some delightful interplay with Semedo, resulting in the Suarez hitting a powerful shot from 20 yards straight at Vaclik.

71 min: The arrival of Roque Mesa seems to be a sign that Sevilla aren’t really going for this. Let’s get through the final 20 minutes of this by dreaming of wine.

69 min: Swansea legend Roque Mesa is now on for Sevilla. Will he be able to make the difference? No, absolutely not.

67 min: Sergi Roberto is on for Arthur now. The extra energy in the middle of the park might become useful against Sevilla’s midfield trio.

Ben Yedder is the latest man to come close for Sevilla after pulling a shot wide from just inside the area.

65 min: What a couple of minutes there. From Ter Stegen making an incredible double save to Suarez firmly putting Barcelona into control.

Sevilla have it all to do here.

Carles doesn’t forget ...

GOAL! Barcelona 3-0 Sevilla (Suarez, pen, 63)

It was all about Suarez there who sped through on goal, tapped the ball round Vaclik who brought down the Uruguayan striker for the price of a booking and a penalty. Suarez then sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to get his goal. He really enjoyed it too after a tough night.

Luis Suárez wins a penalty which he then scored.
Luis Suárez wins a penalty which he then scored. Photograph: Manu Fernandez/AP

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61 min: WHAT A DOUBLE SAVE! Utterly stunning from Ter Stegen. He has had pretty much nothing to do all game but he clawed Silva’s header out of the top corner, before jumping up to spread himself to block Vazquez’s followup.

60 min: Sergi Roberto is being put through his paces on the touchline. Could he be brought into midfield to provide greater stability?

58 min: It really isn’t Suarez’s night in Barcelona. He earned some spaced in the area but his shot with the outside of the boot was blocked and then he smashed the rebound well wide after snatching at it.

56 min: Navas latched onto a Silva pass and then cross it into Alba’s outstretched arm. VAR is having a look ... but nothing is given. Barcelona were a little lucky there.

54 min: Suarez received the ball in space 25 yards from goal and then spun to fire away a shot which bounced wide via the post.

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53 min: Kjaer is back on the deck as he has suffered a groin problem and looks set to be replaced quite quickly.

51 min: The Barcelona defence looks like it was cobbled together yesterday. There is a lot of space in between them and Sevilla are trying to exploit it and have got into dangerous positions but are yet to threaten Ter Stegen. I am sure they will, though, soon.

49 min: Sevilla have poured numbers into the final third here in an attempt to put pressure onto Barcelona but the likes of Ben Yedder, Navas and Benega have all struggled to find that crucial final ball.

47 min: If you like needless fouls then Carrico jumping into Coutinho back 80 yards from his own goal will have made you very happy.

Second-half: Barcelona 2-0 Sevilla

Here we go again!

The players are heading back to the pitch here. Can Sevilla get back into the game here?

No more changes here. Supposedly, Messi is off to the hospital for some tests now.

But if you prefer goals to injuries, then these are for you ...

Coutinho’s opener:

Messi with the second:

Here is the fall and subsequent injury ...

Looking back at the injury, Messi’s arm did seem to go at a wired angle, leaving him in agony but the medics did not seem to find an obvious fracture, as they wouldn’t have tried to strap him up and send him back out there.

Couple of months out for Messi might not be a bad thing - it will allow him to join Harry Redknapp in I’m A Celebrity ...

Half-time: Barcelona 2-0 Sevilla

Messi’s fall to the earth and the agony caused by his injured arm was the most important incident of the half. Barcelona will not want to be without him for too long but it looked bad.

Prior to that Barcelona were in control and scored two great goals through Coutinho and Messi.

45 min: Dembele carried out some good work down the right, then lifted his head up and laid a pass into Suarez’s path but it was straight at the goalkeeper.

Down the other end a Navas cross was steered wide by Sarabia.

44 min: The stats show that Suarez is a kilometre quicker in a sprint than Kjaer, so that is something for us all to look forward to later.

42 min: It was all happening in the Sevilla box there as Semedo broke away on the right but smashed the shot well wide 10 yards from goal and under no pressure. While that was happening Carrico was pulled down on the edge of the box but the referee did not see it and VAR had no interest. All a bit strange.

40 min: Sevilla have put on a little pressure here, helped by a complete inability to clear the ball from Barcelona who seem happy to absorb the pressure, which is a touch odd.

38 min: Another superb Suarez pass released Dembele on the left-hand side of the pitch, allowing him to sprint into the area but his shot flew across the goal and wide.

36 min: Kjaer is back on the pitch, which is useful as Barcelona are pushing for a third. Coutinho fancied his chances from 25 yards but curled his shot just wide of the net.

34 min: Navas failed to head the ball back to his goalkeeper, sending it out for a corner instead. Barcelona swung it in but the referee blew up for a Suarez foul and then he smashed the ball into the stand just because.

Kjaer was clattered by the goalkeeper when the ball was whipped in and he is now being treated by the medics.

32 min: Busquets has been winded by a ball to the torso, which got a bit of an ‘oooof’ from the crowd. The stoppage does help the staff hand over Messi’s armband.

30 min: Now Barcelona need to show they can cope without Messi. There is no doubting the quality in this side but when they usually have the greatest player in the world, it can still be quite easy to rely on him to do quite a bit of the heavy lifting.

Suarez has just broken the corner flag to prove how hard he is.

28 min: Dembele almost makes an instant impact by running 60 yards or so with the ball at his feet, before going inside and then out against a defender but his shot was blocked and ricocheted back out for a goal-kick.

Playing against Sevilla is fun ...

26 min: Prior to making the sub, Barcelona really slowed down the game by calmly keeping possession to ensure Sevilla were not allowed a sniff. We’re are once again back to 11 v 11 as Dembele enters.

24 min: Common sense has won and now Messi is heading down the tunnel with his shirt now a makeshift sling. He has been off for almost 10 minutes now and it really is time to make a change. Dembele is coming.

22 min: In the meantime, there is some football going on. Sevilla have had a man advantage for five minutes or so while Messi has been put back together.

20 min: The Barcelona No 10 is no closer to getting back onto the pitch by the looks of it, although the medics are now putting some heavy duty strapping onto him.

18 min: Messi is dragged off the turf by two members of the medical staff, who are still working on the Barcelona captain, as they seem to think they can get him back out there.

16 min: Messi is in agony after hitting the turf hand with his arm outstretched as he tried to cushion his fall. He really looks hurt. Not a good sign.

Could this be the night Barcelona confirm they will be winning the league title? Real Madrid don’t look they fancy challenging and they are proving their superiority over Sevilla right now.

Chris asks: “I wondered how these teams will be aiming to juggle this game with European commitments? Where are their priorities?”

Barcelona have a tough week and a lack of defenders with Inter Milan and Real Madrid their next opponents. Due to Real’s flailing in the league, they will know they have a little leeway domestically. They will look to get out of their Champions League group quickly, so they can focus on the league for the months prior to the knockout games.

Sevilla, on the other hand, will just aim to win the Europa League again.

GOAL! Barcelona 2-0 Sevilla (Messi, 13)

A superb pass from Suarez got Messi one-on-one with Gomez moving towards goal, allowing the Barcelona man to cut in onto his favoured left foot and curl the ball perfectly into the bottom right-hand corner.

Lionel Messi makes it 2-0 in customary style.
Lionel Messi makes it 2-0 in customary style. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

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10 min: Messi and Alba combined on the edge of the box, from where the Argentine sent it through to the full-back who just kept it in and and played it back to the little magician but his shot was blocked by a defender.

8 min: Overall Sevilla seem a little nervous, maybe a little overawed by the prospect of battling for top spot away at Barcelona. Maybe that shot from Arana will relax the players and give them some belief.

6 min: Off the post! Semedo went walkabout, allowing a breaking Silva to play the ball into the onrushing Arana’s path, who made it to 20 yards out before smashing a low shot across Ter Stegen but then witnessed it fiercely bounce off the base of the spot.

4 min: Pique spends a few seconds on the floor after getting the ball into an uncomfortable area, shall we say, but he gets up and seems fine.

GOAL! Barcelona 1-0 Sevilla (Coutinho, 2)

Some lovely work on the edge of the box with Semedo, Suarez and Messi combining, before the Argentine slipped it through to Coutinho to curl the ball into the top corner from just inside the area. Lovely stuff.

Philippe Coutinho arcs in a brilliant opener as Jesús Navas watches on hopelessly.
Philippe Coutinho arcs in a brilliant opener as Jesús Navas watches on hopelessly. Photograph: Manu Fernandez/AP

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2 min: Carrico had all the time in the world to clear the ball 25 yards from his own goal but just smashed it straight out for a Barcelona corner. Coutinho’s corner made it to the back post but Pique just could not get it under control and it ran clear.

Kick-off: Barcelona v Sevilla

Here we go at the Nou Camp!

Messi has just collected his player of the month award, which looks like a budget version of the World Cup. He probably has repetitive strain from lifting trinkets.

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Here come the teams!

They are welcomed by this banner ...

As Ezra points out, this Sevilla team reminds of your favourite Football Manager side of about 10 years ago.

He says: “A few throwbacks in the Sevilla team:Danish backman Simon Kjaer,Ever Banega who I know from FIFA Manager 2009,City attacker Jesus Navas and an ex-Barca man on the bench in Aleix Vidal.”

They are playing the Queen classic ‘Barcelona’ in honour of opera singer Montserrat Caballé who recently died. A nice way to start an evening of football,

A little reminder of the lineups:

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Lovely pictures of the warmup as Coutinho and Jordi Alba go for the ‘Big 10s’ pre-match.

Ps you can get in contact in the usual places *points up*

Sevilla are getting ready at the Nou Camp ...

The Nou Camp is a decent example, but what makes a stadium great?

Barcelona’s Arthur has been a bit of a revelation since forcing his way into the team. I am looking forward to seeing how he fares in a big game.

Ps Villarreal and Atletico have drawn.

Sevilla’s Machin is pretty excited about the prospect of the game, especially as his side can go back to the top if they manage to surprise Barcelona on their own patch.

This is a beautiful match because of the way the two teams have been playing in this league, and this will decide the league leaders.

We are going up against the best team and the best player in the world and if we have any chinks in our armour they will know how to take advantage of them.

But we are going for the win. We will be able to create chances and I hope we can convert them. Many teams go to that great stadium wearing their hearts on their sleeves and usually lose, but we will try to have a good day.

We are going with the belief that we can get something positive. We are going for the win, because if we don’t do that we could come away with our heads bowed.

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Ernesto Valverde was asked about the prospect of Neymar returning to Barcelona, which seems unlikely after the manner of his departure.

I know that any time is a good time to think about Neymar but he is in another team and it is speculation.

We are not in the market and it’s not something you are going to see in the short term. It is a question that is good to entertain people but we don’t know what will happen in the future.

Currently in La Liga, Atletico are being held 1-1 away at Villarreal, which would mean Alaves would keep top spot for a couple more hours, having defeated Celta Vigo last night.

Barcelona are short of defenders, so on their bench tonight is Chumi, who sounds like the mate you get to make up the numbers for a Sunday league match.

This isn’t the first bit of Barcelona action today, as at an earlier meeting it was decided that the club will not change their badge, as Bartomeu wanted. I assume “internal reflection” means “we realised it’s a stupid idea”.

Barcelona will always fancy themselves at home but Sevilla’s forward line will cause Pique and Lenglet a few problems, as they are the most potent twosome in the division currently. Silva and Ben Yedder sandwich Messi at the top of the goalscoring charts.

This is what happened in the Spanish capital earlier today, where Real Madrid were humbled by Levante at home.

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Teams: Barcelona v Sevilla

Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Alba, Lenglet, Pique, Semedo, Busquets, Arthur, Rakitic, Coutinho, Messi, Suarez

Subs: Cillessen, Chumi, S.Roberto, Rafinha, Munir, Vidal, Dembele

Sevilla: Vaclik, Carriço, Kjaer, Sergi Gomez, Navas, Arana, Banega, Sarabia, Vazquez, Andre Silva, Ben Yedder

Subs: Juan Soriano, Roque Mesa, Nolito, Aleix Vidal, Muriel, Promes, Mercado

Preamble

Whoever wins tonight at the Nou Camp will go top of the league, adding a lovely bit of spice to proceedings.

The situation will please Sevilla who have started well under new head coach Pablo Machin, previously of Girona, who has tinkered with the formation to get the best out of his players, giving a new lease of life to Jesus Navas. The former Manchester City substitute is now captain of his local club and playing at wing-back in a 3-5-2, not to mention that fact this season he had the reserve team stadium named after him to prove his legendary status.

Wissam Ben Yedder is leading the line with Andre Silva, creating one of the fiercest strikeforces in Spain. The duo have 12 goals between them already and they will need to be kept quiet by the Barca back four.

The hosts, Barcelona, have not been at their slickest so far this season and are suffering from somewhat of a defensive crisis with only two fit centre-backs available to Ernesto Valverde.

On the upside Barcelona have a little lad named Lionel Messi who is still at the heart of everything positive Barcelona do and can win a game by himself.

Whatever the result, both sides will be able to have a good old laugh at Real Madrid who lost once again earlier today, at home to the mighty Levante at the Bernabeu. Julen Lopetegui has witnessed his side go winless in their last five matches, including four defeats and he could be on his way out the door.

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