It was precisely from one of those high-octane breaks that Krohn-Deli laid up Vitolo to stroke in the opener. Finding themselves a goal down, Barça sought to keep hold of the ball and camp out outside the Sevilla area. Luis Suárez’s rear, which has contributed so many points to the team in the past provoked a foul from Rami from which Messi equalised in stunning fashion, prompting the stadium to rise to their feet. Just moments before, the Argentinean had attempted to score directly from a corner only for his effort to be diverted onto the bar by Suárez.
Both teams went in level at the interval but once they re-emerged, Barcelona staged a smash and grab in a move which enabled Piqué to put them in front. Any other team would have pulled out the white flag of submission at that point, but not Sevilla. Far from considering the game a lost cause, Emery’s men were straight back pestering Bravo, who did well to stop Gameiro from levelling.
Perhaps the poignant part of tonight’s win was just how much Sevilla gave Barça a run for their money. To be the best, to equal or better records, you have to suffer – there’s no other way around it. But when you’ve got Messi in full ‘Maradona mode’, at least the pain’s not too excruciating to bear.