Barcelona 3-0 Sevilla: full-time summary
Barcelona kept up the pressure on Real Madrid at the top of LaLiga on Wednesday as Lionel Messi returned to the team with a brace in a 3-0 win over Sevilla.
All three goals came in the first half as Barça proved too much for the visitors and stayed two points behind Real, who beat Leganés later in the evening.
Luis Suárez opened the scoring with an acrobatic 24th-minute strike, before turning provider moments later, cutting back superbly for Messi to finish.
And Messi, who had missed Sunday's win in Granada through supension, had Barça out of sight after just 33 minutes when he rifled in a loose ball in the box.
Two bookings saw winger Vitolo sent off late on for Jorge Sampaoli's side, whose recent slump now extends to six games without victory in all competitions.
Here's how it happened:
Barcelona 3-0 Sevilla: second half
FT: Game over at the Camp Nou as Sevilla's slump continues and Barcelona's title challenge remains possible.
Min 90+1 | Neymar has a go but Sergio Rico is equal to it. Only a matter of time now.
Min 90 | A little collision down the sideline between Neymar and Vitolo and Barça win a free. From the throw, Neymar gets it and Vitolo comes in and clips his leg. Second yellow. Firt red of the game and Sevilla are down to ten men.
Min 88 | A mixture of Correa and Lenglet foul Messi. He keeps the ball but the fouling was that persistent that he has to stop and give a free.
Min 86 | Just dawned on me that Piqué and Rakitic were looking to get booked as they now miss the Malaga game and will be back for the Real Sociedad game at the Camp Nou. A nice rest for the lads.
Min 84 | Aleña booked for his first foul of the night. Rather harsh considering Rakitic was fouling all night, Busquets had a few, Kranevitter also and Vitolo too. He might have lost his cool with all the niggly fouling going on.
Min 82 | It's like a battlefield out there now as N'Zonzi is down along with Escudero is down along with Busquets. The Camp Nou are enjoying this despite the fact that Barça are tame now.
Min 80 | A mistake by Barcelona finds Jovetic with the ball in space and moving towards Ter Stegen. A shimmy or two later and his shot dribbles wide.
Barcelona substitution: Rakitic is replaced by Aleña.
Min 80 | Just a minute later and he fouls again. Very lucky man to be still on the field, I would suggest.
Min 79 | Ivan Rakitic booked now for pulling back Escudero.
Min 78 | As simple as that for Barcelona. A long direct pass along the ground to Iniesta. A through ball by the midfielder to Paco Alcacer and he is through on goal but he can't finish as Sergio Rico comes out and tightens the angle.
Barcelona substitution: Gerard Piqué goes off to a rousing round of applause. Lucas Digne takes his place.
Sevilla substituton: Jovetic replaces Iborra.
Min 74 | Umtiti with a last gasp tackle on Mariano as he tries to get it across the box. Corner.
Min 73 | Sevilla work it into another decent area but Escudero's cross is too close to Ter Stegen, who gets down well to save.
Min 71 | Busquets gets a card now, a yellow one, for a foul on Vitolo.
Min 70 | Umtiti might be lucky not to have given away a penalty. He catches N'zonzi as he tries to get it across the box.
Min 70 | Sarabia again, this time from further out, as he tests Ter Stegen. The goalkeeper is equal to it as he gets a big hand to it and boxes it over the bar.
Min 68 | Alcacer wins it after a smart run in behind. He sees no way through and passes instead to Messi, who threads a pass through the eye of a needle but Iniesta can't control it. Up the other end and Correa tries one from an awful angle and it goes well wide. Frustration from Correa.
Min 67 | Sevilla pressing for their first. Some passing around outside the box and Sarabia goes down as Vitolo tries to feed him. No penalty and Ter Stegen collects.
Barcelona substitution: Suárez is replaces by Paco Alcacer.
Min 64 | Sevilla showing life. Suárez wants a penalty up one end for a hand ball on a backheel he tries to get to Messi. But Sevilla counter and Sarabia has another effort that he probably should try to strike across Ter Stegen but tries to beat him at the front post. Wide.
Min 62 | Sevilla finally test the German as Sarabia rifles a shot into his chest that rebounds clear.
Min 60 | Sevilla growing into it slightly as they win a corner but they have still not tested Ter Stegen in the second half. Short corner ends up getting thrown into the mixer by Mariano but it doesn't beat the first man and is cleared.
Min 59 | This game has grown very sloppy as Rakitic nearly pulls the jersey of Iborra's back. Ref plays advantage as he is probably afraid that he is going to wear out his whistle if he keeps blowing it.
Min 58 | Rakitic goes down now as he is taken out of it by Pareja. He even stopped and put his hands up but the referee didn't give a free.
Min 57 | Vitolo finally gets the yellow he had been threatening to get. He fouls Neymar, who grimaces. Looked like a sore one.
Min 56 | Neymar breaks free, almost has his legs cleaned from under him, but continues on and feeds Messi but he can't find a Barcelona man with his cross. It makes its way as a far as Iniesta, who tries to chip it over the top but forgot how tall N'Zonzi is.
Min 55 | Messi is fouled by Vitolo, who is lucky not to get a yellow card. The crowd certainly want to see one but the ref keeps it pocketed for now. Sevilla growing more frustrated.
Min 53 | Kranevitter feeds Sarabia but he tries to reach it when he should have let it beat him and Piqué gets across to see it out over the endline. It remains a very flat performance from Sevilla.
Min 51 | Suárez wins it back as Sergio Rico dallies on the ball. He plays it to Messi but his chip doesn't have enough pace on it.
Min 50 | Iborra livid that he didn't get a free as Iniesta clips his heel before Messi is fouled and continues with advantage. He carries on and gets a tame left-footed shot away that goes wide.
Min 48 | Sevilla pushing higher up the field and putting pressure on but Barcelona pass around their press with ease. It results in an effort by Neymar that he loses control of and Sergio Rico gets down to save.
Min 46 | We are back underway as Sampaoli makes a the first move in an effort to get Sevilla back into this one.
HT Sevilla substitution: Sarabia replaces Samir Nasri. Mercado is replaced by Matias Kranevitter.
Barcelona 3-0 Sevilla: first half summary
Sevilla's slump is turning into a proper nightmare for them as they go three down in the space of eight minutes at the Camp Nou. They needed a result here to steayd the ship but with Iniesta and Messi, both fresh having not started against Granada, playing inspired football, they have been opened up time and time again by the home side. suárez struck first before Messi landed a brace within five minutes of each other. There were more chances too!
More worrying, perhaps, for Sampaoli is that Sevilla have offered nothing except a freak chance by N'Zonzi that he should have put away. Expect the Argentine to make a couple of changes at half-time and test Barça's ability to defend in a 3-4-3 because at this current pace, they can sit back and stroke the ball around like they were out there on their own.
Barcelona 3-0 Sevilla: first half
HT at the Camp Nou.
Min 44 | Vitolo tries to break clear but Mascherano gets between him and the ball and the spanish wide midfielder gets up on the Argentine's back for a second before Mascherano sheds him and carries on.
Min 42 | Messi plays it out to Neymar, who tries to clip one towards the penalty area but Sevilla get a block and a half-clearance. Lashing down rain in Barcelona now as Sevilla cry out for half-time.
Min 40 | Neymar cruises past Mariano and pulls it back to Messi, who is on the hunt for a hat-trick in the first half! His shot is blocked this time though.
Min 38 | Iborra booked now for having a kick at Neymar's ankle. A frustrated foul if there ever was one. Sevilla chasing shadows at this point and visivly upset with themselves and one another.
Min 37 | Barcelona not content with their three in the first half. Suárez in the penalty area and he nutmegs Pareja with a pass into Messi but Sevilla clear in the end.
Min 35 | Iniesta wins it back off Vitolo, who turns in disgust. Not sure if he wanted a free or he's upset with something else. This is really poor from Sevilla though. They can't get a kick of the ball.
Min 33 | GOAL! Messi absolutely buries another one! the corner is only half-cleared by Sevilla and the Argentine is on hand to finish in the same spot he finished the first goal with a lot more force this time.
Min 33 | Jorge Sampaoli mobilises his bench as Sarabia warms up and gets ready to come on. Meanwhile, on the field, Barcelona corner.
Min 30 | Sevilla try to build something in an effort to get back into the game bu a misplaced pass by Escudero ends another attack as Barcelona counter again. Neymar gets the ball again out wide on the left but his cross can't beat Sergio Rico this time. Barcelona looking lethal on the counter and Sevilla forced now to try something.
Min 28 | GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! Sevilla in meltdown mode as Barcelona break with Rakitic and several players on either side of him. Neymar plays it straight across the goal and as Suárez lines it up, instead of firing a shot into a host of players, he pulls it back to Messi. The little genius finished with his right foot past Sergio Rico.
Min 28 | A great run by Nasri and he plays it out wide to Mariano, who dinks it inside but Iborra can't get anything on it.
Min 25 | GOAL! Great finish by Luis Suárez to give Barcelona the lead. He goes with the overhead kick after a Messi run and cross. Mercado gets his body across him but it bounces up to the Uruguyuan and he chilenas it over Sergio Rico's head.
Min 24 | Nasri standing over a free-kick in an awkward position and Vitolo gets a head to it but he can't keep it down.
Min 22 | Barcelona nearly score the opener. A ball across the box from Sergi Roberto nicks Messi, which takes it out of Suárez path and takes a kind bounce to Sevilla at the edge of the square and they clear.
Min 21 | Iniesta makes his way into enemy territory and feeds it off to Suárez but he is on the wrong page as Neymar and it rolls out over the endline.
Min 20 | Busquets very lucky not the get a booking as he goes in low on Vitolo and catches his ankle with an ill-timed challenge. Kudos to the referee as it looked mor clumsy than anything else.
Min 18 | A lovely Iniesta cross onto the head of Rakitic but the Croatian headers wide of the target. Iniesta obviously missed being in the starting eleven because he has started very well here.
Min 16 | A flick on from Iborra (or at least an effort to flick it on) to N'zonzi sees the big midfielder through on goal. He is too relaxed though and Ter Stegen saves. He can't believe his luck and he froze when presented with the chance! Should have been 0-1 to Sevilla but all they get is a corner out of it that is cleared.
Min 14 | Neymar skips past Mariano like he wasn't there but his second attempt to go by a Sevilla player see him lose possession. Sevilla back with the ball and Correa skips by Piqué and the defender swipes a kick at his legs. Yellow for Piqué and it actually could have been a red upon second look!
Min 12 | Barcelona doing a really good job of protecting the ball and forcing Sevilla into fouls early. Neymar is getting treatment on the sideline too on his right ankle. He went over on it, just slightly, in the game against Granada but he played on. Looks like he will do the same tonight but not a great sign if he is suffering from a persistent ankle injury.
Min 10 | Iborra fouls Sergio Busquets as Barcelona continue to pass the ball around Sevilla with ease. Sampaoli's side can't get a look in.
Min 9 | Iniesta has a crack from distance and it makes its way to Sergio Rico but he stops it with relative ease.
Min 8 | An early penalty shout and Luis Suárez is absolutely livid! It looks like he has a point too as he was pulled down by Pareja after a pass from Messi. The referee tells him to calm down, along with Iniesta who isn't happy either.
Min 6 | Iniesta with a sumptuous little through ball that leads Neymar just perfectly but his touch takes it away from him and his cross goes straight to Sergio Rico.
Min 4 | Iniesta plays it to Messi and he hits a shot that is neither a curler or a belter but a combination of both! It hits the underside of a bar and bounces into the goalkeeper's arms. So close to the opener. Sergio Rico was left looking back at that one.
Min 3 | After some good possession from Barcelona, Rakitic pulls it back to Sergi Roberto but his cross is met by a Sevilla defender and cleared. All Barça so far.
Min 1 | Mascherano out on the right of the back three, Umtiti to the left and Piqué in the centre.
Min 1 | We are underway at the Camp Nou!
Barcelona vs Sevilla: team news
Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen, S. Roberto, Mascherano, Piqué, Umtiti, Rakitic, Sergio, Iniesta, Suárez, Messi, Neymar.
Sevilla XI: Sergio Rico, Mariano, Mercado, Lenglet, Pareja, N'Zonzi, Escudero, Nasri, Iborra, Vitolo, Correa.
Barcelona vs Sevilla: live online latest news
19: 28 | Rakitic dishing out hugs to some of the Sevilla players and staff who were at the club when he plyed his trade there. There's actually hugs for everyone. Vitolo not shy either with the love. Plenty of respect.
19:25 | We can turn our attention to that one later though as right now, we have all eyes on the beautiful Camp Nou. It is 18 degrees in Barcelona on a lovely Wednesday evening. Vamos!
19:20 | And for what it's worth, while Real Madrid are resting Ronaldo and Bale, they have only lost once in the absence of their two marquee players.
19:15 | Just a 15 minutes out from kick-off now as Barcelona look to leapfrog Real Madrid again at the top of the league. If Real Madrid can manage a victory over Leganés later tonight, it won't matter what Barça manage to do tonight because Real Madrid will go back to the top. Just a reminder that we have you covered on the liveblog front for that too.
18:58 | Here is a slightly closer inspection of what Barcelona and Sevilla will likely do tonight in terms of formation and tactics and team news.
18:53 | We will see Iniesta's 17th appearence in the league this year with most of those coming by way of substitution. He has struggled with injuries and is not getting younger but you'd be foolish to think he isn't still vital to how successful Barcelona can be this season.
18:42 | Jorge Sampaoli figured that Barcelona would play three at the back and has picked two wing-backs to keep Neymar and Sergi Roberto busy on the flanks and also trying to pose problems for the left and right central defender in his Luis Enrique's back three.
18:35 | Iniesta starts. As does Gerard Piqué as Luis Enrique switches back to a back three. Lionel Messi will likely drop into that deeper number ten role and Neymar and Suárez will be tasked with playing further forward with support from Messi.
18:28 | We are waiting on team news as it should be released imminently. There were early signs that Andres Iniesta was being rested for a spell of games such as this where his experience would be essential but he did not start against Granada and it remains to be seen just how important he is in the eyes of Luis Enrique. The Barça manager did say that two unfortunate injuries really slowed the little magician down and that he was finally back being able to train at a unique level, which meant he could play at a unique level too. Will he start tonight then?
18:20 | The Sevilla squad arrived at Camp Nou a short while ago and are settling in inside the visitors changing room. Kick-off in just over an hour.
18:13 | The last time Sevilla beat Barcelona in the league was 2003-04 when they won 3-0 with two goals from Argentine Mariano Toedtli.
18:11 | Sevilla have won just one of their last 19 meetings with Barcelona in the league. That win came last year when they won 2-1 thanks to goals from Iborra and Krohn-Dehli. Neymar got Barcelona's goal and Messi was missing, which may or may not have affected the result.
18:05 | Sevilla have suffered in the last few weeks and plenty of critics have emerged of Jorge Sampaoli's team selection in the last game. 'El Mudo' Vazquez would have been ideal for the Sporting but he never left the bench while Jovetic, who is seen more of an impact sub, would have also suited the game. It is interesting to see if Sampaoli stick with Ben Yedder and Correa tonight or opts to change things up up front.
16:30 | Sevilla confirmed this week that B team player Francisco José Sánchez Rodríguez, or 'Curro' as he is more commonly known, has renewed his contract with the club - the Sevilla Atlético right winger will be staying on until June 2019.
16:00 | Barça are still on course to improve on last season's figures in which they lifted the league. Luis Enrique's team are on 66 points with 27 still left to play for, meaning they could theoretically end on 93, if they win all of the remaining matches.
15:10 | Another vintage video - this time of a teenage Leo Messi terrorizing Sevilla with Barça's Under-19s in the Copa del Rey quarter finals in May 2004.
14:25 | In his pre-match press conference, Sampaoli was asked a non-too cryptic question as to whether he could see himself coaching Leo Messi at some point in the future; the Sevilla coach responded with an adroit reply: "Watching Leo play is always a pleasant experience for me - he's Argentinean and he's the best in the world. Maybe we might coincide at Newell's one day... or if he signs for Sevilla".
14:00 | The inclusion of Gabriel Mercado was the surprise in Jorge Sampaoli's 18-man squad who travelled to Barcelona yesterday evening. The Argentine defender has been a mainstay in the Sevilla rearguard but picked up an injury while on international duty which forced him to sit out the weekend's goalless draw against Sporting. Escudero also returns after suspension but Luciano Vietto doesn't make the list this time.
The Sevilla squad reads: Sergio Rico, Lenglet, Nico Pareja, Carriço, Mariano, Escudero, Nzonzi, Nasri, Iborra, Correa, Vitolo, David Soria, Mercado, Kranevitter, Sarabia, Franco Vázquez, Ben Yedder and Jovetic.
13:45 | Vintage Ronaldinho in this clip from 11 December 2005. That week, the Brazilian had just been named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d'Or, and responded by turning on tghe razzle dazzle for Camp Nou that evening.
12:45 | Just two notable changes to Luis Enrique's 18-man squad list which the coach announced this morning. The coach continues with his rotation policy as the run-in to LaLiga gathers pace.
11:51 | April is a busy months for the teams still competing in Europe meaning plenty midweek viewing for the rest of us. Barça kicked off the month with a comprehensive win over Granada while Sevilla were held to a goalless draw at home to Sporting.
11:14 | There are a variety of ways to hear and see the game tonight. As usual we provide you with a handy guide.
10:33 | Talisman Leo Messi is expected to add his magic to tonight's proceedings and Barça fans will be delighted to hear he should be putting pen to paper very soon.
09:19 | Sampaoli on the other hand, has not seen his side win in the last five games, and needs a response soon on the pitch. But we really want to know if he'll test out the home dugout for size...just in case.
09:16 | Luis Enrique will be targeting a sixth win from seven games knowing that it will put Barça top of the table for at least a couple of hours. Title rivals Madrid kick-off in Leganés at 21:30 local time.
09:00 | The sun is shining on this beautiful April morning and we at AS English are already gearing up for a great night of football in LaLiga. Here the focus will be on the huge match between second placed Barça and the team in fourth, Sevilla. Join us and stay informed throughout the day...
Barcelona vs Sevilla: match preview
With Real Madrid in action at Leganés later in the evening, Barça face Sevilla in a clash which, in all likelihood, they'll need to win to avoid losing ground on the leaders.
Sevilla, meanwhile, are looking to arrest a poor recent run of form that has seen them drop out of the title race and even relinquish third place in the table.
Barça host Sevilla having won five of their last six, their most recent victory seeing them down Granada 4-1 to stay within two points of Real, who have a game in hand.
And Sunday's clash at Los Cármenes continues to dominate the back pages, with Granada fuming at Ivan Rakitic's foul-mouthed taunts over their relegation struggles.
It was a Barça triumph that came despite the absence of a suspended Lionel Messi, whom Los Azulgranas welcome back for the visit of Jorge Sampaoli's side.
Messi, who is reportedly set to sign a new contract in May, was instrumental in Barça's 2-1 win in Seville in November - their fifth in a row against the club.
And the champions' record against Sevilla is even better just at the Camp Nou: they haven't lost to the Andalusians at home in the league since back in 2002.
Sevilla, whose transfer guru Monchi this week confirmed he is to leave the Sánchez-Pizjuán, are out to get back to winning ways after three draws and two defeats in their last five.
It's a sequence which has seen Sampaoli's side dumped out of the Champions League by Leicester City and, after being held by Sporting Gijón on Sunday, slip behind Atlético Madrid to fourth in LaLiga, having been no lower than third since mid-November.
Sevilla's slump notwithstanding, Sampaoli remains one of the names in the hat to replace Luis Enrique in the soon-to-be-vacant Barça dugout.
The Argentine has freely admitted his desire to work with countryman Messi, and many will view this clash as his big chance to impress the Barça board.
Live stream betting on Barça vs Sevilla
Barcelona are the overwhelming bookies' favourites to take the three points, while Sevilla are 13/1 to pick up a first LaLiga victory at the Camp Nou in 15 years.
Barcelona vs Sevilla: live stream match build-up