Sevilla 2-2 Barcelona LaLiga 2018: goals, as it happened, report
Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez scored at the death to rescue a point for Barça in a breathtaking match, Franco Vázquez and Luis Muriel had scored for Sevilla. LAFC vs LA Galaxy: Vela vs Zlatan live online, MLS week 25
It was as if somebody had pressed the mute button on the Sánchez Pizjuán. From jubilant to jaded in two minutes and one swift swish of Lionel Messi's left foot. It was a finish we have seen so many times before. Messi watched the ball towards him, adjusted his feet, and caressed it in to the bottom corner with a faint hint of curl. So predictable yet so hard to stop.
Barcelona salvaged a late draw against Sevilla to extend their unbeaten run in LaLiga. Vincenzo Montella's side led with two minutes remaining through goals from Franco Vázquez and Luis Muriel. Luis Suárez clawed one back on 88 minutes. And then, one minute later, Messi struck.
Both sides could have been forgiven for serving up a helping of going-through-the-motion stodge, given that they have Champions League commitments on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was for that reason that Ernesto Valverde named Messi as a substitute. The Argentine is still struggling with hamstring issues.
Yet the match was utterly enthralling. Sevilla started strongly and took the lead ten minutes before half time. Joaquín Correa cushioned a cross from Jesus Navas with a silk touch and fed Vázquez inside the six-yard box to convert underneath the ‘keeper.
It reached a crescendo after the interval. Both teams emerged like exhausted boxers waiting for the bell, swinging wild punches as tactics evaporated amid sweat and spit. The result was an end-to-end contender for the match of the season.
Luis Muriel stretched Sevilla’s lead after 50 minutes. Marc-Andre ter Stegen parried Sergio Escudero’s shot straight in to his path, and the Colombian took a touch before stroking the ball in off the post from near the penalty spot.
Sevilla refused to sit on their lead. Attack followed attack. Muriel had several chances to put the result beyond doubt and Gerard Piqué cleared a Navas effort off the line. Barça hit the post twice for good measure.
Then came the murmur, the rumble that precedes the avalanche. Luis Suárez lurked at the back post and thrashed a loose corner in to the roof of the net. Sevilla restarted play and promptly conceded possession. Barça galloped forward. Messi made their two minutes of dominance count.
Some will say Sevilla capitulated, that they ‘bottled it’. Others will point to Barcelona’s grit and genius. The answer lies somewhere in the middle. Players of the quality of Suárez and Messi will seize moments of indecision and punish opponents with malevolent ease, as Sevilla found out.
It was a match you wanted to keep watching. Luckily, this was only a dress rehearsal for the Copa del Rey final in three weeks. They’ll go again.
Sevilla 2-2 Barcelona: as it happened
90'+2' FT. The referee points to the Sevilla sky and calls time on a pulsating match. Phew.
90'+2' Barça have possession in the Sevilla half.
90' Two minutes of added time. Why can't there be more?! This is so fun!
90' Franco Vázquez tangles with Jordi Alba just outside the Barça books and screams for a penalty. The referee points resolutely for a goal kick. Both sides are going for the win.
89' GOOOOOOOOOOOOL! MESSI! INCREDIBLE! Barça pick the ball straight back up after kick-off and storm forward. Messi meets a pass on the edge of the box, and with that trademark stroke of his left foot, guides it in to the bottom corner with a hint of curl.
88' GOOOOOOOL! Luis Suárez! Moments after Rakitic glances a header against the post, Barça have another chance from a corner and Suárez buries it at the far post.
86' Messi lashes the ball in to the side-netting after sumptuous, futsal-style footwork from Coutinho in the build-up. Messi wriggled around in the box but couldn't find a good position for a shot.
83' Muriel just can't add a second goal. He receives the ball from Nolito after an incisive counter-attack and cuts inside. His shot hits Piqué and squirms behind for a corner. Barça clear but Sevilla keep hold of the ball.
81' Both teams make a final change. Paco Alcácer replaces Iniesta for Barça, while Nolito comes on for Jesus Navas.
80' Sevilla look the more likely side to score. But you feel that anything could happen, such has been the level of utter, high-octane absurdity in this second half.
79' Excellent, excellent save from Ter Stegen, who gets down to his right to palm away a fierce drive from Navas.
77' Oooh, the ball realy did sit up nicely for Jesus Navas there. Piqué half-clears a cross straight in to the ex-Man City winger's path. He slams it towards the top corner with the outside of his boot, and slams it in to the netting behind the goal. A little more serenity was needed there.
77' Denis Suárez replaces Paulinho.
76' Messi tries to dig Barça out of this with a curler from 25 yards. The Argentine gets too far under the ball and it's a goal kick.
75' Muriel receives the ball on the left, in a good position to cut in and shoot. He does so, but he looks weary, and thuds a shot straight at Jordi Alba. It would be a good time to bring Ben Yedder off the bench, you'd have thought.
73' Layun gallops in to the space Alba has left open on the flank. He shoots from the corner of the box, but drags it wide of the far post. He scored from a very similar position for Mexico against Iceland last week.
72' Montella makes a change to sure up the midfield: Tucu Correa goes off, Guido Pizarro comes on.
71' Simon Kjaer is in Gandalfian, 'You shall not pass' mode. He stops Coutinho finding Suárez again, and again it's an interception enabled by flawless positioning and reading of the game. It's not easy to quantify those attributes, but he's got them in abundance.
68' Muriel could be on a hat-trick. This time he profits from N'Zonzi's powerful run through the middle and slams an effort in to the side netting. Sevilla would be a deadly team if they had a more clinical front man.
67' Sergio Rico drops Iniesta cross. And of all the places to drop it, at the feet of Luis Suárez is not the best. The Uruguayan tries to jab the ball back in to the danger area. N'Zonzi blocks it and clears.
65' THIS GAME IS BONKERS! The Sevilla cavalry charge forward again, Muriel with the ball at his feet. He lays it off to Banega, who cuts inside and slams the ball against Piqué. It looked bound for the bottom corner. This is as end-to-end as any match I've ever seen.
62' Sevilla come again! This is absolutely breathless, intense, enthralling. The home side have a 3v1 advantage. Luis Muriel takes aim for the near post, but drags it a foot wide.
61' Suárez grazes the post! Messi frees Alba in the box. After ghosting past Layun, who decided against committing to a tackle, Alba slides it to the far post. Suárez tries desperately to get there, but by the time he does the angle is too acute and he hits the outside of the post.
60' Kjaer prevents Barça reducing the deficit with a crucial intervention in the six-yard box. The big Dane reads Coutinho's cut-back and prevents Suárez tucking it in to an open goal.
59' Coutinho sums up Barcelona's night, slicing a cross straight out of play and on to the roof of the net.
58' Here he comes... Messi trots on in the place of Ousmane Dembélé.
55' So much action! Jesus Navas careers through on goal down the right flank, and shoots after a scramble with Ter Stegen. Piqué is well-placed to clear on the line.
55' Any decent options on the bench, Ernesto?
53' Suárez shoots... in to the wall! And, indeed, in to the arms of Sergio Rico.
52' Andrés Iniesta takes a tumble under the nibbling attention of Banega. Barça will restart play with a free-kick in a dangerous position.
50' GOOOOOOOOOOOL! Luis Muriel! Ter Stegen parries Escudero's powerful shot straight to Muriel. 18 yards out, he takes a touch and caresses it in via the inside of the post. The Sánchez Pizjuán duly erupts.
47' Luis Muriel comes close to meeting Franco Vázquez's cross, nipping in behind Sergi Roberto. The Colombian can't quite stretch and it runs out for a goal kick. Good start from Sevilla.
47' Messi is warming up on the touchline...
46' Barça get the second half going!
46' Half-time change for Sevilla. Miguel Layun replaces Mercado at full-back, who was on a booking.
45' HT. Sevilla lead through Franco Vázquez, and they're good value for it. It's hairdryer/tactics-board time for Valverde.
45' Sergio Rico was booked after that, seemingly because he berated the linesman for a missed offside call in the build up.
44' Gerard Piqu'e does his best impression of a tipsy baby giraffe at the far post. He tries to turn the ball in and, well, fails. The ball bounces off his bottom for a goal kick.
43' N'Zonzi trips Coutinho 30 yards out, and Luis Suárez stands hands-on-hips over the dead ball.
41' Once again, the ball goes from Navas to Correa. The No.11 receives it on the edge of the box but it's a difficult pass to tame. In the end he tries an over-the-shoulder volley which poses Ter Stegen no problems.
39' The warning signs had been there for Barcelona. Earlier on in the half Tucu Correa peeled away from Roberto at the far post. On that occasion he wasted the chance. This time, he laid it on a plate for Vázquez.
36' GOOOOOOOOL! Franco Vázquez! Correa takes down Navas' deep cross with a silken touch of his outstretched right leg. He exchanges the ball with Escudero before sliding it in to the six-yard box where Vázquez, unmarked, puts it beyond the 'keeper.
35' Oooh, inches. Inches! Iniesta floats the ball to the far post, where Umtiti is a premature haircut away from nodding it home.
34' Gabriel Mercado is the first player in to the book. A cynical rugby tackle on Coutinho earns him that accolade. Barça have a free-kick, 30 yards out...
33' Dembélé and Roberto aren't quite on the same wavelength, as the French winger passes the ball in to the space he thought Roberto was occupying. It runs out for a goal kick.
31' Sevilla are on top as the match creeps past the half-hour mark. The home side need to start taking chances, though.
28' Paulinho is harshly penalised for a foul on Vázquez and Banega will take the opportunity to chip the ball in from just inside the Barça half. It's a devilish delivery to the far post and forces a corner.
25' Superb cross in from Navas, right down the corridor of uncertainty. But by the time it navigates several Barcelona defenders and reaches N'Zonzi at the far post, the midfielder has edged ahead of the flight of the ball and another chance goes begging.
24' Barcelona go up the other end and force a succession of corners. Can they punish Sevilla's comical profligacy in the final third?
21' What a miss, Tucu Correa! The No.11 meets Navas' cross eight yards out, slap-bang in the centre. Inexplicably, he nods it in to the ground and wide of the far post. That wasn't gilt-edged. It was formed entirely of pure gilt.
19' Excellent wing play from Dembélé, who scampers down the right with the Sevilla defence expecting an offside flag that never came (it should have, he was yards offside). He commits Escudero and flashes a cut back to the edge of the six-yard box, where Coutinho meets it but can't find a way through the bodies.
18' Coutinho catches his shot as clean as a whistle, but it flies straight in to Rico's midriff.
16' Luis Muriel nods just wide at the far post. The Colombian appeals for a penalty, and the replay reveals that Jordi Alba was giving him a rather aggressive neck massage.
15' Sergi Roberto makes another block. This time it's to prevent Luis Muriel shooting towards goal on the overlap. Ter Stegen punches the corner unconvincingly, and Sevilla force another one from the other side.
12' Excellent defending from Sergi Roberto. N'Zonzi rumbles down the right and after a one-two with Navas, cuts the ball to the far post. Correa should really have taken it first time on his left foot. Instead, he cuts inside to shoot with his right, and finds only the shin of Roberto.
11' Barcelona are giving Ever Banega a surprising amount of time and space to dictact play from the base of Sevilla's midfield.
9' Good football from Barça. Dembélé drifts in from the left and curls it in to the path of Jordi Alba. Suárez lurches to the near post to meet his cut-back, and the Uruguayan's effort whistles just past the far post.
7' A heart-in-mouth moment for Sergio Rico, who is caught in possession and gives the ball to Iniesta. The 'keeper is out of his goal and Iniesta attempts to loft it over him from 35 yards. A decent effort, but it bounces wide of the post and Rico was back to recover anyway.
5' It looks like Valverde has fielded a 4-2-3-1, with Paulinho deep alongside Rakitic, and Iniesta in the No.10 role with Dembélé and Coutinho either side. Suárez is the striker. Sevilla are playing the same system, as they always do.
3' Luis Suárez picks up the ball on the left side of the box and shoots low to Rico's near post after getting the ball out of his feet. It's a comfortable save for the 'keeper. The was an excellent driving run from Coutinho in the build up.
2' Luis Muriel - fresh from international duty with Colombia - peels off Umtiti's shoulder and tries to nip in behind. It's clever movement, which is one of Muriel's strengths, but he strays a touch offside.
1' Peeeep! Sevilla get the show on the road.
Out come the teams! We now all have the pleasure of listening to the Sevilla club anthem, which goodness me is an absolute cracker.
The lights are off at the Sánchez Pizjuán, and the atmosphere is building...
Messi's absence from the team sheet is the most noteworthy news ahead of kick-off, but Gerard Piqué's presence in the team is equally puzzling. The centre-half has been nursing a knee injury for several weeks, and looked in discomfort during Spain's victory over Argentina.
Elsewhere in LaLiga, Real Madrid cruised to victory against Las Palmas thanks to goals from Gareth Bale (2) and Karim Benzema. Read all about that match here.
"He's had a few twinges but it's not worth risking him with the chance he could get a tear." That was what Ernesto Valverde had to say about Lionel Messi's troublesome hamstring in his pre-match news conference yesterday. That seems a prudent approach with Roma looming in the Champions League.
Sevilla coach Vincenzo Montella has been mildly flirtatious with the Italian FA over the last couple of weeks. Jorge Sampaoli jilted the club at the end of last season to take over as the coach of his national team, so there will have been sighs of relief in Andalucía as Montella distanced himself from the Italy job.
Buenas noches! Welcome to tonight's match at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, where Sevilla host Barcelona in a dress rehearsal for the Copa Del Rey final.
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