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.