The last time the reigning champions overturned a two-goal deficit was against Segunda B Lleida. Not since 1966 have they done so against Primera opposition.
Sevilla’s 2-0 victory over Barcelona in the opening leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final between the sides bodes well historically for the Andalusians, who have progressed on 11 of the 14 occasions they have carved out a two-goal advantage in the domestic cup.
The last time Sevilla failed to go through to the next round after going 2-0 up in the first leg was in 1996-97, when Deportivo overturned the deficit in Riazor on penalties.
Barça’s record in comebacks from 2-0 down is equally encouraging for Pablo Machín’s side. It has been 34 years since the current holders, who have won the tournament four times consecutively and have a record 30 titles overall, recovered from a two-goal first leg defeat. That was against Segunda B side Lleida, who won 3-1 in the Camp d’Esports before being hammered 6-0 in the return at Camp Nou.
To find a similar outcome for Barça against a Primera División side it is necessary to go back to 1966. Mallorca won 2-0 in the opening leg but were beaten 5-1 in the return and eventually were relegated from the top flight at the end of the season.
Barça prioritising a return to the European summit
The Copa del Rey is not Barça’s top priority as they seek to win the Champions League for the first time since 2015 but Ernesto Valverde may elect to field his strongest side for the return against Sevilla in search of the treble. Leo Messi was rested in the Sánchez Pizjuán while Luis Suárez, Philippe Coutinho and Jordi Alba all came off the bench and Ousmane Dembélé was rested entirely.
Both Suárez and Messi publicly stated they would have rather been omitted from the Copa del Rey in order to have a breather after being dumped out of the Champions League by Roma last season but Barça’s squad depth was called into question against Sevilla and Valverde will have to decide whether to squeeze more out of his stars in the return leg or trust in his fringe players to write a new chapter in the club’s Copa history.