Lionel Messi inspired a stunning late comeback as Barcelona held Sevilla to a 2-2 draw at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium on Saturday.
The visitors started without their talisman, who was still knocking off the effects of a hamstring injury. And it was Sevilla, who started the match on the front foot, creating a couple of half chances in the first five minutes from the left flank before Andres Iniesta went close with a long-range chipped effort after Sergio Rico’s poor clearance.
Luis Suarez was then guilty of spurning a great chance when he lashed wide from Jordi Alba’s cut-back. Thereafter though, Sevilla were the better of the two sides for the remainder of the first half. In the 12th minute, Joaquin Correa’s effort was blocked by Sergi Roberto, with the Argentine taking too long to take his shot.
Moments later, Correa teed up Franco Vazquez, whose shot was deflected off the Barcelona right-back for a corner. In the ensuing corner, Luis Muriel saw the ball coming his way via Gerard Pique, but the Colombian could only head wide from a couple of yards out.
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Correa then squandered another chance as he headed wide from Jesus Navas’ corner. The hosts were clearly in the ascendancy, and after missing a few more half chances, it was Sevilla who grabbed the lead through Franco Vazquez, who found himself unmarked inside the Barcelona box and made no error to score from Correa’s cut-back.
Barcelona should have equalised heading into half-time when Pique’s acrobatic effort went horribly wrong as the ball bounced off his thigh instead and went out wide. Sevilla took the slender lead into half-time.
Minutes into the second period, Ernesto Valverde’s men fell further behind as Sergio Escudero, who had drifted into the box without much of a competition, saw his shot being parried by Marc-Andre ter Stegen towards Muriel, who made no mistake in finding the back of the net this time.
It should have been three five minutes later when Navas was clean through on goal. But, the former Manchester City man hesitated when one-on-one against ter Stegen before finally taking aim at the goal, only to see his shot being blocked by Pique, who had tracked back in time. The rebound fell to Vazquez, who lashed wide from 12 yards out.
As Barcelona saw their unbeaten record nearing its end, Valverde reacted by bringing Lionel Messi on for the final half an hour, and he almost made an instant impact. The Argentine fed a fine ball through to Philippe Coutinho, whose cut-back was intercepted.
Moments later, Messi linked up with Alba, whose cross found its way to Suarez and into the side netting via the Uruguayan.
On the other end, Sevilla’s profligacy continued as Muriel slammed the ball into the side netting from Vazquez’s pass. Minutes later, it was Miguel Layun who was guilty of missing another great chance as he snatched onto Guido Pizarro’s – the frustration was mounting for Vincenzo Montella.
Ter Stegen then kept Barcelona’s faint hopes alive as he saved Navas’ drilled shot low to his right. The stop would later turn out to be important as Barcelona pulled one back with two minutes left in regulation time through Luis Suarez, who volleyed the ball home after being found by Paco Alcacer.
Less than a minute later, the scores were dramatically level as Coutinho’s cut-back missed Suarez, but found Messi, who curled his long range effort past Sergio Rico and into the bottom left corner. Barcelona had, thus, kept their unbeaten run intact, and are now just one result away from equalling Real Sociedad’s record of 38 games without a loss.