Barcelona left it late to continue their unbeaten run as they came back from two goals down to hold Sevilla to a 2-2 draw at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium on Saturday.
Sevilla dominated much of the proceedings in the first half that saw them grab the lead in the 36th minute through Franco Vazquez, having missed a number of other opportunities earlier. They doubled their lead just four minutes into the second half as Luis Muriel added his name to the score sheet.
Barcelona though, saw Lionel Messi come off the bench to become their hero. The visitors first pulled a goal back through Luis Suarez, who scored from an acrobatic effort before Lionel Messi levelled things up less than a minute later through a long-range effort.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 31, 2018
The result saw Barcelona extend their club-record unbeaten run, and the Blaugrana are now just one game away from equalling Real Sociedad’s Spanish top-flight record of 38 matches without a loss. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ernesto Valverde’s men.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 5/10
In a season when he has been so imperious, this was a game that ter Stegen would like to forget soon. One of his strengths is playing out from the back, but the German faltered on that account when under pressure from the Sevilla attackers. He could have done better for the first goal.
Sergi Roberto: 5/10
He has previously shown signs of a budding partnership down the right flank with Dembele. But, it was not evident at all on Saturday, with Roberto providing little quality in the final third. The Spaniard had a rough time against Joaquin Correa and Sergio Escudero as well, in what was one of his poorer outings of the season.
Gerard Pique: 4/10
It was clear that Valverde had rushed Pique back from his injury as he looked extremely off pace for much of the game. Was nowhere to be seen when Franco Vazquez scored his goal, and he could have been sent on his way just moments before he made a goal-line clearance from Jesus Navas’ effort – the only positive for him in the entire game.
Samuel Umtiti: 4/10
A horrible night for Umtiti, who has shown signs of losing form in the last few weeks. Like Pique, he was nowhere to be seen for Vazquez’s goal, and his reading of the game was extremely poor. The Frenchman was poor in the air as well in what was one of his poorest games for Barcelona till date.
Jordi Alba: 6/10
One of the better players for Barcelona on the night. Alba was a constant nuisance on the left flank with his darting runs and pinpoint cut-backs, although that did mean that Jesus Navas often had a lot of space to exploit behind him. Should have ended the night with a couple of assists.
Paulinho’s poor run of form continued on Saturday, showing just why he has been relegated to the bench in recent times. Indecisive on the ball, and making very little defensive or offensive impact off it, the Brazilian will be the first to be back among the substitutes once Sergio Busquets is back, or maybe even before that.
Ivan Rakitic: 6/10
📊 | Heat maps of Rakitic, Alba and Suarez for today’s game against Sevilla. [fcb] pic.twitter.com/6HK7jUQbyi
— Stats (@centrestats) March 31, 2018
Rakitic worked extremely hard on the night. But, the long journey from USA seemed to have had its effect on him as he looked tired in parts of the game, and faltered in trying to organise the midfield line. The Croat though, could have had a goal for himself, but his header struck the post.
Andres Iniesta: 6/10
A poor outing for the Barcelona captain, who struggled to control the flow of the game. With Iniesta not in full flow, Valverde & co. failed to control the proceedings for the better part of an hour before Messi turned things around. Some rest could have boded well, especially ahead of the Champions League tie against AS Roma.
Ousmane Dembele: 6/10
Another player who could have done much better on the night. While Dembele was full of energy and purpose on the right flank and around the Sevilla box, but his passing often lacked precision and incisiveness.
Luis Suarez: 6/10
I live for Suarez’s equalising goal celebrations. pic.twitter.com/w2erSmyJ3P
— Almas FCB (@almasx10) March 31, 2018
Suarez has recently been one of the better players for Barcelona, but he failed to be the leader in attack that Valverde needed him to be for much of the game. The Uruguayan missed a plethora of chances, but he did initiate the comeback with the visitors’ first goal by scoring from an acrobatic shot.
Philippe Coutinho: 7/10
Among the players who started the match, Coutinho was a clear standout. Playing one of his preferred positions on the left side, the Brazilian was a bundle of energy, looking to create something whenever he had the ball. Also had an assist to show for his efforts as Messi scored the equaliser.
Lionel Messi: 8/10
📊 |Messi’s performance vs Sevilla
Passes (Acc.): 12
Chances created: 1
Shots (on target): 3 (1)
Fouls won – 0
Aerial Duels won – 0 Distance Covered – 1.07 km 😳
great superstar covered by the media and that’s it. pic.twitter.com/dcbWbwXCUh
— #FreeDybala (@prime_iniesta) April 1, 2018
Changed the game on his head upon his introduction before the hour mark. Barcelona were the better of the two sides with him on the pitch, with Messi constantly creating acres of space with his movement on and off the ball. Rewarded for his blitzkrieg when he found the back of the net with a curling long-range effort.