Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi were on target as Barcelona beat Sevilla 2-0 away at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in La Liga on Saturday.
After a cagey start to the game, Barcelona slowly began to assert themselves and were able to break the deadlock at the half-hour mark when Lionel Messi sent Ousmane Dembele through with a perfectly weighted pass and the Frenchman made no mistake.
Sevilla made a few changes at half-time, hoping to turn the game around, but weren’t able to find their way through the visitors. Instead, it was Barcelona who came close to adding the scoreline with Sergino Dest striking the outside of the post while Messi fired over the bar from a promising position.
Clement Lenglet did put the ball into the net on the 69th-minute mark but the goal was chalked off for offside. At the other end, Youssef En-Nesyri thought he had equalised for Sevilla, but his strike too was ruled out albeit for handball in the buildup. Messi then put the game to bed in the 85th minute, tapping the ball into an empty net after some neat interplay with Ilaix Moriba.
The result sees Barcelona move into the second spot in the La Liga standings, closing the gap to leaders Atletico Madrid to just two points. And here’s how we rated the performances of Ronald Koeman’s men on the evening in Seville.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6.5/10
Picked up an injury in warm-up but was deemed fit to start. A rather comfortable outing for the German considering as Sevilla hardly threatened. Made a decent stop to deny Jesus Navas in the second half.
Oscar Mingueza: 7/10
The Barcelona academy product continued his rise to prominence with the first-team with another solid display at the back. Assured in defence as he hardly let anything past him, winning a joint match-high five tackles. Passed well from the back, with an accuracy of 91%. Impressive.
Mingueza made 5 tackles today.
Among Barça players, only Busquets (35) has more successful tackles in La Liga this season than Mingueza (34). pic.twitter.com/0sl9U7G5Dv
— adil (@Barca19stats) February 27, 2021
Gerard Pique: 6.5/10
Seemed to be battling some fitness problems but didn’t have to over-exert himself as Sevilla did not pose much of a test. However, his growing discomfort led to a substitution in the second half.
Clement Lenglet: 6.5/10
An improved display from the Frenchman who was back in the side for the first time after his costly mistake against Cadiz. Made a couple of interceptions and three clearances while also having a goal ruled out for offside. Needs to take confidence from this display and build upon it.
Sergio Busquets: 7/10
An impressive performance from the veteran midfielder who wasn’t fazed by Sevilla’s high-press. Controlled the game well from midfield, keeping things ticking with precise passes while also being reliable in defence as he made three tackles and two interceptions.
Sergino Dest: 7/10
Deployed as a wing-back on the evening, the USMNT international relished the attacking freedom that came with the role as he constantly pushed forward and got into dangerous areas. The final ball wasn’t always there but did come close to scoring, having struck the post with a thumping strike.
Frenkie de Jong: 7.5/10
Frenkie De Jong, what a player! 👏🏻🔥 pic.twitter.com/JyrsW0iajK
— Managing Barça (@ManagingBarca) February 27, 2021
Purposeful as always when he got on the ball as the Dutchman drove forward at Sevilla with intent, completing four dribbles on the evening. Played two key passes as well, one of which almost set Jordi Alba up for a goal. Displayed great energy levels to keep running up and down.
The Barcelona prodigy wasn’t quite at his best against Sevilla as he found it hard to get into dangerous spaces. But still showed glimpses of his quality on the ball, misplacing just four passes before he had to be taken off with an injury.
Jordi Alba: 7/10
A rather quiet first half by the standards he sets for himself but burst into life after the break. Provided an outlet on the left flank constantly, completing one dribble and making one key pass. Nearly scored a goal as well from de Jong’s low cross. Responsible defensively.
Lionel Messi: 8/10
Lionel Messi has now scored in every single one of his last nine LaLiga and UCL games for Barcelona since Jan 6:
Never in doubt. 👽 pic.twitter.com/2Sbs7B2q0W
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 27, 2021
Deployed in a free role, the Barcelona skipper regularly dropped deep to try and get on the ball and make things happen. One such moment led to him playing a delightful pass to set Dembele up for the opening goal. Did miss a chance in the second period, firing over the bar, but made amends to score the second goal to ensure there was no late comeback from the hosts. Clutch.
Ousmane Dembele: 8/10
Opened the scoring for Barcelona in the first half with a composed finish and posed a threat throughout his time on the pitch with his pace and direct running. Created a chance for Messi which he blazed over the bar. Made way for Martin Braithwaite late in the game. Growing in stature.
— ✨ (@MhajebHarrin) February 27, 2021
Ronald Araujo: N/A
Made his return from injury, replacing Pique in the 67th minute. Lasted only 15 minutes before being taken off injured again.
Ilaix Moriba: 7/10
Replaced the injured Pedri with 20 minutes left. Looked bright in his short time on the pitch and linked up nicely with Messi leading to the second goal.
Martin Braithwaite: N/A
On for Dembele in the 82nd minute.
Samuel Umtiti: N/A
On for the injured Araujo with less than ten minutes left.