Pedri and Ousmane Dembele starred as Barcelona secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Sevilla in La Liga on Sunday night.
Barcelona started strongly and could have opened the scoring through Frenkie de Jong, but the Dutchman’s header went over the bar. The Catalans continued to dominate possession, but Sevilla held firm at the back, restricting their hosts to a couple of half-chances for Pedri and Ferran Torres, who failed to make them count. At the other end, Los Nervionenses never really threatened a great deal.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came close to scoring at the stroke of half-time but saw his effort get saved by Bono. Early in the second half, Sevilla created a chance, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen stopped Erik Lamela’s effort. Torres then had a couple of great opportunities for Barcelona, but he fired one straight at Bono and sent the other over the bar.
Former Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic saw a free-kick brush the top of the net for Sevilla, whereas Gerard Pique struck the woodwork with a header for the Catalans. Finally, though, the Blaugrana broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute when Pedri controlled Ousmane Dembele’s cross before showing great composure and quality to find the back of the net.
Torres had another chance to score but could not beat Bono. Sevilla kept pushing for an equaliser, with Ludwig Augustinsson forcing a fine save from ter Stegen as Barcelona held on to their narrow lead and secured a crucial victory that sent them into second place in the La Liga table. Here are our player ratings for Xavi Hernandez’s men.
Barcelona were in 9th place the day Xavi was hired.
Five months later, he has his team all the way up in 2nd place playing inspired football.
La Xavineta 🚍 pic.twitter.com/YKS1EfH24M
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 3, 2022
Barcelona Player Ratings
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6/10
An uneventful first half for the Barcelona goalkeeper, but he was called into action in the second half when he made a couple of important stops, although a nervy flap at a cross almost gifted Sevilla a goal.
Dani Alves: 6/10
A mixed display from the Brazilian, who showed his quality going forward, linking up moves or switching up play to launch attacks. However, he tended to leave a lot of space behind in defence which Sevilla almost capitalised on at times.
Ronald Araujo: 7/10
A solid outing from the defender, who showed no signs of fatigue after playing 180 minutes for Uruguay during the international break. He kept the Sevilla forwards at bay throughout, not giving them an inch, while he also covered for Alves on the right side at times. Good with the ball at his feet.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 4, 2022
Gerard Pique: 7/10
Another steady display from the Barcelona veteran, who positioned himself well to cut out threats while also showing his game intelligence to make tactical fouls and stop counter-attacks. Pique also struck the woodwork in the second half.
Jordi Alba: 7/10
Not as effective and impactful as he usually is, but Alba was still a regular outlet going forward, as he stitched up play together without creating much of note.
Frenkie de Jong: 6.5/10
The Dutchman had an early chance that he could not keep on target. He made good runs forward, especially in the first half, while his passing was on point. Not an impactful display, but he did what was needed of him.
Sergio Busquets: 6.5/10
A decent enough display from the Barcelona skipper, who was not quite at his best. But Busquets still managed to keep things ticking along nicely from the middle, withstanding the press from former teammate Ivan Rakitic.
XAVINETA IN FULL FORCE!
WHAT A GOAL PEDRI! pic.twitter.com/c1EfKJL7nb
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 3, 2022
Another game, another match-winning contribution from the 19-year-old prodigy. Almost everything positive Barcelona managed went through Pedri as he played some eye-catching passes forward and created chances for his teammates. He had a half-chance in the first period, which he could not convert. But the teenager won it for Barcelona with a moment of magic in the second period. Exceptional.
Ousmane Dembele: 9/10
The best player on the pitch on Sunday night alongside Pedri, Dembele was a handful for the Sevilla defence to deal with. The Frenchman played a match-high seven key passes, created two big chances and eventually got the assist he deserved when Pedri scored the winning goal. From being jeered by the supporters recently, Dembele has become one of Barcelona’s most important players.
Ousmane Dembélé is La Liga's second top assister. He has only played 13 matches, starting 9 of them. pic.twitter.com/f4Igp8pY7U
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) April 3, 2022
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 6/10
He worked hard off the ball, and made several sharp runs in the final third, but he did not get the desired service. But he never stopped working. He had a good chance close to half-time but saw his effort saved.
Ferran Torres: 5/10
While his movement in the final third was good, Torres again let the team down with his finishing as he wasted multiple opportunities on either side of half-time. There is so much promise, but the Spaniard needs to get his finishing skills on point.
He came on for de Jong minutes after the goal and helped Barcelona see off the game by keeping possession smartly.
Memphis Depay: N/A
On for Aubameyang for the last ten minutes. Not involved much.
Nico Gonzalez: N/A
Late sub for Dembele.