A last-gasp goal from Alexis Sanchez handed Barcelona a 3-2 home victory over a determined Sevilla side, who had come from 2-0 down earlier in the game.
Dani Alves scored against his former side and Lionel Messi added to Barcelona’s lead, but goals from Ivan Rakitic and Coke had looked to steal a point for the visitors.
Sanchez had the final say with a goal in the last few seconds to seal a dramatic victory at the Nou Camp and make it four wins from four at the start of the season.
With all attention in Spain drawn to Gareth Bale’s debut for Real Madrid, it was Barcelona’s newest star who was the most threatening in the first ten minutes. Neymar forced Beto into two saves with good strikes from the edge of the box and Coke did not know how to handle the Brazil winger.
Sevilla’s rear-guard defence did manage to hold out for most of the first half, but were finally undone in the 36th minute thanks one of their former players. Alves spent six years at Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán making 175 appearances for the club, but he got on the end of Jordia Alba’s deep cross to nod in and put his current club in front. The goal was well-worked as always from Barcelona as they passed the ball around in midfield, forced Sevilla back and worked it wide for Alba to cause the damage.
Christian Tello was also given a chance as one of Barcelona’s front three and nearly made the most of it with a good steal from Rakitic, but his pass to Messi was overhit and Beto was able to smother from a tight angle. Just after, Tello forced the goalkeeper into a top class save from 18 yards, but Barcelona deservedly lead at the break.
In the second half, Sevilla were left cursing the referee as they had a goal disallowed for seemingly no reason. Rakitic’s corner was nodded in at the near post by Cala and everyone in the stadium was surprised when the referee awarded Barcelona a free-kick. The assumption was for a possible push, but replays showed that the only push came from Victor Valdes in the Barcelona goal and Sevilla should have been level.
Messi had been quiet in the game, but did burst into life when he twisted and turned on the edge of the box. He made space for a shot at goal, but he sent it flying over with his weaker right foot. The Argentine did double Barca’s lead though and the goal came in the 57th minute. He played it wide for Neymar and got on the end of the winger’s cross with a powerful finish from six yards out. It was a simple goal from his standards, but it meant the game looked out of Sevilla’s reach.
Surprisingly, the away side pulled a goal back five minutes later. Vitolo lead a counter-attack and went past both Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique, before playing it across for Rakitic to rifle in from ten yards. It was a great finish and suddenly, the game was back on. The comeback was colplete ten minutes later and Sevilla seemed to have stolen a point.
Rakitic’s corner caused the problem again and Coke found himself unmarked on the penalty spot. The defender provided an assured finish on the volley as he smashed low into the bottom corner, cueing wild celebrations in the away end. They could have won the game too, but Marko Marin curled wide from the edge of the box when he should have hit the target.
The miss proved vital as Barcelona went up the other end to score a winner. Messi came alive as he strode past two defenders into the penalty area and although Beto kept out his low effort with a good save, Sanchez was following up to stroke into the net and give Barcelona all three points. It was a harsh result on Sevilla who had a goal wrongfully disallowed and had manage to claw back into it, but Barcelona have kept up the pressure on the title challengers.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)