League leaders, FC Barcelona managed to defeat Sevilla FC last night and grabbed the vital 3 points thanks to an action packed 2nd half display.
Sevilla head coach, Jorge Sampaoli opted for a defensive approach, going away from their traditional attacking mindset and Sevilla players deployed a low block that invited FC Barcelona to attack more.
This tactic from Sevilla gave the catalans some trouble from the beginning despite FC Barcelona having abundance of possession.
In the 8th minute Sergio Busquets had to come off the field after an apparent injury from a harsh tackle and Frank Kessie was subbed on for the Spaniard.
Despite Sevilla FC attacking less due to their defensive approach, FC Barcelona failed to create chances and break the deadlock.
Robert Lewandowski attempted a long shot hoping to catch Yassine Bonnou offguard but the Moroccon shotstopper managed to get his right hand to parry the oncoming shot away from the goal.
The score remained 0-0 when the first half ended.
Sevilla continued the defensive approach in the 2nd half while FC Barcelona attacked with more intensity this time in search of the opening goal.
In the 58th minute the catalans opened the scoring with Jordi Alba who slotted away the chance created by the combination of Raphinha and Kessie. Kessie held up the ball in the box against 3 Sevilla defenders until he released it to the arriving Jordi Alba who guided it passed Yassine Bonnou’s outstretched boot.
In the 70th minute, FC Barcelona scored their 2nd goal to put more pressure on Sevilla. Raphinha passed the ball across the face of the goal into oncoming Gavi who tapped it home securing a 2 goal lead for the catalans. Raphinha who had an underwhelming performance in the first half came to life in the second 45 minutes and has been involved in both goals scored so far.
In the 79th minute Raphinha got his goal to settle the match when he scored the oncoming pass sent by Jordi Alba. Shambolic defending by Sevilla gave room for Barça to score 3 well created goals and grab all the 3 points on the night.
With this crucial win, FC Barcelona managed to create an eight point gap between them and Real Madrid after The los blancos lost to Mallocra 1-0 earlier yesterday.
The defense once again managed to keep a clean sheet minimizing Sevilla’s attacking threat, Sevilla’s first shot on goal came in the 87th minute and it proves how the Barcelona defense dominated this game throughout the night. With this cleansheet Marc Andre Ter Stegen moves onto 15 clean sheets in 20 games eyeing his first ever Zamora (Best goalkeeper in Laliga) trophy.
The midfield of Frenkie De Jong, Frank Kessie, Gavi and Pedri proved to be unbeatable and Sevilla’s midfield had no answer to the Catalan onslaught caused by the Barça midfield. Frenkie De Jong had an amazing game yet again proving that keeping him despite all the Manchester United interest was the right call. Frank Kessie who subbed on for injured Busquets managed to grab an assist and young Gavi who is in red hot form scored his first goal in a the new #6 jersey.
Unfortunately, Robert Lewandowski did not get his goal today despite playing well, the polish striker had few chances but was unlucky not to hit the target.
Once again Raphinha proved to be the game changer and the Brazilian dropped a masterclass of a performance. Raphinha was involved in all the 3 goals and ended the night with a goal and an assist to his name. In the absence of Ousmane Dembele, Raphinha has started to make the difference and he is becoming a vital player for Xavi. The Brazilian has scored 4 goals and assited 4 times making him the Laliga player with the most goal contributions in 2023 across all competitions. Raphinha has 14 goal contributions this season for FC Barcelona only topped by Robert Lewandowski (28) and Ousmane Dembele (15).
With this win FC Barcelona has now won their last 10 games while keeping 6 clean sheets along the way. The Catalans are enjoying some great form under Xavi across all competitions. FC Barcelona now sit comfortably on top of the league with a 8 point gap having scored the most goals (42) and conceding the least (7).
Facing a busy schedule in the domestic competitions and the Europa League tie with Manchester United, the players need this confidence boost along the way to achieve this season’s goals and end the season on a high note.
Who was your Man of the Match Yesterday and Why?
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