Seville hearts and dreams were left in pieces just minutes from the end of a fiercely contested La Liga fixture, after Barcelona scored 2 late goals yet again. As expected Barca took control of the game with a series of following possession moves inside the opening 10 minutes despite Mascherano and Busquets heading each other as the Seville number 9 Negredo caused a handful to a makeshift Barca back line. It didn’t take long for the Spanish international to make an impact shooting narrowly wide on 12 minutes. Barca responded through Messi whose shot after a series of engaging 1-2’s was well saved by Palop. Rakitic who impressed in the centre has his effort saved by Valdes after a fine counter move from Seville although the Croatians shot was straight at the Catalan.
Negredo caused trouble for the Barca defence as Sergio and Mascherano clash heads.
Seville soaked up the pressure and responded with a counter attack goal through Trochowski on 25 minutes and serious questions needed to be asked to Dani Alves who invited the shot and Valdes who just stood there similar to the way he did with Andrey Arshavin, in the champions league tie in 2011, remember that? Almost identical! A minute later Messi had a volley blocked by a spectacular dive from Hedwiges Maduro that was destined for the bottom left corner. Barca continued a response with a beautiful move between Fabregas and Pedro only for the back heel of the later to pick out the former Arsenal man who had strayed offside.
It could have been 2-0 to Seville before the break as Negredo left footed curling shot went inches wide after cutting inside the left back Jordi Alba. It was 2-0 straight after the break after Negredo picked up a through ball from Rakitic after a mistake by Busquets and brushed off a weak challenge from Song to chip the ball beautifully over Valdes. A goal Lionel Messi would have been proud off.
It looked like Vilanova would taste his first defeat as Manager in the Liga but Cesc Fabregas struck a left footed pile driver past a despairing dive from Palop to give some hope on 53 minutes. Minutes later Alexis had the opportunity to level after he cut inside his marker onto his favoured right foot but pulled his shot into the side netting. The Chilean really struggled and became frustrating to watch on the ball. Sanchez has struggled this season and with the return of Villa, promotion of Deulofeu from the B team and new contract for Cristian Tello, he may well be subject to more time on the bench.
Everyone in the Estadio Roman Sanchez Pizjuan must have thought that a curling free kick from Messi was destined for the top corner but Palop had other ideas flicking the ball around the post to pull off an incredible save. Sergio Busquets received a ‘lucky’ yellow card on 70 minutes after he overstretched to get the ball and ran his studs down the lower leg of Cicinho. It was one of those where they have resulted in a red card and Sergio was lucky to remain on the pitch in his 200th La Liga game.
2 minutes later Medel was given his marching order after a spat with Fabregas and put his head into the Catalans face, but was not what you would call a head butt. Contact was made and Fabregas showed that holding his face but surprising didn’t drop to the floor. The referee seemed to have a decent view and immediately showed Medel the red card.
With the seconds ticking away and the Seville fans in full voice a 50/50 ball bounce off Thiago and his marker striking Thiago on the hand but given the real time speed would have been an incredibly harsh call for handball. From seeing several replays it looked as accidental as they come but this decision upset Seville as four touches later it was in the back of the net. Thiago fed Messi who found Fabregas through the eye of a needle and the number 4 passed over Palop levelling the score line at 2-2 and ending his goal drought with a brace.
Equaliser: Fabregas dinks the ball over Palop to level the scoreline
Negredo had been brought off 10 minutes from time as Seville looked to soak up the pressure but they only had Navas on hand going forward after that point and was soon isolated.
5 minutes of stoppage time was allocated, but Barca only needed 2 of them to pinch all 3 points. 2nd half substitute David Villa collected the ball from Tello whose pace had caused trouble for the Seville defence since coming on also. El Guaje conducted a great one-two with non-other than Lionel Messi and struck a sweet left footed drive past Palop making it 2-3 on the night. Messi ran straight off to celebrate with the number 7 putting aside any rumours about the on field argument last weekend against Granada.
Team Spirrt: Barca celebrate David Villa’s winner in the 92nd minute
Bad news came after the game however in that Thiago will miss the nest 10-11 games with a knee injury. Another blow for the Barca midfield, but Iniesta could be fit for next week’s El Clasico but La Masia hotshot Sergio Roberto would be my tip to start getting into the Barcelona fold.
Barca were dominate for most parts but Seville will be devastated to have conceded two late goals despite their speculative nature and drop 3 points in the space of 3 minutes. The fans looked heart broken and Rakitic who had been the creator of most of Seville’s play looked shell shocked from the bench after being substituted on 76 minutes. Agony for Seville but they can take a lot away from their performance bar the final few minutes, where they were undone in a split second by the greatest footballer in the universe Lionel Messi. No, he didn’t score but his assist to the goal have to be seen to be believed.