Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi give Barcelona huge win at Sevilla
La Liga, Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuan - Sevilla 0 Barcelona 2 (Dembele 29', Messi 86')
Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates his team's second goal during the La Liga Santander match between Sevilla FC and FC Barcelona at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on February 27, 2021 in Seville, Spain.
Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi both scored for Barcelona away to Sevilla as the Catalans moved up to second place in La Liga, giving their title hopes a shot in the arm.
Ronald Koeman opted for a back three three with Oscar Mingueza coming in to play alongside Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet in central defence and the system appeared to suit Barca who started the match well.
The visitors took the lead just before the half-hour mark when Dembele finished underneath Bono in the Sevilla goal after being released through on goal by Messi with the opposition defence split wide open.
Julen Lopetegui made three changes to his side for the start of the second half with Youssef En-Nesyri, Karim Rekik and Suso all introduced, but it was Barca who came closest to another when Sergino Dest smashed a strike off the crossbar.
Barcelona made sure of the points late on, with Messi squeezing a finish past Bono at the second attempt as Barca went second in La Liga, just two points behind Atletico Madrid who still hold two games in-hand.
TALKING POINT - What will the cost of this win be for Barcelona?
While this was one of Barcelona’s best results and performances of the season so far, they might have to count the cost following a series of injuries. First, Gerard Pique hobbled off having only just returned from injury. He was replaced by Ronald Araujo who was also just returning from injury, but the Uruguayan lasted just a few minutes. Then Pedri was forced off late on. All three players are key figures for Koeman. Barcelona’s injury troubles might have got even more troubling.
Pedro Gonzalez Lopez 'Pedri' of FC Barcelona reacts during the La Liga Santander match between Sevilla FC and FC Barcelona at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on February 27, 2021 in Seville,
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH - Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona)
This was a demonstration of what Dembele can offer Barcelona. The French winger has struggled to make his mark at the Camp Nou over the last few years, but he is currently enjoying his best run of form for Barca, scoring a well-taken opener against Sevilla. Koeman’s decision to use Dembele through the middle worked. Sevilla failed to deal with his pace and the 23-year-old showed a composure in front of goal that isn’t always associated with his play.
Barcelona's French forward Ousmane Dembele celebrates after scoring a goal during the Spanish league football match between Sevilla FC and FC Barcelona at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Seville on February 27, 2021.
Image credit: Getty Images
Sevilla - Bono 6, Navas 6, Kounde 8, Carlos 5, Escudero 5, Jordan 5, Fernando 6, Rakitic 5, Munir 4, De Jong 4, Papu Gomez 5. Subs - Torres 4, Suso 5, Rekik 5, Oscar 4, En-Nesyri 6.
Barcelona - Ter Stegen 7, Dest 8, Mingueza 6, Pique 5, Lenglet 6, Alba 7, Busquets 6, De Jong 8, Pedri 6, Messi 8, Dembele 9. Subs - Araujo 3, Umtiti 3, Braithwaite 3, Moriba 6.
29’ GOAL! Sevilla 0-1 Barcelona: Barcelona have the breakthrough and it's Dembele who has found the back of the net! Messi played the pass through for the Frenchman, the Sevilla defence was split and Dembele did well to keep calm and slot the finish past Bono!
62’ Smashed off the woodwork! So close to a second for Barcelona! Alba's cross fell to Dest and the American right back lashes a strike off the crossbar! If only he'd shown more composure!
70’ GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO... NO! Barcelona have the ball in the back of the net, with Lenglet heading home from a freekick, but the French defender was offside from the set piece.
72’ Pedri injury! This doesn't look too good. The teenage playmaker has signalled to the Barcelona bench that he wants to come off. Is it a hamstring injury? The change is being readied.
81’ GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO... NO! En-Nesyri has the ball in the back of the net, but the Sevilla forward handled the ball before he got the shot away. Disallowed!
85’ Araujo is down! Uh oh. This is a problem for Barcelona. Araujo has only been on the pitch for a matter of minutes, but it looks like the defender will have to come off here.
86’ GOAL! Sevilla 0-2 Barcelona: And that will be the points in the bag for Barcelona and it's Messi who has added his name to the score sheet! The Argentine was through on goal, got a bit lucky with a deflection off Bono and finished into the net from about a yard or two out!
Barcelona have hit the woodwork 18 times in away games this season (all competitions), more than any other team in Europe’s top five leagues.
Ousmane Dembele has scored in four of his last six games against Sevilla.