Barca sink Sevilla to keep title chase alive
SEVILLE, Spain (Reuters) - Barcelona forwards Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi fired the Catalans to a confidence-boosting 2-0 win at in-form Sevilla on Saturday to keep the pressure on La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid.
Sevilla improved after the break but Barca continued to have the edge and found a second goal five minutes from time when Messi played a one-two with teenage midfielder Ilaix Moriba and netted with a scrappy finish after his first effort was saved.The result ended a six-game winning streak in the league for Sevilla, who remained fourth in the standings on 48 points, while Barca climbed above Real Madrid into second place with 53 points, two behind Atletico but having played two more games.
Sevilla can avenge the defeat on Wednesday when they head to the Camp Nou for a Copa del Rey semi-final second leg with a 2-0 lead in the tie.Barca defender Gerard Pique praised his side for putting their 4-1 Champions League drubbing by Paris St Germain and a shock 1-1 draw with Cadiz behind them.
"I'm so proud of the team, we have had some big setbacks recently but we have bounced back and today we showed that we're still very much alive," he said."We have a great squad that is good enough to compete with anyone and on Wednesday we'll give them a real battle. headtopics.com
"The title race is on, we have come back from far worse situations before."Barca are likely to be without defender Ronald Araujo for the second leg after he made his return from injury off the bench but had to be taken off with an ankle problem 15 minutes later.
KOEMAN WINS TACTICAL BATTLEBarca coach Ronald Koeman got his tactics spot on against Julen Lopetegui's side, lining up with a 3-5-2 formation he has used on special occasions this season.The shape gave Barca extra width but above all helped limit Sevilla's ability to counter-attack and they barely managed to trouble keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
"This was a complete performance from us," added Koeman."The most important thing today was our ambition, our fighting spirit and the we pressed as an entire team. We had the mentality to press them for 95 minutes, and that was the key thing."
Sergio Busquets and Pedri dominated in midfield for Barca while Dembele used his electric pace to get in behind Sevilla's defence and cause havoc.The French forward is in the form of his life and after breaking the deadlock with a confident finish he nearly set up a second goal when he danced through Sevilla's defence to tee up Messi, who uncharacteristically skied his effort. headtopics.com
Barca's captain made amends for the miss, however, scoring his 19th La Liga goal this season and a 30th league goal against Sevilla.(Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Ed Osmond) Read more: The Star »
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Barca sink Sevilla to keep title chase aliveThe 2-0 win puts them second on 53 points, two behind front-runners Atletico. FMTNews Barcelona Sevilla
Barca reach Copa final with epic comeback win over SevillaBARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona pulled off a heroic comeback from two goals down to beat Sevilla 3-0 after extra-time in Wednesday's Copa del Rey semi-final second leg at the Camp Nou and reach the final 3-2 on aggregate.
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Atletico, Barca, Real set for tightest title race in yearsJust six points separate the sides, with all three harbouring aspirations of glory. FMTNews Barca
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