Second-half goals from Pablo Sarabia and Wissam Ben Yedder gave Sevilla a 2-0 win at home to a much-changed Barcelona side in the teams’ Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg at the Sanchez Pizjuan tonight.
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde left Lionel Messi out of his squad altogether for this match, with Luis Suarez, Sergio Busquets and Philippe Coutinho all on the bench in a much-changed line-up.
Nevertheless, the Catalans competed well in an even first half against a strong Sevilla side and missed a superb chance to take the lead late in the opening period when Malcom latched onto an Arthur pass and rounded goalkeeper Juan Soriano, but could only find the side netting when it looked easier to score.
Pablo Machin’s men missed a great opportunity of their own a minute later as Ever Banega set up Ben Yedder, but the striker was denied from close range by goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.
The home side began to take control as the second half got underway and after Ibrahim Amadou had chipped an effort just wide, Sevilla took the lead through Pablo Sarabia after 58 minutes, the midfielder meeting a Quincy Promes cross from the left with a fine finish after the ball bounced up for him just nicely.
With Barca on the ropes, Valverde brought on Coutinho and Luis Suarez in a double change and the Brazilian came close with a fierce drive moments after entering the pitch.
But Sevilla went two up after 76 minutes as Banega spotted Ben Yedder’s run and found the French forward at the far post with a low ball from the left which required a simple finish as the striker slid in unmarked to make it 2-0.
Suarez drilled an effort wide in the latter stages, but there was no further score as Barca left themselves with plenty of work to do in next week’s return leg at Camp Nou, when they may have to call upon Messi once again.
Source: Evening Standard