10-man Sevilla deny Barca top 4 spot

LaLiga

FC Barcelona ended the year outside of the top four in LaLiga after playing to a 1-1 draw against ten-man Sevilla on Tuesday evening.

Limited changes in fact the return of veteran defender Gerard Pique headlined the Catalans line-up from their 3-2 win over Elche CF over the weekend.

Barca made a fast start to the match and should’ve been ahead from a header at the back-post by Frenkie De Jong, but goalkeeper Yassine Bounou saved.

The bright opening were nearly spoiled in the middle of the first half as Rafa Mir raced into the area from a through pass to curl home, but it was chalked off for offside.

Following the balanced start, the Blaugrana trailed on 32 minutes after Papu Gomez got in at the back-post to execute Ivan Rakitic’s well-worked set-piece.

Parity were restored on the cusp of halftime when Ronald Araujo broke away from a challenge in the area to head Ousmane Dembele’s corner-kick past Bounou.

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Sevilla targeted a pacey start in the second half through the spade work of Thomas Delaney in and around the area, but the Catalans remained alert thus sustained the Dane.

The Catalans were alive again soon before the closing quarter, as Abde Ezzalzouli threatened the lead from a tight angle in the area but he missed completely.

Over and above, Sevilla’s task got more difficult midway through the second half when a moment of madness from Jules Kounde earned him a red card following an altercation with Jordi Alba.

Barcelona gave a few of their substitutes a run out later on, as Nicolas Gonzalez who got the winner over the weekend and Lenglet came on.

The host were on the edge minutes from time when Dembele curled against the upright from the edge of the area thereafter Alba closed in with snap shot from a corner, but 1-1 it remained.

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