Messi sends Barca into second spot


Lionel Messi grabbed a goal and assist to steer Barcelona to a 2-0 victory over Sevilla in LaLiga action at Estadio Roman Sanchez Pizjuan on Saturday.

Barca boss Ronald Koeman made four changes with Clement Lenglet, Sergino Dest, Sergio Busquets and Ousmane Dembele coming into the starting line-up while Sevilla made three alterations to his side with with Sergio Escudero and former Barcelona pair Ivan Rakitic and Munir El Haddadi coming into the side.

Barca took the initiative from the off and after much probing and pressing opened the scoring in the 29th minute. Messi played a perfect slide-rule pass to release Dembele through on goal who capped his return to the team with a clinical finish through the legs of Sevilla keeper Bounou.

The Blaugrana were playing with an intensity seldom seen this season and keeping it tight at the back with Jordi Alba and Dest rarely making forays upfield with Koeman opting for a flat back four in the first half.

And five minutes before the interval, Frenkie de Jong played in Dest on the overlap down the right and he cut back inside before unleashing a fierce left-footed strike which grazed the crossbar on its way over.

A string of players were booked before the half-time break including Messi as the game took a feisty turn.

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Six minutes into the second-half, Jesus Navas surged down the right flank and turned back onto his left before firing a low shot towards the near post, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen made the save.

Soon after, De Jong delivered a teasing cross into the box and Messi and was inches away from getting on the end of it with the slide.

Alba, who had been quiet for most of the afternoon, then broke down the left and drilled a ball into the danger area with it falling kindly for Dest, whose shot struck the outside of the post.

Messi made the result more comfortable five minutes before the end. The Argentine superstar played the one-two with Moriba to get away from Jordan, before skipping past Fernando with the ball luckily rebounding for him to tap into an empty net.