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Sevilla defeated Barcelona 2-0 in the first leg match of the Copa del Rey semifinals. A result that leaves Barcelona in a difficult situation in the competition. Although all is not yet lost, the Culés will have to work hard to make an epic recovery in the return match, if they want to advance to get the title.
Sevilla French defender Jules Koundé scored the first with an extraordinary solo goal in min 25. The second one arrived in the min 85 when the former Barcelona player Ivan Rakitic struck against his ex-team. Despite this, the midfielder didn’t celebrate the goal against his former club.
With LaLiga somewhat complicated by Atl. Madrid leading the top of the standings, the Copa del Rey has become more relevant for the Catalan and Andalusian team.
Messi’s 900th Match
This was the 900th game for Messi, making his 758th appearance with Barcelona. Unfortunately for the Argentinian star, he had a quiet performance in the match and did not score, missing a couple of good chances that the Sevilla goalkeeper, Bono, could successfully avoid.
However, Messi has scored more goals against Sevilla than against any other team. A total of 37 goals in 41 games.
A Possible Penalty
After Sevilla’s first goal, the Catalan team felt they should have been awarded a penalty when Jordi Alba was tripped on the edge of the penalty area. However, the referee only awarded a free-kick, without checking with VAR whether the foul had occurred inside the area.
About this, Barca coach Ronald Koeman declared “Everyone has told me it was a penalty,” and also admitted that Sevilla made a lot of clever fouls, but they defended very well. The coach thought that Barca deserved more as they played well creating a lot of chances. He also declared that the final result was harsh for the team given what they did on the pitch.
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Still Chances for Barcelona
The second leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals will take place on 3 March at Camp Nou.
Sevilla and Barcelona played the final of the Copa del Rey in 2016 and 2018, with Barcelona coming out on top both times.
Barça is looking to reach their ninth final in 11 years. They reached the semi-finals nine times in a row before Athletic Bilbao knocked them out in the quarter-finals last season.
As per Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman’s declarations: “There is still hope, it will be complicated, but this team is capable of anything at home”.
Let’s see if Barça can put things on the reverse for Sevilla in the return match, and is able to reach this title.