Barcelona failed to break into La Liga’s top four after being held to a 1-1 draw by high-flying Sevilla on Tuesday night, despite playing against ten men for more than half an hour at Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán.
Torrential rain in Andalusia seemed to affect a first half of few chances, but Frenkie de Jong spurned a good headed chance after a quarter of an hour before both Rafa Mir and Ousmane Dembélé went close with long-range efforts at either end.
Both sides would eventually find the net before half-time through set pieces.
Sevilla made the breakthrough shortly after the half-hour mark through a well-worked corner routine. Ivan Rakitic played a low cross into the Barcelona penalty area and it was swept home first time by the onrushing Papu Gomez, whose inch-perfect finish nestled in the corner.
However, Barça levelled just before the break through their own corner. Ronald Araujo rose majestically to meet Dembélé’s cross and placed his header into the bottom corner.
The match suddenly became ill-tempered when Jules Koundé was shown a straight red card. The Frenchman needlessly lashed out after a bit of pushing by throwing the ball into Jordi Alba’s face from a yard away 20 minutes into the second period.
However, despite their man advantage Barça were unable to muster an opportunity until the final ten minutes. First, Gavi missed a glorious opportunity – ghosting in between the Sevilla centre-backs but mis-directing a free header. Then, with six minutes to go, Dembélé bent a wonderful left-footed effort onto the post from the edge of the penalty area.
That was as close as the visitors came, as the match ended 1-1 – a result that leaves Sevilla second in La Liga and the Blaugrana seventh. Here’s how the Barcelona players rated…
Marc-André ter Stegen (GK) – 5/10 – Zero chance of saving Gomez’s strike. No other saves of note.
Ronald Araujo (RB) – 8/10 – Generally defended well against the tricky Gomez. Very impressive towering header to equalise.
Gerard Piqué (CB) – 6/10 – Did his work with no frills, making plenty of clearances and keeping his passing tidy.
Eric Garcia (CB) – 6/10 – Solid enough before being injured by a nasty challenge from Mir.
Jordi Alba (LB) – 7/10 – Vintage s•••housing to lure Koundé into a needless red card. Very good defensive work elsewhere.
Sergio Busquets (DM) – 7/10 – Typically metronomic, maintaining a very high pass success percentage. Booked.
Frenkie de Jong (CM) – 5/10 – Had an early headed chance, but couldn’t get much purchase on the ball. Such a technical operator, but perhaps didn’t affect the game enough.
Gavi (CM) – 6/10 – Looked a little leggy and was loose in possession in midfield, but drew fouls and won plenty of duels. Pushed up front in the second half. Booked before missing a very presentable chance late on.
Ousmane Dembélé (RW) – 7/10 – Looked dangerous on the ball, forcing a good save from range. Assisted Araujo’s goal before thumping the post late on.
Ferrán Jutglà (ST) – 4/10 – Seemed willing to shoot from absolutely anywhere, to no avail. Subbed.
Ez Abde (LW) – 5/10 – Lost Gomez before he scored. Forced to do plenty of defensive work, but generally did it well. Booked.
Clement Llenglet (CB) – 5/10 – Replaced the injured Garcia.
Nico (CM) – 6/10 – Busy and didn’t shy away from any battles.
Luuk de Jong (ST) – N/A