Another game, another walk in the park.
Barcelona faced their toughest challenge of the season so far in Seville. They passed it with flying colours. Once again they looked irresistible, devastating, great. The home side started brightly at the Román Sánchez Pizjuán, but Barça rode the wave, drawing the sting from Sevilla, before hitting them with a flurry of knockout blows. Quite simply, they proved too much for Julien Lopetegui’s side, leaving them in ruins, a crumpled, beaten heap on the floor.
Marc-André ter Stegen played a vital role in keeping Barça level in those early stages when a desperate Sevilla came out swinging. Twenty minutes of pressure from the home side made a goal look inevitable, before the Blaugrana flipped a switch and hit them on a stunning, lightning quick break to score against the run of play. Ousmane Dembélé found Robert Lewandowski, who successfully chipped the keeper, only to see his effort rebound off the bar. Thankfully, it fell into the path of Raphinha, who gratefully accepted the gift and headed home his first Barcelona goal.
Boosted by the goal, Barça visibly grew in confidence as Sevilla visibly shrunk. Facing his old team for the first time since leaving this summer, Barça defender Jules Kounde played in a lovely ball over the top to Lewandoswki. Cool as ever, the pole controlled the ball on his chest before turning and rifling home a sumptuous volley ten minutes before half time. After that, Sevilla fell to pieces. Kounde and Dembélé were gifted chances to put the game out of sight but failed to put them away, sending the visitors into the break with a 2-0 lead.
As if having got a bit of wind back and electing to give it one final push, Sevilla almost scored right after the break, only for Eric Garcia to block Eric Lamela’s shot in front of an open goal Five minutes later it was all over. Kounde headed a pass from Dembélé into the path of Eric Garcia, and the defender made it 3-0 to decisively kill off the game.
Sevilla are not the threat they were last season, but they are still the sternest challenge Barcelona have faced so far. The Catalan giants eventually made it look easy on Saturday night, sending fans everywhere into raptures. Xavi’s side now look the real deal, and big things may come their way.
Culers, you have permission to get excited.