Barcelona vs. Sevilla: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
The fans at the Camp Nou saw their side execute their signature passing style and dominate possession in the first half. The visitors managed only one shot in 45 minutes, but Alberto Botia's header in the 42nd minute was all that was needed for them to take a 1-0 lead into halftime.
When play resumed, it only took Barça right-back Dani Alves seven minutes to pick out David Villa on a cross, and the veteran striker calmly headed the ball home for an equalizer. Then in the 60th minute, Lionel Messi played the ball out wide to Cristian Tello, received the ball back in front of goal and did exactly what every spectator expected him to do, putting Barcelona in the lead.
A valiant first-half effort from Sevilla ultimately meant little as the talent and class in the Barça side simply overwhelmed the visitors en route to another La Liga victory.
Lionel Messi, Barcelona: B+
It took him a while to settle into this match and shake off whatever kept him from delivering a top-class performance against Milan. But sure enough, Messi found a way to break through.
He orchestrated a typical Barcelona attack and scored the go-ahead goal, all while making the play look extremely easy. This will give him momentum heading into a midweek match against Real Madrid.
Alberto Botia, Sevilla: A
Whenever a team takes on Barcelona, the centre-backs are always the key to its success. For Sevilla, Botia came through with an impressive performance.
In addition to an admirable effort on defense, he took full advantage of the space he was allowed in the penalty area following a cross from Coke, Sevilla's left-back.
Andres Iniesta, Barcelona: B-
Messi's partner in crime was not as prolific as usual on Saturday. Iniesta failed to make a significant impact on the match and was eventually removed in favor of Xavi.
While the team did not suffer at all from this swap, it likely would have preferred that Iniesta was more productive during his time on the pitch.
Ivan Rakitic, Sevilla: C+
Unsurprisingly, the Sevilla midfield was dominated in this match. Rakitic, who has five goals and six assists in league fixtures this season, was nowhere to be found for the majority of the 90 minutes.
Fortunately, the visitors' lone goal on the set piece was enough to make the match exciting, and the Croatian's flair was not needed for Sevilla to ultimately feel content with their effort.
David Villa, Barcelona: B+
While he may not have stood out for most of this match, he did a striker's duty and delivered a goal when his needed it. His run was perfectly timed, and his header to equalize was textbook.
It wasn't a spectacular performance from Villa, but it was a reminder why Barcelona had no interest in letting him leave in January.
There will be no rest for the weary Catalan giants, as they are headed into a Copa Del Rey Clasico against Real Madrid in their next match on February 26.
Sevilla will take the pitch next for a Copa Del Rey fixture against Atletico Madrid on February 27.
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