Barcelona have made life difficult for themselves once again in the Copa Del Rey, after to falling to 2-0 defeat in the opening leg of their tie against Sevilla. It is the second time that the defending champions have dug themselves into a hole in the competition, after losing 2-1 at Levante in the first leg in the last round.
While manager Ernesto Valverde fielded a side featuring a number of academy prospects in the Levante defeat, a much more experienced team was on show at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium this evening, even if some starters were rested. Kevin Prince Boateng (I know, weird right?) also made his debut in the game.
After a relatively uneventful opening period, Sevilla would take the lead just before the hour mark. It was a perfectly executed attack from the home side, with some questionable defending at the far post allowing Pablo Sarabia to finish off the move.
With Barcelona staring at defeat, Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho were introduced from the bench. This move would not have the desired impact, however, as they would soon fall two goals behind.
After some sloppy play in the Barca midfield, Sevilla would launch a well-worked counter attack, which was aided by some lax tackling from the opposition defence. The sequence of play would once again results in a goal at the far post, this time with Ben Yedder providing the finishing touch. The Frenchman would also reveal a touching tribute to missing Cardiff striker Emiliano Sala during his celebration.
Barcelona never really looked like getting back into the game from here on, registering only one shot on target in the entire 90 minutes. It was the first time in 40 outings that the Spanish champions have failed to score in a match.
While they will still be confident of advancing, the Catalan side have certainly made things difficult for themselves. They followed up the first leg loss at Levante in the last round with a 3-0 win at the Camp Nou, but one would suspect that Sevilla will provide a much sterner challenge this time around.