The team were out on the Tito Vilanova field at Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper on Saturday morning for the final training session. On Sunday, they’ll be gathering a hotel before heading to the stadium in the evening. The first game back after the international break is a biggie at home against Sevilla at 9pm local time.
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Sevilla 1-1 FC Barcelona: Promising point to end the year
A draw away to the team second in La Liga, although the Catalans will feel they deserved much more from a dominant display
FC Barcelona’s outstanding record against Sevilla continues. Following today’s 1-1 draw at the Sánchez Pizjuán, that’s now just one defeat in the last 29 league meetings with one of the strongest sides in the competition.
But despite collecting an impressive point at the home of the side in second place in La Liga, they will feel they deserved more out of this one. Neither side produced the high calibre football we were expecting, but it was very much the Catalans who had the upper hand for most of the ninety minutes.
With the added bonus in the last 25 minutes of having an extra man, this was an ideal chance for Barça to claim three points against a direct rival. The point was an impressive, well-earned one. But three would have been so much nicer.
A tale of two corners
Sevilla’s only goal came as a cruel blow. Barça had utterly dominated the first half hour. Rafa Mir may have had the ball in the net from a clearly offside position, but otherwise it was the Catalans who had been getting all the big plays – albeit without truly troubling Yassine Bounou in the Sevilla goal.
After barely being allowed a moment’s peace on the ball and making several uncharacteristic errors when they did, Sevilla found themselves a goal to the good when Papu Gómez met a corner kick on the edge of a packed area but somehow managed to find the perfect path to goal.
Barça’s response came right on the stroke of half-time, and also from a corner. Ronald Araujo rose brilliantly above the Sevilla defence to head in a brilliant equaliser, and his fourth Liga goal for the team.
It was just the second goal Barça had scored from a corner all season, following Ferran Jutglà’s at the weekend. Set pieces are falling into place!
With fifteen shots, five on target, it was Barça’s best first half display of the season.
Eleven against ten
The first half had been played under torrential rain, and the second was no drier, which may have been partly to blame for neither side producing the best of football.
And then Barça were gifted the chance to play the final 25 minutes with an extra man when Jules Koundé foolishly threw the ball at Jordi Alba. That unnecessary outburst earned the French centre-back a red card.
Ironically, Sevilla responded to their numerical inferiority by having one of their best spells of the game. But it wasn’t going to last and they were gradually forced back into their own half to play for a draw.
Dembélé hits the woodwork
Barça pushed and pushed. Ez Abde almost had it with a header that floated just wide, and then Ousmane Dembélé curled in a beauty from the edge of the area that frustratingly bounced back off the post…
With the very last kick off the game Jordi Alba drove a fine strike… But Bono was onto it and that was the final whistle.
A winning end to 2021 would have been lovely. But a point at the Sánchez Pizjuán is nothing to be sniffed at. Xavi will have seen a lot of things that he liked today.
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El entrenador del Sevilla, Julen Lopetegui ofrece una rueda de prensa previa al partido contra el LOSC Lille, partido correspondiente a la fase grupos de la Liga de Campeones. Posteriormente se conectará con el entrenamiento en directo del primer equipo.
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