Raphinha, Kessie shine as Barcelona put exact Madrid on heels

Barcelona scored thrice in 21 minutes inside the second half as they beat relegation-troubled Sevilla by three-zero at Camp Nou on Sunday. With the win, Barca transfer eight factors clear on the very elevated of the LaLiga desk forward of second-place exact Madrid.

Jordi Alba opened the scoring simply earlier than the hour mark after good work from Franck Kessie. That pressured Sevilla to open up and Barca quickly took benefit of the residence that afforded them.

Raphinha created the second for Gavi after which added the third himself from Alba’s cross to full the scoring and extend Barca’s worthwhile streak in all competitions to seven video games, their longest as a consequence of the 2019-20 season.

soar TO: most interesting/worst performers | Highlights & notable moments | Postgame quotes | Key stats | Upcoming fixtures

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1. Barca open commanding lead on the very elevated of LaLiga

Barca took full benefit of exact Madrid‘s shock 1-zero loss at Mallorca earlier on Sunday to maneuver firmly into the driving stress’s seat to win LaLiga. After a important half whereby they did not interrupt down a Sevilla facet that sat deep, Barcelona opened the floodgates after the break.

Alba broke the impasse after an fantastic move from Kessie, who had changed the injured Sergio Busquets earlier inside the sport. That was the one draw again for Barca right here. With Manchester United inside the Europa League throughout the nook — and Ousmane Dembele already injured — they might do with out shedding any extra gamers.

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as quickly as inside the lead, Barca started to take pleasure in themselves. Jules Kounde‘s prolonged move found Raphinha inside the seventieth minute and the Brazilian’s clever move arrange Gavi for the second. Raphinha accomplished the scoring himself after good work from Frenkie de Jong and Alba.

It marks a excellent 12 months for Barca beneath supervisor Xavi Hernandez. At this stage final season, Barca had been 17 factors behind leaders exact Madrid, albeit with a sport in hand. Now, they’re eight factors clear and a important league title since 2019 might be very a lot inside their sights.

2. Signings Raphinha and Kessie get their second

whereas Robert Lewandowski, Andreas Christensen and Kounde have seamlessly slotted into this Barca facet, there was extra scrutiny on fellow summer time signings Raphinha and Kessie. each impressed in opposition to Sevilla, although, with performances would might signal a turning level of their Barca careers.

It seemed favor it might be one other inconsistent night for Raphinha inside the important half, however he was sensible after the break. He was involved in all three goals and started to play like a participant with confidence. Sevilla might not cease him for a quick interval of the sport.

As for Kessie, he has hardly been afforded any sport time to show himself. Busquets’ knock gave Kessie an alternative on Sunday to return on after 5 minutes, and he responded properly. He displayed good footwork all by way of the sport, helped in defence and assault and produced a Ronaldinho-esque move to arrange Alba’s aim.

three. Sevilla nonetheless in a scrap on the underside

Sevilla had gained three of their final 4 league video games earlier than their journey to Barcelona, nonetheless the means whereby they capitulated after falling behind reveals why they’re nonetheless locked in a relegation fight.

With a again 5, the important half ought to have been one among many very important defensive performances of coach Jorge Sampaoli’s profession. It labored, although, they usually acquired to the break goalless having restricted Barca to an xG of zero.22.

nonetheless, as quickly as Alba opened the scoring, they fully misplaced their means. pressured to look for an equaliser, they had been found wanting on the again repeatedly. inside the future, they might have conceded elevated than three. Sevilla, who started the advertising campaign inside the Champions League, gave the look of what they’re: a crew simply two factors away from the underside three.

Their three current wins had been in opposition to the teams at the second inside the relegation zone, Getafe, Cadiz and Elche. Beating these teams round them can be the important factor to staying inside the division now and starting afresh subsequent season.

most interesting and worst performers

most interesting: Raphinha, Barcelona

acquired here alive inside the second half with a aim, an assist and a quantity of fully different runs for his YouTube highlights reel.

most interesting: Jordi Alba, Barcelona

His crosses gave the look of Barca’s most interesting guess for a aim inside the important half. Scored and assisted after the break.

most interesting: Franck Kessie, Barcelona

maybe his most very important efficiency since he joined from AC Milan final summer time.

Worst: Oliver Torres, Sevilla

accomplished simply 10 passes inside the important half and was taken off at halftime.

Worst: Nemanja Gudelj, Sevilla

The defender misplaced an aerial battle with Gavi inside the important half and his means after Barça’s opener.

Worst: Ivan Rakitic, Sevilla

fortunate to protect on the pitch in opposition to his former membership for a late, purple card-worthy problem on Ronald Araujo.

Highlights and notable moments

inside the 58th minute, Barcelona scored a properly-labored aim by way of Jordi Alba with a nice by way of-ball assist from Franck Kessie.

It was Alba’s first aim for Barca this season in all competitions.

Then, inside the seventieth minute, one other aim acquired here for Barca from a participant who hadn’t but scored in LaLiga this season: Gavi.

The 18-12 months-previous was inside the becoming spot to faucet in Raphinha’s cross.

Raphinha wasn’t content material to solely be an assister on the day, notching his personal aim 9 minutes later.

The aim was Raphinha’s fourth aim for Barcelona in LaLiga this season.

After the match: What the managers and gamers mentioned

Barcelona supervisor Xavi Hernandez on their efficiency: We did not permit Sevilla to react. We went for the second aim. i really feel the crew’s effort was clear at this time, how they labored, pressed, the hunger they’d… the teams closest to us had slipped up this weekend and it was a large win.”

Xavi on Barcelona main exact Madrid by eight factors on the desk: “it is not definitive, on no account, however we’re in a privileged place. there might even be nonetheless a protracted decision to go however it is good to be prime and to have the benefit we have.”

Xavi on Raphinha’s efficiency: “i used to be already proud of Raphinha regardless of the criticism there had been. he is a beneficiant participant, actually intense inside the press. Now he is including decisive goals and assists. We’re talking about him as a consequence of he is scored in two video games working and it seems he is standing out extra, however he has been doing all of it season.”

Sevilla supervisor Jorge Sampaoli on the consequence: “We held Barca off inside the important half however inside the second half we would have preferred extra. We did not hold maintain of the ball. When it is important to chase the opposition rather a lot at a floor like this, you uncover your self paying for it. that is what occurred after the break.”

Key stats (supplied by ESPN Stats & knowledge)

  • Barcelona have now gained seven straight video games throughout all competitions, their longest such streak as a consequence of the 2019-20 season.

  • The final time Barcelona led LaLiga by eight or extra factors was the ultimate match day of 2018-19 season when it gained the title with 87 factors, eleven above Atlético Madrid (exact Madrid accomplished third with sixty eight).

  • Jordi Alba scored his first aim this season in all competitions.

  • Gavi scored his first LaLiga aim this season, and his third of his profession.

  • Raphinha has 5 goals in final 12 video games after starting the season with simply one aim in his first 17 matches for Barcelona (all competitions).

  • Barcelona have did not discover inside the important half of their final 4 matches in all competitions (Barcelona’s opponents have additionally been unable to discover inside the important half in that span).

Up subsequent

Barcelona: Barca head on the avenue subsequent weekend to face Villarreal on Sunday, Feb. 12 (stream dwell on ESPN+ at three p.m. ET). Then Barcelona host Manchester United inside the important leg of a UEFA Europa League tie.

Sevilla: Los Nervionenses host Mallorca on Saturday, Feb. eleven (stream dwell on ESPN+ at 12:30 p.m. ET).


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