Sevilla 1-2 Barcelona: Lionel Messi orchestrates comeback in thrilling encounter

Barcelona moved to within two points of La Liga leaders Real Madrid after coming from behind to beat Sevilla 2-1 in a pulsating contest on Sunday night.Lionel Messi scored Barcelona’s first and created the second for Luis Suarez after Vitolo handed Sevilla a deserved lead.

Suarez’s winner ensured Barcelona became the first side this season to beat Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

The result leaves Sevilla in fifth, while Barcelona head into the international break in second behind Real, who won 3-0 earlier in the day thanks to a Gareth Bale brace.

A vociferous home crowd were spurred on by Sevilla’s blistering start, with Luciano Vietto forcing a smart save from Marc-Andreter Stegen early on.

And while Luis Suarez went close with an effort moments later, all the early pressure came from Sevilla, and they were rewarded for their efforts after 15 minutes.

Pablo Sarabia played the ball beyond Sergi Roberto for Vitolo to run on to, and the striker carried the ball into the box before stabbing it past Ter Stegen.

The hosts were happy to sit back and pose questions to Barcelona after taking the lead, with the visitors struggling to create any clear-cut chances.

Vitolo could have had his second later in the first half, but the Spaniard shot wide after Sevilla capitalised on a mistake when Barcelona attempted to play out from the back.

Moments after Vitolo’s chance, Barcelona made Sevilla pay – a typically flowing counter-attack saw Neymar shimmy past a couple of defenders before laying off to Messi, who calmly placed the ball beyond Sergio Rico from the edge of the area.

Questions were asked as to whether Ivan Rakitic was blocking Rico’s view from an offside position when Messi took his shot, but the goal stood and Barcelona headed into the break all-square.

It was Barcelona who shone in the second half, and a breathless 15-minute period saw Rakitic and Messi both go close.

Just after the hour-mark, Barcelona’s persistence paid off, with Messi bursting forward before picking out Suarez in the area, who finished coolly beyond the advancing Rico.

Suarez could have put the game beyond Sevilla on a couple of occasions, but Rico was on hand to prevent Barcelona from moving further ahead.

As the clock ticked towards 90, the yellow cards began to rack up for both sides – most notably for Messi, who was cautioned for time-wasting after losing his boot following Steven N’Zonzi’s tackle.

The hosts failed to create a telling chance and Barcelona held on to claim all three points and end Sevilla’s 100 per cent record at home in the league this season.