Barcelona vs Sevilla – preview
For the second time in five days, Barcelona are gearing up to face Sevilla, this time locking horns in the Copa del Rey. The Camp Nou will be the venue for this 3 p.m. ET clash as the Catalan giants aim to overturn the first leg deficit in order to win this semi-final tie.
Unlike their league encounter on Saturday where the Blaugrana simply needed to win, Messi and Co. have a steep hill to climb this time around. Having lost 2-0 at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium in the first leg of the Copa del Rey's penultimate stage, the Spanish giants have to overturn the aggregate score line first and foremost.
Goals from Jules Kounde and former Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic put Los Hispalenses in the driving seat to make the final where they could face either Levante or Athletic Club. The visitors haven't conceded a single in this competition all season, which is a worrying stat for Koeman's men, but Sevilla's recent form gives the hosts hope of completing a turnaround.
Lopetegui's men have lost two of their last three games across all competitions and had a six-match winning streak in La Liga until Barcelona brought that to an end in Saturday's 2-0 defeat, the exact scoreline the Blaugrana need to overturn the first-leg deficit.
Goals from Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi earned the Catalans a deserved victory, moving them level on points with Real Madrid – but ahead in the standings due to a superior goal difference. However, given that Atletico Madrid are five points ahead with a game in hand, the odds of Koeman's side catching the league leaders are slim, meaning the Copa del Rey could be their only shot at silverware this season – they are all but out of the UEFA Champions League after losing 4-1 in the 1st leg vs PSG.
When asked if a comeback was possible, the Camp Nou tactician stressed the importance of not conceding, saying in his pre-match press conference: "We know that a 2-0 against us is difficult to overcome but there are options. We have demonstrated for some time now that the team is hungry, and the team is mentally ready to take on difficult tasks. Of course we need more effectiveness than we have shown recently. But we have our chances, we've created more opporunities than our opponents. If this happens again then I just hope we can be more efficient and keep a clean sheet which is vital."
Fortunately for Barca, they've kept clean sheets in their last two outings, including the win over Sevilla. They are unbeaten in their last 15 league matches and have captain Lionel Messi back in form, with the Argentine scoring for fun since the new calendar year began. All of this should make for an interesting showdown!
Barcelona: The Blaugrana picked up two unfortunate injuries in the win over Sevilla, with Ronald Araujo and Pedri being forced off the pitch after picking up knocks. The latter could feature as the young midfielder made a miraculous return. Coutinho, Fati, and Roberto remain on the sidelines.
Sevilla: The visitors will unfortunately be without the services of Marcos Acuna and Lucas Ocampos. Oliver Torres, Youssef En-Nesyri, and Suso will be vying for starts in Wednesday's semi-final.
Barcelona have won five of their last six home clashes with Sevilla but were held to a draw in their most recent Camp Nou encounter.
Los Hispalenses have won only two of their last 19 meetings with the Blaugrana.
Sevilla haven't won any of their last 15 trips to Camp Nou (D2, L13). However, En-Nesyri and Co. do not need a victory to seal their spot in the final.
Lionel Messi is the joint-top scorer in 2021, netting 14 times and assisting another four in 14 appearances.
Speaking of Leo, Sevilla are the Argentine's favorite opponent, scoring 38 times and assisting 19 in 42 encounters with their midweek rivals.
Match details, result and original broadcast info
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