Raphinha, Kessie shine as Barcelona put Real Madrid on heels

Barcelona scored 3 times in 21 minutes within the second half as they beat relegation-troubled Sevilla by 3-0 at Camp Nou on Sunday. With the win, Barca transfer eight factors clear on the high of the LaLiga desk forward of second-place Real 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 area that afforded them.

Raphinha created the second for Gavi after which added the third himself from Alba’s cross to finish the scoring and lengthen Barca’s profitable streak in all competitions to seven video games, their longest for the reason that 2019-20 season.

JUMP TO: Best/worst performers | Highlights & notable moments | Postgame quotes | Key stats | Upcoming fixtures

Rapid response

1. Barca open commanding lead on the high of LaLiga

Barca took full benefit of Real Madrid’s shock 1-0 loss at Mallorca earlier on Sunday to maneuver firmly into the motive force’s seat to win LaLiga. After a primary half by which they failed to interrupt down a Sevilla facet that sat deep, Barcelona opened the floodgates after the break.

Alba broke the impasse after an excellent move from Kessie, who had changed the injured Sergio Busquets earlier within the sport. That was the one draw back for Barca right here. With Manchester United within the Europa League across the nook — and Ousmane Dembele already injured — they may do with out dropping any extra gamers.

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Once within the lead, Barca started to take pleasure in themselves. Jules Kounde’s lengthy move discovered Raphinha within the seventieth minute and the Brazilian’s intelligent move arrange Gavi for the second. Raphinha accomplished the scoring himself after good work from Frenkie de Jong and Alba.

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

2. Signings Raphinha and Kessie get their second

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

It appeared prefer it might be one other inconsistent night for Raphinha within the first half, however he was good after the break. He was concerned in all three objectives and began to play like a participant with confidence. Sevilla couldn’t cease him for a brief interval of the sport.

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

3. Sevilla nonetheless in a scrap on the backside

Sevilla had gained three of their final 4 league video games earlier than their journey to Barcelona, however the way in which they capitulated after falling behind exhibits why they’re nonetheless locked in a relegation battle.

With a again 5, the primary half will need to have been some of the 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 0.22.

However, as soon as Alba opened the scoring, they utterly misplaced their method. Forced to search for an equaliser, they have been discovered wanting on the again again and again. In the tip, they may have conceded greater than three. Sevilla, who began the marketing campaign within the Champions League, appeared like what they’re: a workforce simply two factors away from the underside three.

Their three current wins have been in opposition to the groups presently within the relegation zone, Getafe, Cadiz and Elche. Beating these groups round them would be the key to staying within the division now and beginning afresh subsequent season.

Best and worst performers

Best: Raphinha, Barcelona

Came alive within the second half with a aim, an help and several other runs for his YouTube highlights reel.

Best: Jordi Alba, Barcelona

His crosses appeared like Barca’s greatest guess for a aim within the first half. Scored and assisted after the break.

Best: Franck Kessie, Barcelona

Perhaps his most vital efficiency since he joined from AC Milan final summer season.

Worst: Oliver Torres, Sevilla

Completed simply 10 passes within the first half and was taken off at halftime.

Worst: Nemanja Gudelj, Sevilla

The defender misplaced an aerial battle with Gavi within the first half and his method after Barça’s opener.

Worst: Ivan Rakitic, Sevilla

Lucky to remain on the pitch in opposition to his former membership for a late, crimson card-worthy problem on Ronald Araujo.

Highlights and notable moments

In the 58th minute, Barcelona scored a well-worked aim through Jordi Alba with a pleasant through-ball help from Franck Kessie.

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

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

The 18-year-old was in the correct spot to faucet in Raphinha’s cross.

Raphinha wasn’t content material to simply 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 stated

Post-match quotes will seem right here when obtainable. Check again shortly…

Key stats (offered by ESPN Stats & Information)

  • Barcelona have now gained seven straight video games throughout all competitions, their longest such streak for the reason that 2019-20 season.

  • The final time Barcelona led LaLiga by 8 or extra factors was the ultimate match day of 2018-19 season when it gained the title with 87 factors, 11 above Atlético Madrid (Real Madrid completed third with 68).

  • 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 objectives in final 12 video games after beginning the season with only one aim in his first 17 matches for Barcelona (all competitions).

  • Barcelona have failed to attain within the first half of their final 4 matches in all competitions (Barcelona’s opponents have additionally been unable to attain within the first half in that span).

Up subsequent

Barcelona: Barca head on the highway subsequent weekend to face Villarreal on Sunday, Feb. 12 (stream reside on ESPN+ at 3 p.m. ET). Then Barcelona host Manchester United within the first leg of a UEFA Europa League tie.

Sevilla: Los Nervionenses host Mallorca on Saturday, Feb. 11 (stream reside on ESPN+ at 12:30 p.m. ET).

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