The international break with its twists and turns has come to an end. The FIFA world cup 2022 draws is done, and club football is back. Ivan Rakitic returns to the newly named Spotify Camp Nou, his once beloved home, for this huge game. Barcelona and Sevilla are the only La Liga teams with an unbeaten record in 2022. Sevilla are unbeaten in their last 15 La Liga outings, but they have won just two of their previous nine games, drawing seven. The Andalusians are chasing their highest league finish since 1957 with a hopeful eye on the La Liga trophy.
Julen Lopetegui’s side would be wary of the threat Xavi’s rejuvenated Barcelona side now carry. The Catalans are also unbeaten in their last 12 games, and a win would see them leapfrog Sevilla and Atletico Madrid and move up to second, albeit tied on points but with a game in hand. Barcelona have not lost at home to Sevilla for two decades, a run stretching back to 2002. They have also avoided defeat at home or away in their last 12 meetings.
Two weeks ago, Barcelona produced a spectacular display in the Classico where they destroyed Real Madrid by 4-0, and the Catalans were still brimming with confidence. They started on the front foot, determined to end Sevilla’s 15 games unbeaten run and extend theirs. Ferran Torres crafted a chance for himself in the eighth minute. He drove purposefully from inside from the left flank before firing over while Ousmane Dembele’s cross presented Frenkie DeJong with a chance, but the Dutchman failed to keep his header under the crossbar.
Sevilla survived Barca’s early onslaught and grew into the game more. However, they looked bereft of ideas when attacking. They showed why they have failed to score more than one goal in their last eight games. Bono ensured the Andalusians would go into the break level on scores after repelling Pierre Emerick Aubameyang’s effort on the stroke of halftime.
Barca dominated much of the first-half proceedings, and Marc Andre Ter Stegen was a mere spectator in the opening half. Eric Lamela called the German into action with a tame shot which was Sevilla’s first shot on target in the game. Proof that the Andalusians barely had a sniff in the first half. The Catalans regained control of the game, and Torres drew a smart save from Bono with a first-time strike before tipping Ronald Araujo’s header over the bar.
The hosts grew frustrated with Bono’s brilliance but remained undeterred in their quest and continued to put Los Nervionenses under pressure. Gerard Pique was the next to test the Moroccan international with a header. The Spaniard came agonizingly close but could only find the crossbar. Take nothing away from Bono. His brilliance kept Lopetegui’s side in the contest for 72 minutes. He deserved to keep a clean sheet, but golden boy Pedri had other plans. The eccentric prospect, slowly turning into a world-class star at a young age, showed nimble footwork to craft a chance for himself. The Spaniard sat two players down before finding the bottom corner with a well-placed shot.
Pedri’s sublime effort was enough to end Sevilla’s unbeaten run in the league while giving Barca their sixth consecutive victory and extending their unbeaten run to 13 matches.