Pedri’s stunning goal was all Barcelona needed to secure a 1-0 victory against Sevilla in La Liga at the Nou Camp as the race for a coveted Champions League spot continues.
The opening 20 minutes saw Barcelona start well, with Xavi’s side looking lively. Ousmane Dembele looked especially bright on the right flank, consistently causing problems for Karim Rekik.
Sevilla grew into the match as Erik Lamela and Jesus Navas both attempted to try and get the better of Jordi Alba and Gerard Pique with long balls into Anthony Martial and Lucas Ocampos.
Both sides felt that they had claims for a penalty, with Martial’s pass being hit at Ronald Araujo, and minutes later, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being brought down in the box by Jules Kounde. However, the referee waved away both incidents.
In the second half, Barcelona were much better at breaking down Sevilla’s deep block, and the deadlock was broken after a great piece of skill from Pedri.
The 19-year-old was patient on the ball, waiting for a gap to open up before taking a shot into the far post, making it extremely difficult for Bono to make the save.
Late drama in the match saw Gerard Pique lucky to remain on the pitch. His tackle towards the last man was only given a yellow despite the protests of the Sevilla players. Instead, the referee gave yellows to Jesus Manuel Corona, and Gonzalo Montiel for dissent, as well as a red to Julien Lopetegui’s assistant.
The win means that Barca jump up to second, behind rivals Real Madrid. Up next, they will travel to Germany to take on Eintracht Frankfurt in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-finals.
Sevilla drop to fourth, and they’ll be hoping that they can get three points against Granada next week, as it will be key for them to maintain a Champions League spot.
TALKING POINT: BARCA GROWING INTO THE MATCH
Sevilla have proved this season how tough they are to break down, and the first half certainly showed that. However, Barcelona were patient and were able to tire the Sevilla players, which meant that the visitors’ defensive shape slowly began to show more gaps. Before Pedri’s goal, the home side had several opportunities to score, and they’ll take that as a positive heading into the final few matches of the season.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: OUSMANE DEMBELE
The Frenchman was getting jeered and booed in Barcelona mere weeks ago, and somehow he’s managed to turn it around. All of Bara’s attacks went through the winger, and his ability to consistently get by Rekik and Diego Carlos shows his quality. Sevilla, who have conceded the least amount of goals in La Liga this season, struggled to contain him, with three successful dribbles, two shots, seven key passes, two big chances created, and an assist for him on the night.
A special mention to Bono, who made five saves. Barcelona certainly would have run riot had he not been between the sticks.
BARCA: Ter Stegen 7, Dani Alves 7, Araujo 7, Pique 6, Alba 7, De Jong 6, Busquets 7, Pedri 8, Dembele 9*, Aubameyang 6, Torres 6… Subs: Gavi 6, Gonzalez N/A, Depay 6.
SEVILLA: Bono 8, Navas 6, Carlos 7, Kounde 7, Rekik 5, Rakitic 6, Gudelj 6, Jordan 6, Lamela 6, Martial 5, Ocampos 5… Subs: Montiel 6, Augustinsson 7, Corona 6, En-Nesyri 7, Mir 6.
48’ – SEVILLA GREAT CHANCE! Ocampos makes a great run, and his pass lands (accidentally) to Lamela to take the shot, forcing a good save from Ter Stegen on his right.
69’ – PIQUE ATTEMPTS A SHOT: The centre-back’s shot takes a deflection, leaving Bono to scramble low to make sure he doesn’t concede. The resulting corner sees Pique’s header hit the bar! Barca pushing forward, and creating more chances now.
72’ – GOAL! BARCELONA 1-0 SEVILLA: Pedri twists once, and then again, waiting for the opportunity to find the gap. His piece of skill is followed by the shot that’s at the far post, making it super difficult for Bono to make the save.
86’ – LOTS OF DRAMA IN THE DYING MINUTES: Pique gets a yellow after stopping a clear goalscoring chance. He gets quite lucky there. Sevilla players protest, thinking he should be sent off, but the referee instead gives yellows to Montiel and Corona, and then a red to Lopetegui’s assistant!