Barcelona have now tied the Spanish record for consecutive unbeaten matches after a 2-1 win against Sevilla at Camp Nou, thanks to goals from Lionel Messi, Gerard Piqué, with Vitolo scoring for the visitors. In a difficult match, the Blaugrana had to come back after a slow start, but ultimately prevailed and reached 34 straight games without a loss, equaling the record previously held by Real Madrid. More importantly, the Catalans remain eight points above Atlético Madrid, getting even closer to the La Liga title.
Barça had another slow start, which has become a trend this season. With lack of pace and creativity in possession, they just couldn't find spaces in the opposing defense, and their only chance came when Messi hit the post with a direct corner-kick, and Suárez followed it up with a rocket to the crossbar. Other than that, however, there were no real opportunities created in the initial minutes.
Sevilla, on the other hand, were always dangerous on the counter, mainly through the flanks, and also used set pieces to scare the Catalans. And after a mistake by the right side of the Barça defense, Tremoulinas had space on the left wing to find a perfect cross to Vitolo, who opened the scoring with a nice finish.
After the goal, Barça finally upped the tempo and started to play better in search of the equalizer. We saw better passing and movement from the players, especially the 'MSN' trio, and it showed when Neymar made a great individual play and found Suárez, who was fouled on the edge of the box by Rami. Messi completed the job by taking a spectacular free-kick to the top corner to tie the game.
At halftime, an improved game from Barça in the final minutes, and the promise of more goals in the final period.
The goal came. Fast. Just three minutes in, after a sensational combination between Messi and Suárez, the Uruguayan saw Gerard Piqué open in front of the goal and gave him the goal. The center-back didn't disappoint and scored the second for Barça.
Instead of dominating the game after the goal, however, Barça couldn't remain as intense and sharp as before. Sevilla improved a great deal thanks to Unai Emery's smart substitutions, and the visitors went forward, getting into dangerous areas, especially through the right side of the Blaugrana defense. But Barça were good enough to stop the Sevillistas before they could get any real chances, and eventually kept the ball in the final minutes to avoid any more problems.
In the end, a performance far from brilliant, but efficient enough to see off a difficult adversary and stay at the top of the table with a giant advantage over Atlético Madrid. Not too bad.
Barcelona: Bravo; Vidal (Alves), Piqué, Mathieu, Alba; Busquets, Roberto (Rakitic), Arda (Iniesta); Messi, Suárez, Neymar
Goals: Messi (31'), Piqué (48')
Sevilla: Rico; Coke, Rami, Kolodziejczak, Tremoulinas; N'Zonzi, Cristóforo (Konoplyanka); Vitolo, Iborra (Muñoz), Krohn-Dehli; Gameiro
Goal: Vitolo (19')