FC Barcelona (0) vs (2) Sevilla FC
Competition/Round: 2020-21 Copa del Rey, Semi-Finals, Leg 2
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Ansu Fati, Philippe Coutinho, Sergi Roberto (out), Miralem Pjanic, Ronald Araujo, Pedri (doubt)
Sevilla Outs & Doubts: Marcos Acuña, Lucas Ocampos (out)
Date/Time: Wednesday, March 3, 2021, 9pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 8pm GMT (UK), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 1.30am IST (India, Thursday)
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: José María Sánchez Martínez
VAR: Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea
How to watch on TV: Premier Sports 1 (UK), Startimes World Football (Nigeria), Cuatro (Spain), ESPN Brasil (Brazil), others
How to stream: ESPN+ (USA), Premier Player (UK), others
Following a great away win in La Liga against Sevilla at the weekend, Barcelona return to action to face Sevilla for the second time in four days, but this one will be at the Greatest Stadium on Earth with a spot in the Copa del Rey Final at stake.
Back in early February, Barça played an awful semi-final first leg and were beaten pretty comfortably by Sevilla who defended well and cruised to a 2-0 win. Barça had a big shout for a late penalty denied by the referee and VAR, and not getting an away goal makes this a huge challenge for the Blaugrana.
But the win on Saturday provided a lot of encouragement, with a change of formation and a lot of intensity leading to a 2-0 victory that could have been bigger, and if the same score is repeated on Wednesday night the tie will go to extra-time.
It’s hard to see the game playing out exactly as it did on Saturday, however, and for this reason: Sevilla have a two-goal lead and don’t need to win like they did at the weekend. Julen Lopetegui’s side can sit back, rely on their excellent defense and have quick forwards who can create danger on the counter, especially if they get isolated against what is expected to once again be a Barça back three.
Barça will have to take risks and an early goal would be a huge help, and based on the quality of chances created in Seville the Catalans can absolutely find at least two goals to come back in this tie. It’s all about their ability to defend and how long they can keep up the intensity levels shown on Saturday. They can do it, but it needs to be another near perfect performance.
Barcelona (3-5-2): Ter Stegen; Mingueza, Piqué, Lenglet; Dest, De Jong, Busquets, Pedri, Alba; Messi, Dembélé
Sevilla (4-3-3): Bono; Navas, Koundé, Carlos, Rekik; Gudelj, Fernando, Rakitic; Suso, En-Nesyri, Gómez
I know Barça will put up a heck of a fight, but I worry too much about Sevilla’s ability to get at least one good chance on the counter: 2-1 Barça, and maybe a late heartbreak. Sorry.