Barcelona 1-1 Sevilla: Coutinho on target as Koeman's side drop first points
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Barcelona 1-1 Sevilla: Coutinho on target as Koeman’s side drop first points

Barcelona had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Sevilla despite Philippe Coutinho quickly cancelling out Luuk de Jong’s early opener in Sunday’s LaLiga clash.

The two sides entered the match with 100 per cent records from their opening two league matches this term, and there was little to separate them at Camp Nou.

Sevilla opened the scoring inside eight minutes when De Jong thumped the ball past Neto – the first goal Barca have conceded this season – but Coutinho profited from Jesus Navas’ error 105 seconds later to level things up.

Ronald Koeman’s men were put under a lot of pressure in the second half and survived a scare as Ronald Araujo hit his own crossbar, but in the end the contest finished level.

Sevilla, now winless in 18 LaLiga trips to Barcelona, had gone ahead through De Jong’s strike after Suso’s left-sided cross was headed down into the forward’s path.

Coutinho responded instantly for Barca with a simple finish after Navas inadvertently set him up, having attempted to cut out Lionel Messi’s pass to Jordi Alba.

Antoine Griezmann prodded wide from a promising opportunity and Ansu Fati, beaten too easily in the build-up to the visitors’ opener, tested Yassine Bounou from further out.

After Diego Carlos nearly scored an own goal, Araujo – filling in for the suspended Clement Lenglet in defence – did likewise at the other end, diverting a low cross against the bar.

Jules Kounde twice sent headers wide and Youssef En-Nesyri perhaps could have done better with a headed opportunity of his own, as Sevilla looked for the rarest of wins in this fixture.

The hosts also had a late chance, yet Trincao, brought on in place of Griezmann, was unable to get the better of Bounou when racing through on goal.

What does it mean? Winning runs come to an end

Barcelona beat Villarreal and Celta Vigo without conceding in their first two matches of the Koeman era, though this was always going to be their toughest test yet.

That proved to be the case, with an in-form Sevilla – unbeaten inside 90 minutes since February – holding their own in terms of possession and edging the shot count (13 to 12).

Kounde involved at both ends

It is easy to see why the Sevilla defender is so highly coveted by teams around Europe.

He completed more passes (77) than any player on the pitch and did not concede a single foul. Perhaps more impressively, considering Messi was on the field, nobody bettered his three attempts.

Navas gifts equaliser to Coutinho

The versatile full-back claimed an assist in Sevilla’s first two league games and he set up another goal here – albeit for the opposition.

At full stretch in an attempt to intercept a searching Messi pass towards Alba, Jesus knocked the ball into Coutinho’s path and the Barca playmaker had an easy finish.

What’s next?

ajike

Ajike is one of Nigeria's top Sportscasters with over 15 years of experience in writing and talking Sports.

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