In a surprising twist, La Liga leader Barcelona loses an early 2-0 lead to let Sevilla catch up and end their match Saturday with a 2-2 draw.
Forward Lionel Messi opened scoring for Barcas when he netted the first goal in the 14th minute of the match. Neymar then followed suit with a goal of his own in the half hour mark. However, Sevilla managed to come back in the game seven minutes later, thanks to midfielder Ever Banega’s goal. And with the clock ticking just six minutes before time, Sevilla forward Kevin Gameiro managed to sink in an equaliser to9 force a draw.
During the post-game interviews, Barcelona manager Luis Enrique brushed off assertions that his team had been complacent during the second half after establishing a two-point lead. “I do not believe we eased off,” he stressed. “We paid dearly for three or five minutes in first half, when we lost control of the game. And allowed a shot from long range from Banega.”
Enrique went on to say that his team and Sevilla were still evenly matched by the second half. “In the second half neither team was superior, we had chances to score a third, but the feeling was we could concede in any moment. I do not feel the players became overconfident, as they know how difficult it is to come here.”
He also said that they were very much in control during the first half, pressuring Sevilla. “It is a pity that in three minutes we started to lose control, and we conceded the 1-2 which was big goal in the game,” he lamented.
When asked how the loss would affect their chances of retaining the leadership in the La Liga table, Enrique refused to comment. “I am not interested in percentages or mathematics,” the manager said. “This is a league of 38 games. After 31 games we remain leaders, after playing one of toughest teams. They played very well, with lots of intensity, you can see they are a very well coached team.”
Barcelona’s draw means they are now just two points ahead of second-place Real Madrid, who pulled of a 3-0 win against Eibar on the same day.