While Messi Fails to Score in Controversial Barcelona Win, Rival Ronaldo Punishes Deportivo with Hat-trick
In atypical fashion, Barcelona were made to sweat for the second consecutive league match as they pulled off a controversial 3-2 defeat against Sevilla with two very late goals from Cesc Fábregas and David Villa.
The Catalan club started very poorly and were quickly behind to 1-0 to Piotr Trochowski’s well-taken goal in the 26th minute of the match. The Polish international brilliantly exploited regular defensive frailties epitomized by Tito Vilanova’s centre-back pairing of traditional midfielders, Javier Mascherano and Alex Song.
Trochowski and Álvaro Negredo, who scored to bring the match to 2-0 early in the second-half, made the most of Sevilla’s three shots on target to keep their side ahead and busy the Barcelona back-line before Fábregas pulled one back for the visitors with a brilliant shot to in the 52nd minute.
After the sending-off of Gary Medel in the 72nd minute for an absurd headbutt on an unusually theatrical Fábregas, Barca hit their stride and there was no looking back as Sevilla dropped deeper to protect their lead and gave space for Lionel Messi to work.
While the three-time FIFA World Player of the Year was strangely quiet during most of the match due to intense marking by the home side, he provided invaluable assists to Fabregas in the 89th and Villa in the 93rd minute to win the match for Barcelona.
The loss was very unfair for a resilient Sevilla and there will undoubtedly be questions asked of a poor referee who failed to see Thiago’s handball in the build-up to the tying goal.
But, more questions will be asked of Messi, who failed to score for the second-straight league match and was oftentimes invisible among Barcelona’s attacking players.
Especially, in light of the three-goals (two from penalties) scored by eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo in Real Madrid’s 5-1 demolition of Deportivo la Coruña.
The Portuguese international was at his very best and seems to have hit top-form just in time for the El Clásico against Barcelona next Sunday.
Barcelona, who have won six of the last eight meetings with Madrid in the league, will be unafraid at the Camp Nou and looking to restore a bruised reputation following this poor showing against Sevilla and last week’s late victory over Granada.
However, if Messi is not able to start getting on the score sheet or at least dominating matches with his piercing runs, then it might prove quite uncomfortable for the Catalans.