Ivan Rakitic scored against his old team as Sevilla beat Barcelona 2-0 on Wednesday to put one foot in the Copa del Rey final.
Rakitic struck Sevilla's second at the Sanchez Pizjuan in the 85th-minute to give his side a handsome advantage going into the second leg of this semi-final tie at Camp Nou in March. Centre-back Jules Kounde had earlier opened the scoring in the first half, brilliantly driving forward from defence before firing past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Barca had their chances on the night but couldn't beat goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, who made three stunning saves to keep out Lionel Messi.
Barcelona will have home advantage in the second leg and have overturned bigger deficits in the past. By the time the second leg is played, they will also hope to have a healthier squad, as they were missing eight players through injury for this one.
The goals given away were once again cheap. Kounde was allowed to bounce through the midfield for Sevilla's first too comfortably before blitzing past Samuel Umtiti with ease. Umtiti was again at fault for the second goal, as the French defender was caught out trying to play a high line, slipping in the process and handing Rakitic a free run on goal. The other disappointing thing about the second goal was how open Barca left themselves -- an away goal would have been nice but they didn't need to go all out for it. It was poor tie management.
Seeing some of the defending -- Sergi Esudero could also have scored for Sevilla -- Paris Saint-Germain will be licking their lips ahead of Tuesday's Champions League game at Camp Nou.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Ronald Koeman's hands were tied due to injuries and he was forced to play a left-back at right-back and a B team centre-back alongside the injury-prone Umtiti. However, he reacted late with his substitutes to change the game and left his side too open considering there was a second leg to come.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 6 -- Not at fault for either goal and made a good save from Escudero just before the break.
DF Junior Firpo, 5 -- Asked to play on his weaker side so naturally was unable to have any real impact on the game. Rakitic's goal came from his side.
DF Oscar Mingueza, 6 -- Better at centre-back than right-back. Was confident carrying the ball forward and feeding passes between the lines.
DF Samuel Umtiti, 4 -- Should have stood up better to Kounde for the first goal and played Rakitic onside for the second.
DF Jordi Alba, 6 -- Made a brilliant recovery to stop Suso on the break in the first half. Linked well with Messi and Pedri and looked to have won a second-half penalty, only for the referee to give a free kick outside the box.
MF Sergio Busquets, 6 -- Worked hard and organised Barca's press but wasn't at his best on the ball.
MF Frenkie de Jong, 6 -- Unable to reach full steam due to Sevilla's clever (and occasionally dirty) game plan in midfield.
MF Pedri, 6 -- Like De Jong, wasn't afforded the space he excels in, although he was active throughout the game and worked well with Messi.
FW Ousmane Dembele, 7 -- Barca's biggest threat at times due to his ability to beat a man. A couple of wicked corners nearly caught Bounou by surprise, and he also delivered some dangerous crosses. Unfortunately, no one got on the end of them.
FW Antoine Griezmann, 5 -- Wasn't at his best. Didn't make the runs his teammates expected and, outside of a good early pass to Messi, didn't contribute enough in the final third.
FW Lionel Messi, 7 -- Came close to scoring three times but was denied by the brilliant Bounou, including one incredible save from a late free kick.
MF Riqui Puig, N/R -- Came on for the final five minutes.
FW Francisco Trincao, N/R -- Replaced Umtiti in stoppage time.