Barcelona falls 2-1 to Sevilla in Spanish league
MADRID (AP) Barcelona lost 2-1 at struggling Sevilla on Saturday, missing the chance to take the provisional lead in the Spanish league.
Striker Michael Krohn-Dehli scored in the 52nd and set up Vicente Iborra’s goal in the 58th to give Sevilla its first home win against Barcelona in eight years.
Neymar scored Barcelona’s lone goal by converting a 74th-minute penalty kick. Barcelona struck the post five times and was stopped by an outstanding performance by Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico.
”It was a game in which we had a lot of chances,” Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said. ”It’s almost unbelievable that we walk out of here with just one goal.”
The defending champions played with a depleted squad because of injuries, including to key players such as Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta. Sevilla also arrived without many of its regular starters because of injuries.
Barcelona remained with 15 points from seven rounds, dropping from second to third place in the standings ahead of Sunday’s games. Sevilla moved to 11th place with the victory in front of nearly 40,000 fans at its Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.
Sevilla had lost four of its first five league games before earning its first victory against Rayo Vallecano last week.
”We needed a victory like this, especially against Barcelona,” Rico said. ”We played better than they did. The three points come at a good time, we needed the result.”
It was Barcelona’s second loss in the last three rounds, both coming in away matches. It fell 4-1 to second-place Celta Vigo last week.
A victory on Saturday would have put the Catalan club in front of leader Villarreal, which plays Sunday at winless Levante and will be looking for a sixth successive league win.
”It hurts to lose a game like this,” Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic said. ”We had many opportunities but they scored in the first chance they had and increased the lead in the second. Sometimes it’s like this. We have to keep our heads up.”
Barcelona hadn’t lost at the Sanchez Pizjuan since the 2006-07 season, having won five of the last eight games in Sevilla.
It played better and had most of the chances throughout the match on Saturday, but Sevilla got off to a quick start in the second half and took the lead with two goals in six minutes.
Krohn-Dehli scored from inside the area after a low pass by Kevin Gameiro and, shortly afterward, the Denmark midfielder crossed in for Iborra to head in the second.
Neymar pulled one back for Barcelona with a low shot from the penalty spot after Sandro’s effort deflected off the arm of defender Benoit Tremoulinas inside the area.
Barcelona had an incredible scoring chance in the 23rd, but it was denied by the woodwork three times on the same play.
Neymar’s free kick struck the post and ricocheted off the goalkeeper’s back before hitting the post again, and the ball then rolled across the entire face of goal on top of the line without going in, curling away just at the last minute. Luiz Suarez got to the ball on the other side but his angled shot also struck the post.
Suarez had a goal disallowed for offside in the 22nd and struck the crossbar in the 38th with a lobbed effort over Rico. Sandro also hit the woodwork from close range in the 80th.
In other games Saturday, Granada drew Deportivo La Coruna 1-1, Sporting Gijon edged Espanyol 2-1, Eibar defeated Las Palmas 2-0 and 10-man Malaga beat Real Sociedad 3-1 for its first win of the season.
Fifth-place Atletico Madrid and fourth-place Real Madrid meet Sunday in an eagerly anticipated derby match at Atletico’s Vicente Calderon Stadium.
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