Barcelona 1-1 Sevilla: Philippe Coutinho steps up to spare Ronald Koeman his first defeat as Nou Camp boss after Luuk de Jong stunned Lionel Messi and Co with early opener
- Philippe Coutinho got a decisive goal to prevent Barcelona from losing at home
- Sevilla started the stronger and went ahead courtesy of Luuk de Jong’s effort
- Ronald Koeman’s side rallied and Coutinho finished off a well-worked move
Ronald Koeman dropped his first points as Barcelona coach as Sevilla held his team 1-1 at the Nou Camp.
Philippe Coutinho equalised Luuk de Jong’s opener in an explosive opening to the game. But Barcelona couldn’t finish off their impressive opponents and the point-a-piece left Madrid three points clear at the top.
‘I want to achieve big things at this club,’ said Coutinho, who has now marked his good start to the season with a goal.
Sevilla had taken the lead on seven minutes when Luuk de Jong lashed a loose ball past Neto after Suso’s hanging cross had only been half-cleared.
Coutinho equalised for Barcelona on 10 minutes. Lionel Messi’s long ball over the top for Jordi Alba was cut out by Jesus Navas but his clearance ran to the Brazilian who swept it past Bono.
Sevilla were bright after the restart and almost retook the lead on the hour when substitute Youseff En-Nesyri’s cross-shot was diverted on to the frame of the goal by Ronald Araujo.
Ivan Rakitic, playing back at the Camp Nou after leaving Barcelona this summer, sent a curling shot just over.
En-Nesyri was given another chance when Navas swung over a deep cross from the right and he headed just over. Barcelona were on the back foot and they were soon without a left-back.
Jordi Alba hobbled off and Sergiño Dest came on for his debut. The 19-year-old right-back signed from Ajax last week was not expecting his first taste of action to be this soon, nor for it to be on the left.
Coutinho and Rakitic were both taken off with 15 minutes left as both Julen Lopetegui – serving a touchline suspension in the stands – and Koeman looked for the winner.
It was Messi who next went close with a shot from distance that Bono got down well to his left to save. If a Messi shot was to be expected with Barcelona chasing the game the next chance brought something far less expected – Sergio Busquets charged down the left and crossed for Frenkie de Jong to finish from the edge of the six-yard box with a shot that was blocked wide.
The Barça chances reinforced Sevilla’s desire to take a point from a fixture they traditionally take nothing from – they had lost the last 10 and not won any of the last 18 at the Camp Nou.
Luuk de Jong could be seen calming his team-mates down from the stands after he was taken off. That didn’t stop former Manchester City target Jules Kounde sprinting forward in the 89th minute hoping to be played in but he was denied a late winner.
When the board went up for five minutes of added time both teams looked to be running on empty but Messi found a final burst and teed up Francisco Trincao whose shot was saved by Neto. He then took a pass from Busquets but Diego Carlos’ prevented him getting his shot away.
The big centre-back who made a habit of giving away spot-kicks during Sevilla’s successful Europa League run got as much on Messi as the ball but despite some brief VAR-referee consultation match official Jesus Gil waved play on. It would have been harsh for Sevilla to concede so late. They deserved their point.
For Koeman there were more signs of progress, and more reminders that the new Barcelona will take time to build.