Messi Turns The Table

messiAll eyes were on Lionel Messi. Had he really lost his passion for football? Barcelona’s former assistant coach Angel Cappa had said so earlier this week following the Argentine’s patchy performance in the 3-2 defeat to Valencia last weekend. But on a wet and windy night in Seville, Messi proved his enthusiasm for the game remains very much intact.

Things didn’t start well. Messi dropped deep into midfield to look for the ball as Barcelona enjoyed the early possession but looked unlikley to do much with it.

And then Sevilla scored. Barca’s defending was all at sea and, although Alberto Moreno’s strike took a fortunate deflection to beat Victor Valdes, Ivan Rakitic had been allowed time and space to race into the area.

Things then almost got worse for the visitors as Sevilla struck the post before Unai Emery’s men wasted a wonderful opportunity on the counterattack, with Rakitic firing wide. After half an hour, Barca could have been three behind.

Meanwhile, Messi remained a peripheral figure. That soon changed, however, as he curled a delightful free kick into the path of Alexis Sanchez for the Chilean to head home – albeit from an offside position – to level the scores. Moments can change games and that looked like a significant one: afterwards, Sevilla were never quite the same, while Barca – and Messi – grew in stature.

Minutes later, the Argentine teed himself up on the edge of the box and struck a sweet left-footed drive into the corner to make it 2-1 at the interval.

Barca had barely been in it, but were somehow in front.

On the sidelines, Emery was furious. The Sevilla coach had seen a repetition of Barca’s first goal and told the assistant in no uncertain terms what he thought of the officiating.

But to no avail. Emery was probably fearing the worst when he heard Cappa tell Catalan radio this week that Messi had lost his passion for the game.

And 11 minutes into the second half, those fears were confirmed as the Argentine arched another sublime strike in off the post to make it 3-1. Two shots, two goals, an assist and a penalty appeal mistakenly turned down later on. It hardly looked like Messi had lost


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