Coach Luis Enrique did not surprise with his starting lineup choice. The Messi-less life calls for tactical changes, but it’s too soon to make a shocking alteration. But there were a few modifications, beginning with the return of Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, recovered from injury and back to his usual place as the league keeper. Sergi Robertostarted once again at right-back, with Munir El-Haddadi taking the place of Sandro Ramírez as the partner to Neymar Jr. and Luis Suárez.
It was an insane start. Both teams were alive and running like crazy, igniting plenty of counter-attacks and going forward with a lot of intensity. Barça lined up in a classic 4-4-2 formation, with Munir and Busquets moving to the flanks and leaving Neymar and Suárez as the lone strikers, especially without the ball. Sevilla had a lively start, with dangerous crosses that tested the returning Bravo, but he did well in his first minutes after four weeks away from the pitch. Without the creativity of Iniesta and Messi, Enrique decided to send his team running, and Barça’s counters were very dangerous, including chances from Munir and Suárez early on.
As time went on, the pace slowed down and the Blaugrana possession and position game started to appear, but with the lack of ideas in the midfield, no important chances were created. The counter-attack happened again, and Neymar won himself a free-kick. And then the unlucky plays began. The Brazilian played a beautiful ball to the post, the ball hit the goalkeeper’s back, hit the post again, rolled all the way through the line, and as Gerard Piqué failed to put the ball in, it fell to Suárez, who hit the post. /End/