Sevilla win offers Barcelona renewed hope

It was, by a distance, Barca’s best performance of the season.

Heading into the match at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan, although the Catalans were on a credible winning streak away from home in La Liga, they were up against a Sevilla side that hadn’t conceded a goal in five league games.

What’s more, Barca were well beaten just a couple of weeks before at the same venue in the Copa del Rey.Coincidentally, the second leg of that tie is the very next game. A winner takes all tie.

Had Barcelona lost on Saturday, they’d surely be approaching Wednesday’s match with trepidation, but now it’s the Andalusians that will be thinking twice before bombing forward.

Of course, with Barca unable to score an away goal in Seville, one for the visitors at Camp Nou would require the hosts to then go on and score four without reply.

It isn’t beyond the blaugranes, although, with respect, this Barca side really need to have a bit more about them.

If they play as they did on Saturday, there’s a chance they can go through, particularly when you consider that Sergino Dest hit the post, Leo Messi blazed over when well placed and Bono, Sevilla’s keeper, had to pull off a string of saves. On another day, they would’ve had four or five.

It certainly sets the scene nicely, with Ronald Koeman looking to win the cup for the first time since 2008 when he coached Valencia.

Whether or not Barca do go through to the final of a competition they’ve dominated over the last decade, they’ve given themselves a chance of getting back into the league title conversation.

Had they not blown it against Cadiz, they would’ve found themselves level with Atletico Madrid at the top, albeit that the Rojiblancos would’ve had two games in hand.

With the Madrid derby to come next weekend, depending on the result, Barca may be well positioned to eventually take full advantage.

They also have to play both Madrid sides, Real at the Santiago Bernabeu and Atleti at Camp Nou. There’s still a long way to go and those results won’t necessarily be decisive, however, by beating their nearest rivals, it would put a marker down and keep the title alive for another week.

During Koeman’s time at Barca as a player, he won two league titles on the last day of the season. What price a very unique hat-trick?

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