Philippe Coutinho found the net as Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Sevilla, who backed up suggestions they could challenge for the title with an impressive showing.
It took Julen Lopetegui’s side just eight minutes to open the scoring when a Suso cross caused mayhem in the Barca box, with the ball falling to Luuk de Jong who fired high into the roof of Neto’s net despite the goalkeeper getting a touch.
Barcelona responded almost immediately, though. A Jesus Navas interception from a Lionel Messi pass inadvertently fell into the path of Coutinho and the Brazilian finished to put the Catalans back on level terms after just 10 minutes.
Sevilla struck the woodwork in the second half when Ronald Araujo deflected a Youssef En-Nesyri pass up on to the crossbar with Neto beaten. Sergino Dest was also given his Barca debut after an injury to Jordi Alba, but neither side could find a winner as they were forced to settle for a point apiece.
TALKING POINT - This was proof Sevilla are for real this season
There has been a lot of talk in Spain recently over whether Sevilla might challenge for the title this season. Lopetegui’s side are a well coached and well balanced side and this match was an illustration of that, with Sevilla more than matching Barcelona over the full 90 minutes. De Jong found the net, but if they could find a reliable goalscorer the Andalusians would surely be considered among the frontrunners.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona)
Not so long ago, Coutinho’s Barcelona career looked to be as good as over, but Ronald Koeman has integrated the Brazilian back into the squad at the Camp Nou. Coutinho is crucial to the way Barca now play in their new 4-2-3-1 shape and this was another demonstration of what he offers, equalising for the Catalans after 10 minutes. Coutinho is finally showing why Barcelona signed him in the first place.
Barcelona: Neto 6, Roberto 5, Pique 5, Araujo 7, Alba 6, de Jong 6, Busquets 7, Griezmann 5, Coutinho 8, Fati 5, Messi 6. Subs - Pjanic 5, Dest 6, Trincao 6, Pedri 7.
Sevilla: Bono 7, Acuna 6, Carlos 6, Kounde 7, Navas 5, Jordan 5, Fernando 7, Rakitic 6, Ocampos 6, Suso 6, de Jong 7. Subs - Torres 5, Gudelj 5, Munir 5, Fernandez 6, En-Nesyri 6.
8’ GOAL! Barcelona 0-1 Sevilla: Sevilla have an early lead at the Camp Nou! Barcelona are caught out by the short corner, Suso gets the cross into the middle, the ball bounces around the penalty area and falls at the feet of de Jong who fires a shot into the roof of the net!
10’ GOAL! Barcelona 1-1 Sevilla: An instant response from Barcelona who have found a quickfire equaliser! Messi played a pass to the right wing, Navas made an interception, but the ball ended up in front of Coutinho and the Brazilian playmaker found the back of the net from inside the box!
65’ Off the crossbar! Barcelona rescued by the woodwork. En-Nesyri drove to the byline, he cut back the pass, it took a wicked deflection off Araujo and bounced up on to the Barca crossbar!
Sergino Dest became the first American to play a competitive game for Barcelona and the fifth to play in La Liga after Kasey Keller, Jozy Altidore, Shaquell Moore and Oguchi Onyewu.
This result ended Sevilla’s run of 10 consecutive defeats to Barcelona at the Camp Nou.