FC Barcelona

Barcelona hand opportunity to Real Madrid after Sevilla stalemate


After their emphatic 3-0 win over Valencia on Thursday, Madrid will move level on points with Barca if they beat Real Sociedad on Sunday and go above the Catalans due to their superior record head-to-head.


Sevilla, in third, and Valencia, in eighth, always looked capable of shifting the dynamic at the top of the table, with Madrid capitalising to climb back to the summit for the first time since they beat Barcelona on March 1.


They never really troubled Sevilla for any prolonged period and the closest Lionel Messi came to scoring the 700th goal of his career were a pair of free-kicks tipped over.


The sight of goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen jogging up for a late corner demonstrated how big a blow they considered dropping points to be.


Instead, Antoine Griezmann dropped to the bench, with Martin Braithwaite preferred in the front three alongside Messi and Luis Suarez, who made his first start since January after recovering from a knee injury.


The game opened up in the final 15 minutes as Jordi Alba made a crucial block to prevent Munir's pass setting up an easy finish in the middle.






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