Paco Alcacer Two goals helps Barca to victory on Messi's big day

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Alcacer & messi
Alcacer was in fine form on his return to the Barca starting line-up

Going into the game, it is fair to say that the stats weren’t on Sevilla’s side, with the Andalusians having only won three games at the Camp Nou since it opened in 1957.
It was easy to see why early on as Barca laid siege to the Sevilla goal. Messi was heavily involved early on, seeing a low effort from just inside the box unconvincingly palmed away by David Soria, before teeing up Sergio Busquets for a free effort at goal from six yards, only for the rangy defensive midfielder to see his effort blocked on the line.
Luis Suarez saw an attempted lob foiled by Soria just seconds later, before Ivan Rakitic fizzed an effort wide from range.
Barca dominated the first half but there were given a reminder of Sevilla’s threat after 14 minutes when Samuel Umtiti presented the ball to Luis Muriel 30 yards from goal. The Colombian drove goalwards before taking aim from the edge of the box but his effort flew just wide of the far post.
Normal service was resumed at that point though and the hosts continued to dominate. Andres Iniesta fired just wide from the edge of the box before Paco Alcacer, restored to the starting line-up for the first time in two and a half months, headed Rakitic’s centre over the bar.
The former Valencia man made no mistake shortly afterwards though as he gave Barca the lead with 23 minutes on the clock. Sergio Escudero failed to cut out Luis Suarez’s ball from deep allowing Alcacer to race through and slot past Soria form just inside the box.
The striker could have doubled his tally for the night shortly afterwards but his attempted back-heel failed to connect with Rakitic’s cushioned centre.
The tempo of the game slowed down at this point at Barca struggled to maintain their early onslaught but they more than deserved to go in at the break ahead.
However, a 1-0 lead was by no means a stable one and Sevilla came out fighting in the second 45.
Muriel fired over from range a the visitors refused to throw in the towel and they got their reward for a much-improved start to the second half on the hour mark.
Nelson Semedo made a great challenge to deny Paulo Sarabia down the left when he looked set to level things, but from the resulting corner Ever Banega swung the ball in and Guido Pizarro powered a header into the far corner to restore parity.
That goal only served to anger the hosts who almost hit back immediately when Gerard Pique thundered an effort against the bar from range.
Barca weren’t made to wait too long in their search for a response though as Alcacer once again found the net. Rakitic found space down the right and his cross was inch-perfect for the former Valencia man who stole in ahead of Soria to prod his side back in front.
The home side could have had a penalty after 69 minutes when excellent work form Messi found Suarez on the right, only for his effort to be blocked away by the hand of Lenglet. The Uruguayan looked immediately to the referee, who was unmoved.
Messi then saw a low effort from 18 yards shoveled away by Soria as he looked to mark his big day with a goal but in the end he was forced to settle for the three points as Barca maintained their four-point lead over Valencia in second ahead of the international break.

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