An unfortunate own goal from Real Madrid legend Sergio Ramos was enough to earn Barcelona a narrow win over Sevilla on Friday.
The win sees Barcelona leapfrog Girona and Real Madrid to go top of theLa Liga table, with the aforementioned pair set to face off against one another on Saturday.
Barcelona's extremely attacking formation — Xavi Hernandez opted to play a midfield three of Gavi, Ilkay Gundogan and Raphinha (yes, that Raphinha) — almost paid dividends early in the game when surprise central midfielder Raphinha played a sharp pass into the feet of Joao Felix on the left of the penalty area. After controlling the ball, Felix saw a well struck shot saved by Orjan Nyland in the Sevilla goal.
While Raphinha was proving to be effective in the final third, in the defensive third the Brazilian was clearly less comfortable. Raphinha's misplaced pass in the defensive third almost cost his side on the quarter of an hour mark, with the poor use of the ball culminating in ex-Barca man Ivan Rakitic cannoning an effort goalward from 20-yards out — an effort that was well saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
In the 21st minute, Barca were next to come close to taking the lead through Felix. The loanee was found brilliantly by a deft through pass from fellow loanee Joao Cancelo but, with just the goalkeeper to beat, could only find the crossbar with his subsequent strike on goal.
The game continued to to and fro for the remainder of the first half, with Dodi Lubebakio forcing Ter Stegen into a smart save at his near post at one end on the half hour, and Raphinha seeing a volleyed effort from inside be gathered by Nyland in goal.
That volley would prove to be the last action of the game for Raphinha, who was quickly subbed off due to aRead on 90min.com