Barcelona managed to break Sevilla’s resolve to defeat the Andalusian side 1-0 on Sunday night at Camp Nou, a result that saw the Blaugrana leapfrog their guests and climb to second in the La Liga table.

“As for LaLiga, as long as it’s mathematically possible, we will keep fighting,” manager Xavi Hernandez said after the match. “We’re going to try. It’s unlikely that Madrid slip up so much, but we will give everything until the end.”

Sevilla were decidedly second best for much of the contest, but their resolution kept their hosts off the board. After a scoreless first half, Barca began to tilt the pitch in their favour in the second half, creating chance after chance but without any luck.

Eventually, the breakthrough came, in the 72nd minute, from the right foot of Pedri. The 19-year-old midfielder feigned two shorts, coaxing defenders to leave their feet, before finally threading an inch-perfect 18-yard finish into the far corner.

“The goal was similar to the one I scored in Turkey (against Galatasaray),” Pedri said. “I saw the leg coming so I feigned (the shot), and once I shot, I knew it was heading in.”

Xavi was effusive in his praise of the Spain international, likening Pedri’s attributes to those of the coach’s when he wore the armband for the Blaugrana.

“A supreme player. When I say that, I mean there aren’t many people that understand how we play like he does,” Xavi said. “And what a goal he scored. He makes the difference. It’s spectacular watching him play, and he’s only 19. There are no comparisons.

“I encourage him to shoot more, but he’s a passer. He’s thinking about the next pass, the final pass, the decisive pass. I was a little bit the same. He doesn’t realise sometimes you have to try your luck, because he’s got a good shot on him. And he scored a great goal today.”

Barcelona are next in action on Thursday, when they resume their Europa League campaign at Eintracht Frankfurt. Sevilla will host Granada a day later in La Liga.

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Courtesy: ESPN FC

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