Forgot Password

 

Register

 

Create your Connect ID

This will allow you to login to all DStv websites & applications




or
Login using
x

Email Reset

 




Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | Spain

Barcelona © Gallo Images

Stuttering Barca seek Sevilla boost



Barcelona have stumbled just as the season enters a critical phase but get a chance to return to winning ways and strengthen their grip on top spot when erratic Sevilla visit the Nou Camp in La Liga on Saturday.

Wednesday's shock 2-0 reverse at AC Milan, when the determined and well-organised Italians snuffed out Barca's normally lethal attacking threat, left Tito Vilanova's side in real danger of an early Champions League exit.

They host the Serie A side for the last 16, return leg on March 12 but before that are at home to Real Madrid in Tuesday's King's Cup semifinal second leg with the arch rivals tied at 1-1 after last month's game in the Spanish capital.

Barca visit Real's Bernabeu stadium in La Liga four days later with a another league match at home to bottom side Deportivo La Coruna before the Milan showdown in Europe's elite club competition.

Barca have drawn two and lost one in their last five outings in all competitions and lacked a cutting edge against a resolute Milan despite hogging possession in their customary style.

World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, who has netted an incredible 37 goals in 24 La Liga appearances this term and was top scorer in the Champions League the past four seasons, barely threatened and Barca mustered only two shots on target.

While they are flying high in La Liga, the lack of an effective "Plan B" to break down Milan's resistance is something they will need to address if they are to secure a third European crown in five years.

IMPROVING SEVILLA

"Physically we were not good," midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who was replaced on the hour after struggling to make an impact, told reporters.

"They were strong and they caused us damage," the former Arsenal captain added.

"We have to improve and focus on the return leg and on a week coming up now which is crucial for the season."

Sevilla's form has picked up since they sacked coach Michel last month and replaced him with Unai Emery and they still have a chance of qualifying for Europe next season.

The Andalusians are 10th on 32 points from 24 matches, five behind sixth-placed Real Sociedad, who occupy Spain's second Europa League berth.

"We will try to play a good match and get the odd point there," defender Alvaro Botia, who may be tasked with stopping Messi on Saturday, told a news conference on Wednesday.

"They rarely have an off day but that's when you have to make the most of the moment," he added.

With 14 games left, Barca have a 12-point lead over second-placed Atletico Madrid, who host a resurgent Espanyol on Sunday (1800).

Champions Real, whose chances of a second straight Spanish league title were dashed by defeats to rivals including Sevilla, Malaga and Real Betis, play at Depor on Saturday.

Real sit four points behind Atletico in third place.

Shop

Gerrard: My Autobiography
Steven Gerrard is a hero to millions, not only as the inspirational captain of Liverpool FC, but as a key member of the England team.
R161.00
Rafa: My Story
Revelatory memoir from the greatest sportsman in the world today.
R182.00
Mitre Monde Soccer Ball - White
Voted as one of the UK's favourite match balls
R219.00


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Sports Talk



Neil Tovey
Baxter’s men on the ball
Kaizer Chiefs’ 15-match winning streak may have ended but they remain the team to beat in the PSL.

Chima Emmanuel Aguma
Mata can't replace Rooney
Manchester United started the first of three crucial Premier League games against West Brom (away),...

Calvin Emeka Onwuka
Rodgers must focus on the league
Many footballers arriving in the Barclays Premier League have been warned of second-season syndrome.

Sunday Oliseh
Dortmund's winning formula is killing it
I sat in Signal Iduna Park to watch Dortmund over-run Arsenal and wondered, how long will it take...

John Dykes
A Gooner or a gonner?
An International Break can do funny things to the mind. Mine, for instance was heavily engaged this...

Dr Errol Sweeney
Why can’t soccer be like rugby?
Sport is supposed to be sport; something we all do for the love of it, for recreational purposes,...