Lionel Messi picked up a potentially-serious injury to his right arm in Barcelona‘s 4-2 win over Sevilla at Camp Nou on Saturday night.
Barcelona moved to the top of La Liga with a two-goal success over in-form Sevilla, but the victory came at a cost with Messi being forced off the field in the first period.
The Argentine is now almost certain to miss Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Inter Milan, and will also be a huge doubt for El Clasico next weekend.
Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole‘s minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.
6.46pmEvening all! Sports Mole‘s live La Liga coverage continues from Camp Nou, and it is a real cracker as Barcelona welcome Sevilla. Barcelona are currently on a run of four games without a win in La Liga, which has left them third in the table, two points off the surprise division leaders Alaves. Sevilla, meanwhile, sit one point and one position above Barcelona, and will enter this match off the back of four straight La Liga wins. Stay tuned for what should be a fascinating match!
6.49pmBarcelona and Sevilla have already met this season, with the former recording a 2-1 win in the Spanish Super Sup back in August. Their last La Liga match-up brought a 2-2 draw at the Estadio Ramon in March, but Barcelona ran out 2-1 winners at Camp Nou in the corresponding La Liga match during the 2017-18 campaign. Sevilla have not actually avoided defeat at Camp Nou in the league since October 2011, losing on each of their last six visits to Barcelona.
6.52pmRight, without further ado, let me bring you up-to-speed with the all-important team news from Camp Nou. Any surprises? Does Luis Suarez start despite a knee problem? Let’s have a look…
6.58pmNo real surprises in the Barcelona XI tonight. Injuries for Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen means that Clement Lenglet starts at centre-back against his former club. Arthur’s selection in midfield, meanwhile, means that Philippe Coutinho will join Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi in the final third of the field. Ousmane Dembele again has to make do with a place on the bench tonight.
7.02pmAs for Sevilla, Gabriel Mercado is still on the sidelines with a fractured arm, but head coach Pablo Machin had no fresh injury concerns entering the match. Andre Silva – on loan from AC Milan – has seven La Liga goals to his name this season, and the 22-year-old has formed a strong relationship with Wissam Ben Yedder, who has five top-flight strikes to his name this term. Both start here, with Pablo Sarabia, Franco Vazquez and Ever Banega featuring in midfield. Machin’s 3-5-2 formation also sees Jesus Navas and Guilherme Arana continue in the wing-back roles.
7.05pmAs it stands, Alaves sit top of La Liga on 17 points, one point clear of second-placed Sevilla, who are one point ahead of fourth-placed Barcelona. Atletico Madrid are currently in third, but that could change with Diego Simeone’s side drawing 1-1 with Villarreal at the moment. Fifth-placed Real Madrid – as I am sure you would have seen – lost 2-1 at home to Levante earlier this afternoon.
7.12pmBarcelona did not really need to break a sweat in La Liga last term. Indeed, the Catalan giants lost just one of their 38 matches, winning 28 times, to storm to the title. They finished 14 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid, and were rightly installed as the favourites to retain the title.
7.15pmIt has not quite been the start to the season that the fans would have expected, however, with the 25-time Spanish champions dropping points in four of their eight league matches this term. They are actually without a win in their last four in the top flight, which has led to criticism of head coach Ernesto Valverde. Valverde led Barcelona to a La Liga and Copa del Rey double in his first season at the club, but his long-term future is very much undecided. Indeed, the 54-year-old will be out of contract at the end of this season, and neither he nor the club have made a move to activate an extension.
7.18pmBarcelona’s last La Liga win was a 2-1 success at Real Sociedad on September 15. Since then, they have drawn with Girona, Athletic Bilbao and Valencia, in addition to suffering a 2-1 defeat at Leganes. Even early in the season when Barcelona were winning, the performances were not quite there.
7.22pmIn another season, the team’s slow start to the campaign might well have left them with ground to make up. Both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have had their issues this term, however, and Barcelona are just two point off the top of the division. Incidentally, Atletico’s clash with Villarreal has finished 1-1, which has seen Simeone’s side jump above Barcelona into third position.
7.25pmIn terms of what is ahead for the Catalan giants, they have the small matter of El Clasico at home to Real Madrid next weekend, but will also host Inter Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday night. Valverde’s side are two from two in Europe this term, and will be looking to take a firm control of the section with a victory against the Italian giants on October 24.
7.28pmNow under the leadership of exciting young manager Pablo Machin, Sevilla have made serious waves in La Liga this season. Indeed, only Barcelona (19) have scored more goals (18) than Sevilla in the league this term, and the White and Reds currently sit second in the table.
7.32pmMachin’s side opened their 2018-19 La Liga campaign with a 4-1 victory at Rayo Vallecano, before drawing with Villarreal, and losing to both Real Betis and Getafe in their next two. At that point, question marks were being asked about a team that finished seventh in Spain’s top flight last term.
7.35pmSevilla put six goals past Levante in Valencia on September 23, however, before recording a 3-0 home win over Real Madrid three days later. Since then, Sevilla have beaten Eibar and Celta Vigo to move onto 16 points in the division, which is good enough for second spot as things stand.
Here it is! Our starting XI to face @FCBarcelona 💪#vamosmisevilla #BarçaSevillaFC pic.twitter.com/13vTc01NWZ
— Sevilla FC (@SevillaFC_ENG) October 20, 2018
7.42pmHere we go then; both sets of players have joined us on the pitch ahead of kickoff. Can Sevilla overcome Barcelona at Camp Nou, or will the hosts prevail? Stay tuned right here to find out!
0 minKICKOFF: Barcelona will kick things off at Camp Nou…
2 min… you do get the feeling that the first goal – if there indeed is one – could be crucial in this match. As expected, Barcelona have taken control of the possession in the early moments here.
2 minGOAL!BARCELONA 1-0 SEVILLA (COUTINHO)
3 minOh my word! Barcelona take the lead in just the second minute as Coutinho meets a wonderful pass from Messi before finding the top corner with a brilliant effort. Some goal from the Brazilian!
5 minSevilla just need to be careful that this match is not taken away from them in the early minutes. Barcelona look in the mood tonight as they continue to move the ball in the final third of the field.
6 minOFF THE POST! Sevilla come close to a leveller as Arana strikes towards the bottom corner, but the ball smashes against the post. Barcelona were caught out by the away side there!
8 minSevilla are not exactly sitting back at the moment as they chase down Barcelona. I would be astounded if there were not more goals in this match due to the talent on the field.
10 minCLOSE! Messi has a strike deflected just wide of the Sevilla post following super work from Alba. The left-back showed excellent pace to meet a heavy pass before delivering into Messi.
12 minGOAL!BARCELONA 2-0 SEVILLA (MESSI)
13 minAnd just like that, Barcelona have their second. It is all about Messi as the Argentine faces up to Gomez before shifting past the centre-back and firing a low effort into the corner of the net!
15 minVazquez has a low cross deflected behind as Sevilla break forward, but they are really up against it now having conceded those two early goals. Messi has been unplayable thus far tonight.
17 minMessi is down for Barcelona, and looks in real pain. His arm looked to bend under him.
18 minIt looks a bad one for Messi, who is still on the ground.
19 minBarcelona play on with 10 men while Messi has some treatment.
21 minBit of possession for Sevilla as Messi has his arm bandaged on the touchline. May continue.
23 minIt does not look like Messi will continue here. Terrible news for Barcelona.
26 minBARCELONA SUB! Dembele replaces Messi for Barcelona. That will be a big concern for the Catalan giants ahead of El Clasico next weekend. Could well be a broken arm.
Messi, arm heavily strapped up, heads off down the tunnel. pic.twitter.com/B9YUcyZE7s
— The Spanish Football Podcast (@tsf_podcast) October 20, 2018
28 minReally, really terrible fall for Messi…
Messi’s fall pic.twitter.com/PvSM89ftMH
— AS English (@English_AS) October 20, 2018
30 minLittle over 15 minutes of the first period remaining, but there will be some added time following that Messi injury. Dembele has just danced into the Sevilla box before being challenged here.
32 minBusquets is now down for Barcelona, but the Spaniard should be fine to continue.
34 minNot too much in the way of chances in the last few minutes. To be honest, not too much has happened since Messi left the field. Hopefully there might be an update at the interval here.
36 minCoutinho strikes high and wide of the crossbar with an effort from outside the box.
38 minCHANCE! Barcelona come close to a third on the break as Dembele is released by Luis Suarez, but the Frenchman’s low strike just misses the far post. Big moment in this match.
40 minLittle over five minutes of the first period remaining, and Sevilla are on the front foot.
Messi just left the stadium for further tests.
— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) October 20, 2018
42 minCHANCE! Semedo breaks into the Sevilla box, but his effort hits the side-netting!
Hope would be Messi’s arm isn’t broken, if a medic examined him and was willing to let him try and come back on. Badly twisted or dislocated elbow though still not pleasant.
— AS English (@English_AS) October 20, 2018
45+1 minWe are into the first of three minutes of additional time here.
45+2 minCLOSE! Sarabia fires a low Navas cross wide of the Barcelona post.
45+3 minCHANCE! Rakitic with a wonderful chance, but he chips straight into the arms of Vaclik!
8.38pmHALF TIME:BARCELONA 2-0 SEVILLA
8.38pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with Barcelona leading Sevilla 2-0 courtesy of goals from Coutinho and Messi. The first half was overshadowed by that potentially-serious injury for Messi though, and further updates are expected to arrive soon.
8.43pmBENCH WATCH! Sevilla boss Machin has a number of attacking options on his bench tonight, with the likes of Nolito, Mesa, Muriel, Promes and Vidal all capable of making a difference in the second period. Barcelona, meanwhile, have options in the shape of Rafinha, Munir and Roberto.
8.48pmSTATISTICS! Barcelona shaded the first-half possession with 57%, while they had nine attempts, four of which were on target. Sevilla had seven attempts, although just one was on target. Sevilla did complete 182 passes though, which shows that they have used the ball pretty well here.
46 minKICKOFF: Sevilla resume the action at Camp Nou…
47 min… no changes from either side at the interval, and no further update on Messi as things stand.
According to Spanish, radio Messi has been taken to Barca’s training ground for tests, and not hospital. A good sign, you’d imagine. Let’s hope he can watch the second half
— Richard Martin (@Rich9908) October 20, 2018
50 minOne goal back for Sevilla and it would certainly be game on. However, a third for Barcelona would more than likely secure all the points. Not too much to report since the second half started.
Catalunya Radio saying that Messi injury affecting his internal ligament, which would complicate the recovery
— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) October 20, 2018
53 minArthur releases Dembele in a dangerous position, but the Frenchman cannot find a teammate with a cross. Coutinho then strikes into the arms of Sevilla’s goalkeeper from distance.
55 minSEVILLA SUB! Mercado replaces the injured Kjaer.
57 minLittle over 30 minutes of the second period remaining, and Barcelona still lead 2-0 here.
57 minSevilla have a penalty shout as Alba seems to handle inside the Barcelona box. VAR…
57 min… no penalty. Alba a touch fortunate!
58 minCHANCE! Luis Suarez fires a glorious chance wide of the post from inside the box!
Nothing confirmed on Messi’s injured. He is having tests right now. It looks like an hyperextension of the elbow but nothing official yet
— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) October 20, 2018
61 minSAVE! Wonderful double save from Ter Stegen as the Barcelona goalkeeper keeps out a header from Andre Silva before denying Vazquez from the rebound. Excellent from Ter Stegen!
62 minPENALTY! Barcelona have a penalty as Vaclik brings Luis Suarez to the ground!
63 minGOAL!BARCELONA 3-0 SEVILLA (SUAREZ, PEN)
64 minSuarez sends his penalty into the back off the net. Barcelona lead 3-0 here.
66 minSevilla entered this match off the back of four straight league wins, but they are not going to collect all three points in this one. Suarez’s penalty has surely put this match beyond Sevilla.
67 minBARCELONA SUB! Arthur is replaced by Roberto.
68 minCHANCE! Ben Yedder drags an attempt wide of the post from a really good position!
70 minSEVILLA SUB! Mesa replaces Vazquez for the away side.
72 minLittle under 20 minutes of the second period remaining, and Barcelona lead 3-0 here.
74 minThe huge double save from Ter Stegen…
😳😳😳 El doble paradón de @mterstegen1 pic.twitter.com/lYbdxpW5rW
— La Casa del Fútbol en Movistar+ (@casadelfutbol) October 20, 2018
74 minSAVE! Vaclik is on hand to keep out a low strike from Suarez!
75 minDembele has one deflected over the crossbar following another quick counter-attack.
77 minEnd-to-end football at the moment as both teams continue to commit players in the final third of the field. Barcelona will be desperate to keep a clean sheet in this match.
79 minJust a reminder that a win for Barcelona takes them to the top of the table.
78 minSEVILLA SUB! Muriel replaces Silva for Sevilla.
79 minGOAL!BARCELONA 3-1 SEVILLA (Sarabia)
80 minSevilla have one back at Camp Nou as Sarabia’s deflected effort beats Ter Stegen!
81 minBARCELONA SUB! Luis Suarez is replaced by Munir.
82 minBarcelona have a free kick in a dangerous area as Carrico handles…
83 min… Vaclik manages to keep out Coutinho’s free kick.
85 minCLOSE! Not too far away from Muriel, who strikes over the Barcelona crossbar.
86 minSAVE! Another incredible double save from Ter Stegen as the Barcelona goalkeeper keeps out Sarabia and then Ben Yedder! More excellent work from the German international!
88 minGOAL!BARCELONA 4-1 SEVILLA (RAKITIC)
89 minBarcelona have their fourth of the match as Rakitic finds the bottom corner with an excellent volley. Super effort from the Croatia international, and not for the first time this season.
90+1 minGOAL!BARCELONA 4-2 SEVILLA (MURIEL)
90+2 minWonderful, curling finish from Muriel as Sevilla score a second at Camp Nou!
90+3 minWe are into the final minute of added time at the end of the match.
90+4 minFULL TIME:BARCELONA 4-2 SEVILLA
9.42pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the second period to a close with Barcelona recording a 4-2 win over Sevilla to move to the top of the table. Brilliant entertainment at Camp Nou. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for our live La Liga coverage once again. Until next time!