World news – GB – Football: Barça held by Sevilla as Real Madrid see Levante


MADRID, Spain – Barcelona lost their first points of the season on Sunday as Sevilla made a declaration of intent in the La Liga title race by drawing 1-1 at Camp Nou

Luuk de Jong gave Sevilla an early lead and as Philippe Coutinho equalized two minutes later, the visitors were arguably the better team in a frenzied competition

The draw ends Ronald Koeman’s perfect start as Barca coach, but he might not be too unhappy with a point, although his side also had chances of snatching a winner

« We were less energetic than in the first two games but it also depends on the opposition, » said Koeman « They defended well »

Real Madrid are three points ahead of Barcelona, ​​but after playing one more game, following their 2-0 win over Levante earlier on Sunday, they put them at the top of the table

Goals from Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema sealed victory for the defending champions, who have now won three games on the rebound

Neither Madrid nor Barca are expected to be busy on the last day of the transfer window on Monday, as the two clubs find themselves financially limited by the coronavirus pandemic

But some players could be allowed to leave and it was noted that Koeman had left Ousmane Dembele on the bench, even as his team searched for a winner

« Things can happen, » Koeman said after being asked about Dembele « Right now he’s a Barca player, let’s see There is one day left, players can come in or out »

Antoine Griezmann also offered very little at the bottom right but the Frenchman will have more time under Koeman

Luka Jovic was put on the bench by Zinedine Zidane and was not taken away, but he is expected to stay after Borja Mayoral left for Roma

De Jong put Sevilla in the lead after eight minutes as Barcelona failed to react to a short corner and then failed to clear, the ball recovering nicely for the striker to crash

But the lead lasted less than two minutes, a shiny, curved ball over Lionel Messi causing panic in the Sevilla defense, where Jesus Navas slipped to intercept but only brought Coutinho up for finish

Messi sent a bent shot past the far post and Ansu Fati hit the goalkeeper directly, but Sevilla were the one to win

Barcelona struggled to come out of the back under pressure from Sevilla’s high press and Ronald Araujo almost scored an own goal, spared by the post after Youssef En-Nesyri’s run on the left

Both Trincao and Pedri were pitched by Koeman and Trincao could have won it after being put on by Messi late But Sevilla goalkeeper Bono made the save to earn his side a deserved point

Madrid, meanwhile, scored a third clean sheet in four games to see Levante as Vinicius and a late strike from Benzema sealed the victory

« We had to suffer », said Zinedine Zidane « We had chances in the second half to kill the game and that would have made things different We suffered a lot because they also had chances »

Zidane’s side have become something of a defensive juggernaut after their strength and resilience formed the basis of their successful title bid last season

Levante only managed one win in their first four matches and that loss meant they fell into the relegation places

Vinicius put Madrid ahead after 16 minutes when Levante failed to clear a corner and the Brazilian calmly curled up for his second goal in as many games

He could have made two but surprised a pass intended for Benzema then Levante hit the crossbar, Nikola Vuckevic at the back post almost taking advantage of a hesitation from Thibaut Courtois

Levante struggled to cope with pressure from Madrid and Benzema and Vinicius are both expected to score when they picked up the ball twice from dangerous positions

Sergio Ramos also had a header ruled out for offside, but Levante went close to a late equalizer as Clerc and Enis Bardhi tested Courtois

Instead, Benzema tore himself away from the break in added time and finished for a convincing victory

FC Barcelona, ​​Sevilla, La Liga, Ronald Koeman, Philippe Coutinho, Lionel Messi

World news – GB – Football: Barca held by Sevilla as Real Madrid see Levante



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