Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw by Sevilla at Camp Nou on Sunday as their 100 percent start to the new La Liga season ended.
Luuk de Jong fired Sevilla ahead in the eighth minute but Barca were level two minutes later when Philippe Coutinho scored his first goal of the campaign.
Sevilla almost won it when Barca defender Ronald Araujo hit his own crossbar, while Francisco Trincao missed a late chance for the home side before Lionel Messi had a penalty appeal turned down.
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Araujo, 21, came in for the suspended Clement Lenglet and was Barca’s best player on the night. The defender, who this week received his first international call-up for Uruguay, showed that he’s more than ready to play at this level when needed.
After starting the season with two wins and two clean sheets, Ronald Koeman’s Barca conceded a goal and dropped points for the first time since the Dutchman’s appointment — admittedly against a very good Sevilla side.
The analysis going into the first international break should be positive overall, but the draw with Sevilla showed there is still plenty of work to be done. Barca looked a little toothless in attack and a little tired on the ball.
Manager rating out of 10
6 — Koeman made brave changes, bringing on youngsters Pedri and Trincao, but didn’t change a formation which clearly wasn’t working. He also sent a message to the club that he still wants a new striker by not bringing on Martin Braithwaite and not even having Ousmane Dembele warm up. The Frenchman’s exit is the key to raising money to sign a No. 9 before Monday’s deadline.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Neto, 6 — Got a hand to De Jong’s goal but it was struck with real power. Didn’t look comfortable on the ball and was almost caught out passing out from the back by former teammate Ivan Rakitic.
DF Sergi Roberto, 5 — Once again, not active enough in attack. Did make some good runs but wasn’t picked out and when he was picked out, he wasn’t effective with the ball.
DF Ronald Araujo, 8 — An assured performance in a difficult game. Showed that he can be counted on when Lenglet or Pique are unavailable.
DF Gerard Pique, 7 — Stayed calm under intense pressing from Sevilla and was good in the air against the threat of De Jong.
DF Jordi Alba, 6 — A good run down the left helped create the Coutinho goal. Was up and down the left flank until forced off with an injury in the second half.
MF Sergio Busquets, 6 — Made a slow start to the season but stepped up against Sevilla at times. This was his best performance since Koeman was appointed but he tired badly after three games in a week.
MF Frenkie de Jong, 6 — Took a couple of steps back after a good start to the campaign. Gave the ball away in dangerous areas.
FW Antoine Griezmann, 5 — His touch consistently let him down when he was presented with the ball in good positions. Taken off after an hour.
FW Philippe Coutino, 7 — Scored a good goal as he continued to show his importance to Barca’s attack following his return from Bayern Munich.
FW Ansu Fati, 6 — The star of the show against Villarreal and Celta Vigo had a quieter evening here. Worked a couple of openings but failed to really trouble the goalkeeper.
FW Lionel Messi, 6 — Barca’s main threat sent one shot just wide in the first half after producing a fine pass in the build-up to Coutinho’s goal. Appealed for a late penalty but VAR said no.
FW Pedri, 5 — A couple of nice runs but unable to influence the game. Still only 17, though.
FW Francisco Trincao, 6 — Improved Barca’s threat on the right, which was non-existent until he came on, but missed a good chance to nick the points.
MF Miralem Pjanic, N/R — Came on late but looked good on the ball.
DF Sergino Dest, N/R — The United States international replaced Alba at left-back for his Barca debut. Created one chance for Messi, which the Argentine fizzed just wide.