Messi injury puts dampener on Barcelona’s victory over Sevilla

Lionel Messi was forced off midway through the first half in Barcelona’s 4-2 victory over Sevilla at the Nou Camp and will miss next weekend’s El Clasico.

Barcelona ended a run of four domestic games without a win as Philippe Coutinho, Messi, Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic found the net, with Pablo Sarabia’s deflected strike giving them something to think about late on before Luis Muriel’s stoppage-time consolation goal.

Messi had set up the opener before doubling the score, but his evening took a sudden turn for the worse in the 23rd minute when he fell awkwardly under an innocuous challenge from Franco Vazquez.

The medical staff applied heavy strapping to Messi’s right arm but very soon he was replaced by Ousmane Dembele. Barcelona later announced scans had shown a fracture in his forearm and he will be out for around three weeks.

Until Messi’s injury, it had been an ideal start for Barca.

Needing to rediscover their domestic swagger in a hurry and hoping to take advantage of Madrid’s defeat earlier in the day, Barca wasted no time as Coutinho opening the scoring inside two minutes.

Luis Suarez’s somewhat sloppy lay-off did well to find Messi but, once it had, the Argentinian quickly picked out Coutinho for a typical first-time curling finish into the far corner.

Messi’s injury will be a concern for Barcelona (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Lionel Messi handed Barcelona an injury scare after setting them on their way to a 4-2 victory over Sevilla.

There was a warning at the other end moments later when Guilherme Arana, allowed too much space as Sevilla countered, smashed a shot across goal against the far post.

But Barca were on top, with Messi seeing a shot deflected wide before doubling the lead in the 12th minute.

Sevilla gave the ball away in midfield and Suarez immediately picked out Messi’s run down the right. As he burst forward, Messi shifted inside on to his left foot and finished from the edge of the area.

But once he made a premature exit, Barca took time to resettle. Dembele appeared keen to impress but his first contribution – a run half the length of the pitch – ended with him running into traffic inside the area after failing to get his head up.

Suarez then looked frustrated with the Frenchman when he freed him down the left but Dembele failed to return the favour and shot wide from a tight angle.

Suarez was screaming for a penalty before half-time when he fell under a cynical off-the-ball challenge from Daniel Carrico, but the referee’s attention had been on Nelson Samedo, who squandered the opportunity with a horrible shot into the side-netting.

After a slow start to the second half, Sevilla were appealing for a spot-kick in the 56th minute when Jesus Navas’ cross struck the arm of Alba, but after a brief pause the referee waved play on.

Immediately after, the ball fell for Suarez at the other end, but he lashed wide.

Marc Andre ter Stegen made an outstanding double save to keep it at 2-0 on the hour mark, first getting a strong hand to Andre Silva’s header and then immediately leaping to his feet to keep out Vazquez’s follow-up.

It proved a decisive moment as Suarez won a penalty moments later, getting the touch before Tomas Vaclik’s outstretched arms brought him down, and he sent the goalkeeper the wrong way from the spot to make it 3-0 .

Sevilla got a goal back with the help of a huge deflection with a little over 10 minutes to go as Sarabia’s shot struck ex-Sevilla man Clement Lenglet and looped into the far corner.

Ter Stegen made another outstanding double save as time ticked down, getting a powerful left-hand to Sarabia’s close-range effort before springing back up to deny Wissam Ben Yedder on the rebound.

There was still time for further goals, with Rakitic volleying home a fourth before substitute Luis Muriel scored a fine consolation for the visitors.

- Press Association

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