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    Messi 6/10 as Barcelona attack goes missing in scoreless draw at Sevilla

    Barcelona missed the chance to move five points clear of Real Madrid as they were held to a goalless draw by Sevilla at an empty Sanchez Pizjuan on Friday.

    Luis Suarez fired their best chance of the night over late on after a pullback from Jordi Alba. Sevilla had earlier come close through Lucas Ocampos and Munir El Haddadi in a tight game.

    The draw means the title is no longer in Barca’s hands. If Real Madrid, three points behind with a game in hand away at Real Sociedad on Sunday, win their remaining nine games, they will win the league via their superior head-to-head record.

    Positives

    Suarez came through 90 minutes for the first time since January, when he underwent keyhole surgery on his knee. That should bode him well for the run-in.

    Barca also had control of this game for large parts of the night, despite not being at their best and being without Frenkie de Jong. That will please coach Quique Setien, even if other things will concern him.

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    Negatives

    A draw against third-place Sevilla wouldn’t be bad in normal circumstance, but in this condensed title run-in that we’ve been thrown into amid the coronavirus pandemic, it could be devastating. Barca now know if Madrid win out — and they impressed in the second half against Valencia on Thursday — they will win their first title since 2017. What’s more, Barca have the tougher games to come, with Athletic Bilbao, Celta Vigo, Atletico Madrid and Villarreal all to come.

    The reason Barca drew in Seville was a real lack of quality in the final third. They created very little and rarely troubled Tomas Vaclik. They were one-dimensional, slow and predictable in attack.

    Manager rating out of 10

    5 — Setien must take his share of the blame for the dropped points. He stuck with the same ageing spine, didn’t make good changes to affect the game and didn’t even use Ansu Fati, who was key in Tuesday’s win against Leganes.

    Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

    GK Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 7 — Made several good saves in the second half, notably from Ocampos and Munir.

    DF Nelson Semedo, 6 — Looked as if he could pose a threat in the space created by Lionel Messi on the right but wasn’t daring enough with it.

    DF Gerard Pique, 6 — Did well in the air against Luuk de Jong and covered well a couple of times late on as the game stretched. Booked for the 12th time in La Liga this season.

    DF Clement Lenglet, 6 — Like Pique, handled what was thrown at him well. Only looked in trouble when exposed and outnumbered on the break.

    DF Jordi Alba, 8 — Possibly Barca’s best player. Created Barca’s best chances from the left and also delivered defensively, producing a brilliant goal-saving block in the 76th minute.

    MF Sergio Busquets, 7 — Read the game well, got to the ball first more often than not and provided the base for the attacks (or the lack of) ahead of him.

    MF Arturo Vidal, 6 — Spent large parts of the game pulling right to allow Messi to come inside. Meant he wasn’t as involved as he often is.

    MF Ivan Rakitic, 6 — Picked in place of the injured De Jong and started the game well, shooting into the side netting and cutting out Sevilla counters. Slowed as the game progressed and was replaced by Riqui Puig late on.

    FW Lionel Messi, 6 — Didn’t have enough support in attack. His best chances came from free kicks. One was headed off the line and another tipped over the bar.

    FW Luis Suarez, 6 — Lasted 90 minutes in his first start since January but missed a great chance to grab the points late on.

    FW Martin Braithwaite, 5 — Doubled up with Alba to deal with the threat of Jesus Navas and Ocampos on Sevilla’s right side. That meant his attacking input was limited before being taken off just after the hour.

    Substitutes

    MF Arthur Melo, 5 — Replaced Braithwaite as Barca switched to a midfield four. Too slow and not decisive enough with his passing.

    FW Antoine Griezmann, N/R — Came on in place of Vidal for the final 13 minutes.

    MF Riqui Puig, N/R — Arriving two minutes before full-time, had little time to make an impact.

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