This time, in his 900th match, Lionel Messi had no answer for Sevilla.
Messi had a quiet performance in his main match against the team that punished the most in his career, and Barcelona lost 2-0 in Seville in the first match of the semifinals of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
Messi scored more goals against Sevilla than against any other team – 37 in 41 games, but the Argentine giants squandered several chances as Sevilla won their eighth consecutive game in all competitions. Jules Kunde scored in the first half, and former Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic added the second near the end.
The rematch will be on February 27 at the “Camp Nou” stadium in Barcelona. Athletic Bilbao host Levante on Thursday in the first match of the second semifinal.
“There is still hope,” said Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman. “It will be difficult, but this team is capable of anything.”
Sevilla and Barcelona entered the semifinals as the hottest teams in Spain. The Catalan club has won six consecutive victories in all competitions.
“We are in the halftime of a 180-minute match,” said Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui. “There will be many incidents before we go to Barcelona, but we know how difficult it will be for us. The hardest part is yet to come. “
The teams played in the Copa final in 2016 and 2018, with Barcelona coming out on top both times. The Catalan club is trying to reach its ninth final in 11 years. He reached the final four or nine consecutive times before being eliminated by Athletic in the quarterfinals last season.
Barcelona controlled possession, but struggled to create very significant chances at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizuan stadium, with Sevilla goalkeeper Bono halting several efforts. Sevilla constantly threatened with counterattacks, especially after the opening of the result in the first half.
Messi, who made his 758th appearance in Barcelona to add to his 142nd with Argentina, commanded the attack, but failed to take advantage of his chances, including one with only Bono to win in the 11th minute. He almost scored with a free kick, which was again stopped by Bono.
Messi had rested in the Spanish league match against Real Betis on Sunday, when he came out of the bench in the second half to lead the team to victory from behind.
Kunde put Sevilla ahead in the 25th minute with a good run, which ended with the ball passing between the legs of Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti before shooting into the net from inside the zone.
Rakitic sealed the victory in the 85th minute, beating goalkeeper Mark-Andre Ter Stegen with a shot at the top of the net. The midfielder did not celebrate a goal against his former club.
Koeman was left without three players due to injuries – Martin Braithwaite, Sergiño Dest and Miralem Pjanic. Lopetegui was without injured players Lucas Ocampos and Jesus Navas.