Suarez, Messi help Barcelona snatch 2-2 draw against Sevilla

Lawrence Cooper
April 2, 2018

Only a minute had passed before Messi netted in a left-foot strike, marking his side's second goal, after the Uruguayan's stunner, extending the Catalans' unbeaten league run to 37 games.

But Luis Suarez - who had been so wasteful for the visitors - then halved the deficit and 53 seconds later Messi earned a point, the Argentine superstar beating Sergio Rico from 20 yards to cap his return from injury in an astonishing finish to the contest.

The Barca team tried from the start to show that it does not wholly depend on Messi but that it could dominate the field without him against a fast-moving rival that piled on the pressure.

"I won't make reference to anything that's been said recently [after Spain's 6-1 win against Argentina], but of course he's an important player".

The hosts doubled their lead when Ever Banega's stinging shot was pushed out too centrally by Ter Stegen, allowing Muriel to take a touch and guide the ball into the corner.

As Barcelona saw their unbeaten record nearing its end, Valverde reacted by bringing Lionel Messi on for the final half an hour, and he nearly made an instant impact.

"He didn't start the game as a precaution".

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"He was decisive. We think he'll be okay for Roma [on Wednesday]".

"My ultimate goal is to win the Golden Ball; it's what I want and I'm going to work hard to get there, but I'm still only 18 and have a lot to improve", he said.

Barca is 23-7-0 in the league and has a 12-point lead on second-place Atletico Madrid. "Not at all. That's why we compete until the end. We know the spirit of the team and the importance of getting a draw here at this moment".

He added: "However, everything happens very quickly in the world we live in. That unbalanced us, we had problems".

Franco Vazquez opened the scoring for Sevilla from close range in the 36th minute and Colombia worldwide Luis Muriel doubled the home side's lead by smashing in on the rebound five minutes into the second half.

Messi missed Argentina's two friendly internationals over the Federation Internationale de Football Association break with a hamstring strain, but Valverde says he always planned on bringing on the club's all-time top scorer.

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