Barca keep title hopes alive

Afp, Seville

1 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Barcelona reignited their title hopes after Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele scored in a 2-0 victory over Sevilla on Saturday to put them two points behind Atletico Madrid.

Atletico still have two games in hand, the first of those coming against sixth-placed Villarreal on Sunday, but a dip in form from La Liga's leaders has given their chasing rivals hope.

Barca looked dead and buried a few weeks ago but this was their ninth win out of 10 in La Liga, a surge that has put them back in contention, with Atletico playing against Real Madrid next weekend.

Sevilla started the day as arguably the form team at the top, having won all of their last six league games, the last five of those without conceding a goal.

But they were second best at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, a dominant performance from Barcelona exposing them still as slightly short of Spain's top three.

It also creates an intriguing back-drop to Wednesday's Copa del Rey semi-final second leg when these two teams meet again, with Barca hoping to overturn a 2-0 deficit at Camp Nou.

Barca controlled the game and while Alba and Dest never really advanced as much as Koeman might have liked, Frenkie de Jong and Pedri were a constant threat through the middle, with the speedy Dembele just in front.

Chances, though, were few and far between and it took a counter-attack for Barcelona to take the lead.