Sevilla suffocates Barcelona in 1-1 draw at Camp Nou

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Sevilla’s superb defense held Barcelona to a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou on Sunday as Ronald Koeman’s team dropped its first points in the Spanish league.

Striker Luuk de Jong put Sevilla ahead in the eighth minute when he blasted home a loose ball that fell to him in the box after a corner. It was the first league goal conceded by Barcelona this season.

Barcelona hit back two minutes later. Lionel Messi drifted back into midfield and lobbed forward a pass to meet Jordi Alba’s run from the left side. Jesús Navas tried to intercept, only to knock it into the path of Coutinho who fired it home.

Sevilla’s defense clogged up the middle of the field the rest of the way. Holding midfielder Fernando and centerback Jules Kounde deactivated the playmaking of Messi and Coutinho, while also stopping incursions by Ansu Fati from the left flank.

Julen Lopetegui’s well-coached side has kept up its excellent team play from last season when it won the Europa League and finished the league in fourth place.

Both teams have two wins and a draw this season.

Barcelona had won all its matches — including three preseason games — since Koeman took over following its humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the final game of last season.

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