Jules Kounde and Ivan Rakitic found the net as Sevilla put one foot in the Copa del Rey final with a 2-0 home win over Barcelona in the semi-final first leg.
Recent injuries to Martin Braithwaite, Sergino Dest and Miralem Pjanic forced Ronald Koeman’s hand, with left-back Junior Firpo asked to fill in at right-back due to a dearth of viable options in that position.
Barcelona struggled to get going and fell behind after 25 minutes when Kounde made the most of some indecision in the opposition defence to dribble clean through on goal and finish into the bottom far corner.
Sevilla continued to push forward in the second period and got their reward when Rakitic scored a second, firing home an excellent finish after finding himself in behind Samuel Umtiti. The Croatian refused to celebrate against his former club.
The result ends Barcelona’s winning run of six games in all competitions, with Koeman and his players tasked with overturning a two-goal deficit in the second leg on March 3 if they are to reach the Copa del Rey final.