Kevin-Prince Boateng made his Barcelona debut Wednesday night but it did not go according to plan after the Catalans lost 2-0 to Sevilla in a Copa del Rey quarterfinals first-leg match.
The former Ghana international was handed a starting place, star man Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets were left out completely while Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and Jordi Alba all started on the bench, only to come on as substitutes in the second half.
Boateng, who has joined on a six-month loan deal from Sassuolo, was signed to spare Suarez nights like these and he did little particularly wrong, or spectacular, before being replaced after 63 minutes.
But Pablo Sarabia and Wissam Ben Yedder each scored in the second half at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan to leave Barca facing an uphill task if they are to rescue next week’s second leg.
Sevilla had been the better team and their dominance continued after halftime. Just before the hour-mark, they scored, as the lively Quincy Promes did brilliantly down the left and his cross fell to Sarabia at the back post.
Sarabia’s drilled the bouncing ball into the far corner, with the offside Ibrahim Amadou darting across Jasper Cillessen’s line of sight.
Barca brought on Suarez and Coutinho, who almost made an instant impact. Suarez’s first contribution was to lose the ball and his second was to win it back. Coutinho was given a free shot at goal but fired over.
Sevilla could have made it two but Ever Banega headed over and then they did, as his cross grazed Sergi Roberto on its way to the back post, where Ben Yedder had timed his run perfectly. He slid in to bolster his team’s advantage
Barcelona now have it all to do at home in the second leg if they are to keep hopes of winning a fifth consecutive Copa del Rey.
NB: Additional files from AFP