Barcelona still five points clear despite being held by Sevilla

Jesús Navas rescues a point for Sevilla after Bojan KrkiÄ"¡'s opener, but Barca still five points clear at the top

La Liga, 13 MARCH 2011, Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium
team1
Sevilla
Navas (49)
1 – 1
team2
Barcelona
Bojan (30)

Barcelona’s lead at the top of La Liga was cut to five points after Pep Guardiola’s champions were held by Sevilla in an enthralling encounter on Sunday night.

Bojan KrkiÄ”¡ gave the visitors the lead midway through the first half with an easy finish but Jesús Navas struck three minutes after the break to stun the Catalan giants and allow Real Madrid to gain ground on the leaders following their 2-0 win over Hercules on Saturday.

Lionel Messi thought he had put the visitors in front after just eight minutes when his perfectly placed free-kick beat goalkeeper Javi Varas only for referee Miguel Lasa to disallow the goal after Sergio Busquets was adjudged to have pushed the Sevilla wall.

The home side then had shouts for a penalty turned down after Didier Zokora looked to have been pulled back by Dani Alves, but the referee waved away the protests of the incensed Sevilla players.

With Barca enjoying over 70 per cent of the possession the pressure eventually told on the half-hour mark.

Alves beat the offside trap to latch on to Andres Iniesta’s exquisite lofted pass and square the ball for Bojan who bundled into an empty net.

The visitors continued to dominate proceedings and Messi spurned a glorious opportunity to double Barca’s lead in the 42nd minute when his looping header rebounded off the crossbar.

Messi survived an injury scare in first-half stoppage time after the Argentine twisted his knee when he collided with Varas as his raced through on goal. Despite looking hurt he was able to recover in time for the start of the second half.

The home side began the second period brightly and snatched their equaliser three minutes after the break when Álvaro Negredo’s mazy run drew Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes out wide before he managed pick out a cross for Jesús Navas who calmly headed home.

Sevilla gradually grew in confidence as the second period progressed and Navas missed the chance to grab his second of the night when he fired his low shot straight at Valdes following good work down the left wing by substitute Diego Perotti.

Moments later Frederic Kanoute had Valdes scrambling on his line after his rasping effort almost beat the Barcelona keeper.

Messi then missed the chance to restore Barca’s lead when he was unable to poke home Bojan’s teasing low cross.

Iniesta then saw his long-range effort crash off the crossbar in a frenetic end to a pulsating clash in southern Spain.

La Liga table snapshot

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