Madrid: Barcelona struck twice in the final minutes to complete a controversial fightback as they beat 10-man Sevilla 3-2 to go eleven points clear of bitter rivals Real Madrid on Saturday.
Piotr Trochowski put Sevilla ahead after 26 minutes and when Alvaro Negredo doubled the advantage after the break it looked as though the Andalusians would achieve a double over the top two, having beaten Real a fortnight ago.
However, Barca fought back with Cesc Fabregas reducing the arrears after 53 minutes and then the talking point was the dismissal of Gary Medel for an apparent headbutt on Fabregas which led to him being red-carded with 18 minutes to go.
Barca pressed forward and it was Fabregras who equalised with a minute to go before substitute David Villa got the winner in the fourth minute of injury time.
Barca coach Tito Vilanova felt it was right to send off Medel. “If a player goes towards another and hits them in the head then the referee does the right thing to apply the law. That is a red card here or anywhere. It is difficult to referee and easy to make mistakes but not in this case,” he said.
Sevilla coach Jose Miguel Gonzalez ‘Michel’, who was sent to the stands in closing stages for complaining too vociferously, refused to get drawn into questions about Medel’s expulsion.
“Sometimes things are just crystal clear but still rules are about interpretation and I never talk about referees,” he said. “My players were excellent against an excellent rival. I won't say it was an unjust result but it was frustrating and leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.”
The pressure is now very much on Real Madrid who face Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday before they then go head-to-head with Barcelona in the first El Clasico of the season in the league next weekend.
Barca started stronger and Pedro Rodriguez fired over in the opening minutes. Goalkeeper Andres Palop then got down well to stop Lionel Messi inside the area after 13 minutes.