| Lionel Messi |
Madrid: Barcelona had Alexis Sanchez to thank for maintaining their winning start after he came off the bench to score in the fourth minute of added time and snatch a 3-2 victory at home to Sevilla on Saturday.
Barca have yet to settle under new coach Gerardo Martino and it was another unconvincing performance at the Nou Camp as they let slip a two-goal lead and were seconds away from dropping their first points of the campaign.
A rare Daniel Alves header against his former club put Barca ahead in the 36th minute before Lionel Messi looked to have made the game safe when he clipped a Neymar centre high into the net with 15 minutes left.
It was the World Player of the Year’s sixth goal in three La Liga appearances this season.
Ivan Rakitic pulled a goal back when he smashed the ball past Victor Valdes in the 80th minute and Coke stole in to volley the equaliser 10 minutes later.
Messi again proved decisive in a dramatic finale, however, as he dashed to the byline before his cross fell to Alexis and the Chilean poked the ball into the net.
Although Barca were not at their best, Brazil forward Neymar, who joined from Santos for 57 million euros in the close season, had an excellent game and earned praise from Martino.
“It was really an impeccable performance from Neymar in every respect,” Martino told a news conference.
“We were not sure how he would link up with Messi but we are already seeing that he is doing well,” added the Argentine.
Meanwhile, left back Jordi Alba will be sidelined for around three weeks after he damaged a hamstring during the match.
“Jordi Alba had more tests on Sunday morning to assess the exact extent of the injury he picked up during the first half of the match against Sevilla,” Barca said on their website.
Alba, who was replaced by Adriano in the 14th minute of the clash at the Nou Camp, will miss Barca’s Champions League Group H games against Ajax Amsterdam and Celtic.