Barcelona got their third La Liga victory in a row and the second while keeping a clean sheet. Koeman's men showed more positive intent in the first half against a Sevilla side who looked to defend and Dembele put the Catalans ahead just before the half hour. The game livened up in the second period and Sevilla looked for an equaliser, but the Catalans always looked more dangerous.
Sergino Dest hit the bar on 59 minutes, Lenglet had a goal disallowed and then Messi sealed the deal with a goal five minutes from time. The two teams do battle again at the Camp Nou on Wednesday in the Copa del Rey semi-final second leg. Sevilla won the first leg 2-0.
The first half of the league clash involved cautious play and Dembele forced the first save out of Bono on 21 minutes. Messi tried to surprise the keeper minutes later from a free-kick and then Barca took the lead on 29 minutes. Lenglet won the ball back for Barca who countered through Busquets and then Lionel Messi played a superb pass for Dembele who kept his cool in the one on one situation.
The half ended with a flurry of yellow cards including one for Messi who was harshly booked for a foul on Fernando Reges. Sevilla called for a second yellow for the Argentine just before the break after a cynical foul on Jules Kounde. This looked more of a caution, but the referee kept the card in his pocket and Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui saw yellow instead.
The second period was full of clear chances. Frenkie de Jong played a square pass for Jordi Alba who was unable to turn the ball home and then Dest smashed the crossbar on 59 minutes after Dembele saw his shot blocked. Messi then blazed over a good opportunity while Sergio Escudero headed over Suso's cross at the other end.
Barca thought they had made it two in the 68th minute when Clement Lenglet headed home Messi's free-kick, but the flag was up for offside. As the away side began to look more comfortable, En-Nesyri scored for Sevilla in the 80th minute, but a handball in the build-up meant the goal did not count.
Both teams then had penalty shouts turned down and in the 85th minute, Messi sealed the points. He played a lovely one-two with substitute Ilaix and then cut past Fernando before scoring at the second attempt after Bono saved the first. That killed off any chance of a Sevilla fightback and Barca showed that they are still in with a shout of winning the league.
Standout matches today