MX23RW : Tuesday, August 3 15:38:54| >> :120:21764:21764:
Jun 19, 2020 at 9pm UK at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan
SevillaSevilla
0-0
BarcelonaBarcelona

Reguilon (26'), Fernando (45+4'), Banega (62')
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Pique (39'), Busquets (45+4')

Preview: Sevilla vs. Barcelona - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's La Liga clash between Sevilla and Barcelona, including team news and predicted lineups.

Third will welcome first in Spain's top flight on Friday night as the reigning champions Barcelona head to Sevilla for what looks set to be a fascinating battle at the Estadio Ramon.

Sevilla have picked up four points from their two La Liga matches since returning to action on June 11, while Barca have collected six from a possible six to consolidate their spot at the top of the table.


Match preview

Sevilla's Fernando celebrates scoring their second goal against Real Betis on June 11, 2020© Reuters

Considering Sevilla's pedigree, it is perhaps somewhat of a surprise that they have only claimed a top-four position in La Liga in one of the last nine seasons.

The Seville-based outfit have finished seventh and sixth in their last two campaigns at this level but are currently in a position to bring Champions League football back to the Estadio Ramon next term.

Indeed, a total of 51 points from 29 matches has left them in third spot in the table, four points clear of fourth-placed Real Sociedad and fifth-placed Getafe.

Julen Lopetegui's side are now unbeaten in their last six league matches, picking up four points from their two matches against Real Betis and Levante since the return of the 2019-20 campaign.

They have only won half of their 14 home league matches this season, though, and have not actually beaten Barca in the league since October 2015, losing their last three against the Catalan giants.

Barcelona players celebrate scoring against Mallorca on June 14, 2020© Reuters

Barca, meanwhile, have won their last three in Spain's top flight since suffering a 2-0 defeat away to Real Madrid at the start of March.

The reigning champions beat Real Sociedad 1-0 before the lockdown period, while they have overcome Mallorca and Leganes in their two fixtures since returning to action on June 13.

Quique Setien's side are currently five points clear of second-placed Real Madrid at the top of the table, although Los Blancos will have the chance to move back to within two when they face Valencia on Thursday.

All five of Barca's La Liga defeats this season have actually come on their travels, which is bound to hand Sevilla confidence ahead of Friday's clash, although the Catalan giants thumped Mallorca 4-0 in their last away fixture on June 13, with Lionel Messi in fine form once again.

The leaders will be looking for victories in their next three ahead of a potentially key home match against Atletico Madrid at the end of the month, but there is no question that Sevilla are capable of making it an uncomfortable 90 minutes for the visitors.

Sevilla La Liga form: DWWDWD
Sevilla form (all competitions): WDWDWD

Barcelona La Liga form: WWLWWW
Barcelona La Liga form (all competitions): WDLWWW


Team News

Barcelona's Martin Braithwaite in action on February 22, 2020© Reuters

Sevilla's squad, from an injury point of view, is in excellent shape at the moment. Indeed, Lopetegui has no serious fitness concerns ahead of Friday's clash, meaning that he has plenty of decisions to make when it comes to picking a starting XI, particularly in the final third.

Fernando was named on the bench against Levante but should return to the side here, while Suso and Oliver Torres could come into their manager's thinking when it comes to starting roles.

Munir El Haddadi is expected to feature against his former club, while Lucas Ocampos has been Sevilla's standout player this season with 13 goals in all competitions and will again line up in an attacking spot.

As for Barca, Ousmane Dembele is still on the sidelines with a long-term hamstring injury, but Jordi Alba is available after serving a one-game suspension on Tuesday night.

Alba should replace Junior Firpo at left-back, while there are expected to be changes elsewhere with Setien potentially reverting to the bulk of the XI that started against Mallorca on June 13.

Martin Braithwaite scored in the victory over Mallorca, and the fact that the attacker was not used against Leganes suggests that he will be involved in Friday's contest, leaving Luis Suarez to continue his recovery from a long-term knee injury off the bench.

As a result, Antoine Griezmann could again start through the middle, while there are expected to be recalls for Frenkie de Jong and Arturo Vidal in the middle of the park.

Sevilla possible starting lineup:
Vaclik; Navas, Kounde, Carlos, Escudero; Banega, Fernando, Jordan; Ocampos, De Jong, Munir

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Vidal, Busquets, De Jong; Braithwaite, Griezmann, Messi


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We say: Sevilla 1-1 Barcelona

There is no question that this is a difficult match for the champions as Sevilla chase down a top-four finish. These two sides shared the points at the Estadio Ramon in March 2018, and we are expecting another draw here, which would not be the worst result in the world for Barca.



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Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their first goal on January 19, 2020
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ChinaChina32211669
United StatesUnited States24282173
JapanJapan1961136
AustraliaAustralia1441533
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee13211852
Great BritainGreat Britain13171343
Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events


DIVING
· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

ATHLETICS
· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

SAILING
· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of artistic gymnastics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

FOOTBALL
· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain (2pm)

CYCLING
· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

BOXING
· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

> Today's schedule in full
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