Pedri scored a fantastic winner in Barcelona’s 1-0 triumph against Sevilla on Sunday night at the Camp Nou.
‘For sheer skill, there is no one better than him in the world,’ Barça manager Ernesto Valverde declared in February, and it’s hard to disagree with his performance in the second half.
Barcelona had failed to score against the league’s worst defense. It would take something extraordinary to get through it, and Pedri delivered.
On 72 minutes, Dembele slid the ball to him in front of the penalty area, and he ducked Ivan Rakitic. He feinted again to deceive Diego Carlos and create a shot. He still had to beat Bono and put the ball through a throng, but his shot into the far post’s side of the goal made it 1-0.
Xavi had the most fun. He insisted that Pedri score winning goals, and on one of those evenings when it looked impossible, he delivered.
In 90 minutes, Dembele received a standing ovation. He had done more than anybody to force Pedri’s goal. Despite Barcelona’s dominance of opportunities, Sevilla might have nicked a draw. Lately, Marc Andre Ter Stegen mispunched but responded wonderfully to parry Ludwig Augustinsson’s effort.
Sevilla had a slew of chances in the first half. With Anthony Martial unable to bother Barcelona at center-forward, the hosts had many chances to break the stalemate.
Frenkie de Jong missed a Dembele cross, and Jordi Alba missed a Pierre Emerick Aubameyang flick.
Both Ronald Araujo and Karim Rekik put their arms close to their bodies and were trapped with the ball at close range.
The former Arsenal striker was tumbling as he sought to score from another Dembele cross, and despite urging the referee to look at the incident, there was no foul.
Dembele then nodded down Alba’s cross, but Feran Torres couldn’t finish. The French winger was everywhere. He then fed Aubameyang, but his shot was blocked.
Erik Lamela may have scored after Rekik robbed Dani Alves, but Marc Andre Ter Stegen stopped excellently. As soon as Pedri entered the region, normal service resumed, but there was no finish.
In the technical area, Xavi was penalized for dissent, despite Sevilla conceding just 19 goals all season. Martial was still receiving nothing from Araujo at Sevilla.
Bono was unstoppable when Sevilla’s defense was breached. He also missed Ferran Torres’ and Araujo’s headers. Delible provided both opportunities.
He took affairs into his own hands. He attempted to beat Bono with a low shot, but the keeper saved it. The defender’s next opportunity was a header that hit the post.
Martial took advantage of Tecatito Corona’s fake run and forced Ter Stegen into his second great save.
Barcelona had ample opportunities to win two games but were denied three points. Where was Messi on such a night?
No need for Barcelona fans to reminisce. Barça’s future is bright, thanks to Pedri.