Alexis Sanchez struck deep into stoppage time to hand Barcelona a controversial 3-2 home win over Sevilla on Saturday that keeps the Catalans at the top of Spain’s Primera Division.
Dani Alves’ header had given the hosts a deserved first-half lead, but Sevilla were left enraged when Juan Cala had what seemed like a perfectly good goal disallowed 25 minutes from time.
Lionel Messi then looked to have sealed the points for Barca with a fine finish form Neymar’s cut-back, but Ivan Rakitic pulled a goal back moments later before Coke thought he had stolen a point for the visitors when he steered home Rakitic’s corner in the 90th minute.
However, more brilliance from Messi in stoppage time forced Beto to parry his cross from the byline and Sanchez pounced to preserve Barca’s 100 per cent start to the season.
“It was a robbery. If they take so many things away from us, it has been a robbery,” raged Sevilla captain Fernando Navarro to Canal Plus afterwards.
“Everyone has seen what has happened, we have played a good game, but with things like this you can’t do anything.”
It was a sweet ending for Sanchez though after being dropped to the bench in favour of Christian Tello.
“We managed to score an important goal in the last minute. We scored due to our heart,” said the Chilean.
“I hope to continue like this, with the support of the coach the other players. Now comes a difficult time with the Champions League as well and we need to know how to win.”
Early on it was Neymar who stole the show with his array of skills on full show as he was twice denied by Beto from a narrow angle.
Barca did eventually find a way through 10 minutes before half-time when Adriano picked out Alves at the back post and his downward header just had too much power on it for Beto.
Sevilla were a far more dangerous attacking threat after the break though and were rightly left aggrieved with referee Cesar Muniz Fernandez when he ruled out Cala’s header from Rakitic’s corner despite there not appearing to have been any infringement.
That decision looked as if it had cost the visitors any chance of a point when Neymar showed his pace and vision once more to pick out Messi in the area 15 minutes from time and the Argentine bulleted home his sixth league goal of the campaign.
However, the Andalusians were back in the game just five minutes later when Vitolo burst down the left and teed up Rakitic perfectly to fire low past Victor Valdes.
And Sevilla were level as the clock ticked into stoppage time as Coke adjusted brilliantly to turn the ball past Valdes’ outstretched right hand from another Rakitic corner.
But the drama didn’t end there as with over the three minutes indicated stoppage time played, Messi burrowed his way into the area and after Beto could only parry his powerful cross, Sanchez pounced to prod the ball home from close range.