Seville, Spain, Feb 10 (efe-epa).- Jules Kounde and Ivan Rakitic got the goals but Yassine Bono’s three outstanding stops against Lionel Messi were also crucial to Sevilla’s 2-0 win here Wednesday over Barcelona in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal tie.
Messi looked certain to put Barça ahead in the 11th minute after taking a great pass from Antoine Griezmann, but Bono thrust out a leg to thwart the Argentine, who has scored 37 times in 40 games against Sevilla.
Kounde fired just outside the post on a chance in the 20th minute, but he made no mistake five minutes later and though Blaugrana goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen got his hand on the ball, he couldn’t stop it from going in.
The German was able to tip a blast from Sevilla’s Sergio Escudero over the cross-bar just before half-time to keep the deficit to one.
Barcelona started the second half with more intensity and Bono had to be sharp to stop Messi in the 54th minute. The visitors clamored for a penalty when Suso Fernandez pulled down Jordi Alba, but the contact began outside the area and Barça had to settle for a free kick.
With five minutes left in regulation, former Barcelona man Rakitic prevailed in a one-on-one with Ter Stegen to make it 2-0 and Bono blocked a tremendous Messi free kick in stoppage time to deny the Blaugrana a potentially decisive away goal.
The second leg is set for March 3 at Camp Nou. EFE