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Pedri’s magic continues to lift Barça (1-0)

BarcelonaIf Xavi Hernández is the teacher, Pedri is his best student. The young Canarian is destined to protect the legacy of Johan Cruyff, Josep Guardiola and Xavi. What has happened from generation to generation, the ten commandments of Barcelona. Where you can read that winning and playing well are not a contradiction. On the contrary, it is an obligation. The boy, who grew up haggling chairs in the bar where his relatives had a Barça fan club, was in charge of putting an end to Sevilla’s resistance and allowed Barça to move up to second place, with one game less. Only Madrid is left.

As small as he is, thin and with a confused face, Pedri is a worthy heir to those players who have made Barça a special club. In the Barça family tree he appears just below Xavi, Iniesta and Messi. The game goes by, but he is a quiet leader, able to score important goals when he plays, when his teammates have a bad time. He is a chosen one. It’s special. His goal gave continuity to a few days where everything seems to be going well for Barça.

In football you can win in different ways. In Madrid everything was easy, against Sevilla we had to grit our teeth. It can be enjoyed one way or the other, if the ending is happy. After a big party at the Santiago Bernabeu, playing against Sevilla was like going to a dentist who has to remove a toothpick without anesthesia. Julen Lopetegui’s team has been left without arguments to think it can win the league, but it remains one of the best defensive teams in Europe. He can take you out of the way when he covers spaces, with the players helping each other around the goalkeeper. Xavi’s starting line-up, which Barça fans already know by heart, with the new Dani Alves on the wing to attack better, ran aground against a rival who arrived with a lot of casualties and licking his wounds. having been eliminated in Europe. One of those scenarios that technicians like Xavi don’t like, because the euphoric fan took it for granted that it would be another Barça festival. And the reality is, in football, they give you few gifts. And even if you have talent, it’s up to you to grind stone.

And so it was. It’s not every day it’s Friday and not every game Xavi’s Barça will turn their rivals into a toy, especially a Sevilla very well worked in defense, with the foundations well laid. A style quite opposite to that of Barça, but which allows him to stand up even if he is harassed. And look, from the start, both Ferran Torres and Dembélé could have scored a goal that would surely have paved the way, but by inches their shots went wide. And Sevilla breathed, with good cons that used to end when Piqué and Araujo appeared in action, two giants. Ter Stegen had no job. The Girona exporter, Bono, didn’t have much either. And when he had it, he denied the goal to Aubameyang stretching like a cat, in one of the few defensive mistakes of the Sevillians. Barça had to win on merit, not on the mistakes of a drowning opponent.

But the talent was indicating the script that would follow the game. Bono knew that sooner or later he would have to work overtime, and so it was, with good stops for Ferran and a header from Araujo. Piqué also shook the crossbar with a header at the exit of a corner, proving that Xavi also takes care of the notebook in strategy plays. The match started like a game of chess, with Xavi eating a bishop of Lopetegui and the latter punishing the Barça pawns, but it was becoming a pediment, with Barça repeatedly pounding against the defense of a Sevilla that has not won a league at the Camp Nou since 2002, when Xavi was a player and Gaspart was fired with a handkerchief. Another era. Now in the Laporta market, satisfied with how things were going, he was getting nervous. Punching against Sevilla did not fit into anyone’s script.

A genius on the grass

But if anyone hesitated, it was Pedri who made him fall off his horse. This Barça has football and has a star. He has a giant heart and a desire to crunch the world. When Sevilla took out as much water as they could, it was Pedri’s waist again who handed down the sentence. As he did in Turkey against Galatasaray, with two hip blows he dropped, as if they were ripe fruit, two rival defenses. And with a dry shot from outside the area he sent the ball to the only place where Bono, tall as a Saint Paul, could not reach. There were 15 minutes left, but Sevilla knew they would already score in Barcelona. That there was nothing to do. In the first round of the championship, when Barça was walking like a soul in pain, lost, the Sevillians dreamed of winning the League. In the second, it is Barça who are still getting excited, aware that Madrid, injured since Xavi’s team hit him four times at the Bernabéu, is lame. Pedri’s Barça, on the other hand, are flying.

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