Barcelona's Messi grimaces in pain after a tackle during their Spanish first division soccer match against Sevilla in Seville.
Barcelona's Messi grimaces in pain after a tackle during their Spanish first division soccer match against Sevilla in Seville. Reuters

It was a crucial weekend in the Spanish La Liga as Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw at Sevilla cutting their lead at the top to five points after Real Madrid had cruised to a 2-0 victory against lowly Hercules on Saturday.

At Sevilla, Barca dominated the first half and should have scored more than the 1-0 lead they took into half-time. Despite being forced into an early substitution, with Pedro coming off injured to be replaced by the young Bojan Krkic, Barca were all over the home side.

Messi had the ball in the net with beautifully curved free kick at the eighth minute, but it was ruled out for Sergio Busquets' foul in the box. Krkic came on for Pedro and with 30 minutes on the clock, he was on the scoresheet after a typical Barcelona move. Andres Iniesta fould Dani Alves in the box with a sublime chip, and the Brazilian right back unselfishly squared for Krkic to tap in.

David Villa came close when let through before Messi saw his header strike the cross bar after a cross from Xavi. The Argentine was left injured when let through, after Javi Varas came into him heavily, though he got the ball. At half-time, Messi seemed injured as he walked into the tunnel. Whatever treatment he recieved worked though, as he seemed okay when he came out for the second half.

However, Sevilla stepped up their game and four minutes after the interval, Jesus Navas nodded in the equalizer after some exquisite work from Alvaro Negredo down the byline. Barca looked weak as Negredo blasted high with only Victor Valdes to beat after which Kanoute came close on two occasions.

With 15 miuntes left, Navas missed a glorious opportunity to grab his second after his tap was well-saved by a stretched Victor Valdes. At the other end, Messi went on a trademark run, beating several defenders, but saw his shot drag wide, while Iniesta struck the post with a long-range effort.

It ended 1-1, and it seemed the right result. Guardialo will be happy with a point despite Real Madrid's 2-0 victory on Saturday.

Both goals were scored by Karim Benzema, one in each half, as he took his tally to eight goals in six matches, giving Madrid their 24th consecutive home win in all competitions.

The win on Saturday meant Madrid were behind by four points but with Barca grabbing a point at Sevilla, the gap went up to five. It makes for an interesting climax to the La Liga season, with both teams having played 28 games each.