MADRID — A Xavi free kick and an exquisite lob from Lionel Messi fired Barcelona to a 2-0 win at Sevilla that cut Real Madrid’s lead at the top of La Liga back to seven points on Saturday.
Xavi curled a shot the over wall after 18 minutes and World Player of the Year Messi bagged his 31st of the league campaign soon after.
Having carved a host of first-half chances, however, Barça spent much of the second period pegged back as both goalkeepers Palop and Victor Valdes made top-class saves.
The champions moved on to 63 points from 27 games.
“We played very well in the first half and we scored two goals and could have got more, but the second half was a different story,” Pique told Spanish television.
“We have done our job now we need to see what happens tomorrow. At least they (Real Madrid) know we are behind them and we are still in the fight.”
Barça coach Pep Guardiola sounded a more pessimistic note when he was asked about the side’s chances of catching Real to win their fourth consecutive league crown.
“You should forget about this league, we aren’t going to win it,” he told reporters.
“There is another team that has achieved better results than us.”
Both sides came out at the start of the match wearing shirts in support of Barcelona’s French defender Eric Abidal, who found out he needed a liver transplant during the week. — Reuters