Jordi Alba and Raphinha plundered a goal and assist combo apiece, as Barcelona beat Sevilla 3-0 to stretch their lead at the top of the La Liga standings to eight points and extended their winning run to five straight league games.
The Andalusians had recently fuelled their surprise search for survival by securing successive league victories, but they struggled for a foothold against table-toppers Barcelona, who themselves lacked nothing in first-half fluency.
The goal might have felt inevitable when it finally arrived just before the hour mark, but the goalscorer came as a surprise, with Alba side-footing in from 10 yards after meeting Franck Kessié’s delicious lay-off with perfect timing.
Alba’s maiden goal of 2022/23 already felt decisive in the context of this battle, especially as Xavi’s men had previously won four consecutive top-flight games by a one-goal margin for the first time in their history.
This was the final blow to a Sevilla side who have not found a top-flight win here since 2002, and Barcelona rubbed more salt into the wounds with a near-carbon copy of their killer second goal on 79 minutes, as Alba squared for Raphinha to tuck in a simple finish.
The Barça machine continues to churn, much to the disappointment of the visiting fans who see their struggling team remain right in the heat of the relegation battle.