Messi inspires Barcelona's comeback win over Sevilla
Messi levelled just before halftime following a slew of missed chances from the hosts.
A mesmeric Lionel Messi helped Barcelona to come from behind and beat Sevilla 2-1 in a thrilling encounter on Sunday as the champions kept the pressure on La Liga leaders Real Madrid.
Barca were put under immense pressure from kick off and fell behind to Vitolo's 15th minute strike.
Messi levelled just before halftime following a slew of missed chances from the hosts. After the break, Barcelona took control and Luis Suarez fired in the winner in the 61st minute.
Barca stay two points behind Real, who lead the standings with 27 points after beating Leganes 3-0 thanks to a first half double from Gareth Bale and a strike from Alvaro Morata.
Villarreal beat Real Betis 2-0 to moved up to third, three points behind Barca. Fifth-placed Sevilla, on 21 points, trail Atletico Madrid on goal difference.
Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli has utterly transformed Sevilla's style since taking charge in June, turning them into a relentless pressing unit who attack at a ferocious pace.
His side's meeting with a Barcelona side smarting from defeat at Manchester City in midweek promised a lot and lived up to the hype as a breathtaking end-to-end encounter ensued.
Luciano Vietto broke free towards goal in the opening minute, although his shot lacked the power to beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the Barca goal, while at the other end Messi saw a low shot tipped away by Sergio Rico.
Sevilla opened the scoring as Vietto's through ball caught Sergi Roberto unawares and Vitolo swooped in to slot past Ter Stegen.
Sevilla grew in confidence and looked to grab another, Vietto firing wide from a tight angle and Vitolo crashing over the bar.
Barca drew level following a wonderful break started by Messi and involving Denis Suarez and Neymar which the Argentine finished off with a sidefooted low finish.
Sevilla were punctured by the goal and Barca bossed the second half. Ivan Rakitic and Messi both shot at Rico but Suarez showed more composure, sliding the ball through the goalkeeper's legs after Messi had teed him up to put Barca ahead.
Sevilla kept piling on the pressure as Steven Nzonzi came close to levelling with a header from a corner, but Barca clung on to claim a confidence-boosting win that looked hard to fathom in the first half.
Earlier on Sunday, Madrid got off to a slow start against neighbours Leganes, but Bale put them in charge in the 37th minute.
The Wales international raced onto a through ball from Isco that split the visiting defence and rounded goalkeeper Jon Serantes to tuck the ball inside the near post from a tight angle.
Bale then cashed in on poor defending from a free kick to hit the second on the stroke of halftime, just beating Serantes to the loose ball from close range to score his 150th career goal.
Morata, standing in for the injured Karim Benzema, rounded off the win in the 76th minute as Real preserved their unbeaten run in all competitions and also kept a first clean sheet in 11 games.