The damage could have been far greater had the home side not been so wasteful in attack, while Barca rarely looked like striking down the other end until Messi came off the bench to replace Ousmane Dembele in the 58th minute. "Every time he touches the ball he is decisive, but we all knew that already," said Barca coach Ernesto Valverde, who could not help but bring up what happened to Argentina against Spain while Messi was absent. "Every team would be different with or without Messi, and I won't mention what happened a few days ago," Valverde added. "We had planned for him to play even though he still has a bit of discomfort. He had gone a bit of time without playing and he needed to play."
Lionel Messi comes on as a sub when Barcelona are 2-0 down at Sevilla. Completely changes the game & scores late equalizer to make it 2-2 to keep Barca's unbeaten season going. Zlatan: hold my beer...March 31, 2018
Barca were immediately lifted by the mere presence of their all-time top scorer and moments after he entered the fray as a substitute Luis Suarez hit the post before Ivan Rakitic struck the same post. Suarez pulled a goal back in the 88th minute and 57 seconds later Messi met a cutback from Philippe Coutinho first time, smashing the ball under the grasp of Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico and salvaging Barca's long unbeaten league run, which was stretched to 37 games, one shy of a La Liga record. "That is what Leo is all about as he keeps on showing us again and again," Suarez said of his irrepressible strike partner. "The team just kept on working and didn't give up and it was down to him to score the equaliser."
Lionel Messi has now scored in each of his last seven games for Barcelona. ⚽️ ⚽️⚽️ ⚽️ ⚽️ ⚽️⚽️ ⚽️ ⚽️ To the rescue. ? pic.twitter.com/TLklaqYkHq— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 31, 2018