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'Unlucky' Sergio Ramos own goal helps Barca beat Sevilla
Real Madrid legend Sergio Ramos's own goal handed his old enemy Barcelona a narrow 1-0 win over Sevilla on Friday in La Liga, taking the Catalans top of the table.
Veteran centre-back Ramos deflected Lamine Yamal's header into his own net in the 76th minute to break the deadlock in a tight clash.
The 37-year-old said this week he had planned a special goal celebration if he scored against Barca after his summer return to Spain from Paris Saint-Germain, but putting through his own net was not part of the plan.
"Ramos is a spectacular defender, today he had the misfortune of scoring an own goal but he had a good game," Barcelona coach Xavi told reporters.
"It was unlucky for him but for us it was good."
He continued: "Sergio grows in these atmospheres, it's an unfortunate goal, it hits him and bounces in."
Barcelona's victory helped the Catalans overtake Girona at the top of the table, with their neighbours hosting third-place Real Madrid on Saturday.
Xavi's side were leapfrogged by Girona and Madrid after they drew at Mallorca on Tuesday.
"Tomorrow I have a birthday party, I can't watch the game, imagine that. I'll follow it but I can't watch, it's a pity – may the best team win," said Xavi.
"The only thing that we can control was today, we feel good about it, we deserved more goals and we had a great game against a great team."
Before the game Sevilla caused a stir by announcing their directors would not attend the traditional lunch or sit in the presidential box in protest at Barcelona's involvement in the refereeing corruption scandal.
The Catalan club and some of their former directors were charged with bribery on Thursday.
Xavi started winger Raphinha in attacking midfield with Lamine Yamal on the flank, looking for more dynamism behind striker Robert Lewandowski.
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Joao Felix crashed a shot off the crossbar after a fine run by Joao Cancelo as Barcelona made the early running, but Sevilla were sharp on the counter-attack.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen clawed away an effort from former Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic and a shot by Dodi Lukebakio, while Gavi superbly blocked with his chest to foil Lucas Ocampos.
Xavi's experiment with Raphinha was cut short when the Brazilian went down injured and he was replaced by La Masia graduate Fermin Lopez, who rescued Barcelona at Mallorca with a late strike.
The midfielder was quickly teed up by 16-year-old starlet Yamal but could only manage a soft shot, his one disappointing moment on an otherwise impressive outing.
Gavi's shot was deflected narrowly over as Barcelona turned the screw in search of the opening goal.
Eventually it came, from an unlikely source, with Ramos inadvertently knocking Yamal's header back into the danger area past Orjan Nyland.
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Ramos's touches has been greeted by whistles by Barcelona fans for his history in the Spanish capital, which turned to ironic cheers as his own goal was replayed on the big screen at the Olympic Stadium.
At the age of nine Yamal had stood beside Ramos as a Barcelona mascot in 2016 when the centre-back captained Real Madrid in a Clasico.
Until his own goal, Ramos had played well and helped keep Barcelona at bay.
The defender made a fine block to foil Lewandowski in stoppage time, but by then the damage was done.
"In that move Ramos was defending well, he had bad luck," said Sevilla coach Jose Luis Mendilibar.
"The ball hit him and he didn't have time to react how he wanted."