Estadio de la Cartuja saw a highly-engrossing contest with end-to-end action right till the very last moment.
From the innumerable talking points that the game served up were 17-year-old Gavi’s slick dribble and Ibrahimovic’s filthy tackle on Spanish skipper Azpilicueta.
Catalonian midfielder Gavi showed shades of the legendary Andres Iniesta as he performed a neat La Croqueta past incoming defenders. Having retrieved the ball, the teenager was being pursued by two Swedes in the final third.
The starlet, however, didn’t fret one bit, as he breezed past the first Swede with exemplary ball control, throwing him off balance. He then pulled out Iniesta’s signature manoeuvre to escape a tackle from the second Swedish player, thereby initiating a Spanish counter-attack.
Gavi’s efforts were lauded by Barca and Spanish supporters alike, who drew parallels between the youngster and Don Andres in terms of technical abilities.
Bros, that’s our Gavi dribbling through Sweden in a critical WC Qualifier, he is only 17 years old and Barca have him under Xavi. Don’t Pinch me, don’t wake me up from this dream😂😭— Barça Talk (@BarcaFootba11) November 15, 2021
🎥 Via @ESPNFC
Zlatan seldom fails to make headlines, either with his exceptional finishing skills or bizarre on-field antics.
Unfortunately in this case it was the latter, as the iconic Milan striker was seen throwing himself at Cesar Azpilicueta with a ridiculous shoulder tackle, which grounded the Spanish defender.
The offence occurred 2 minutes prior to the end and was unprovoked as the 40-year-old forward was pictured running into Azpi from out of nowhere, knocking him down as the Spanish team prepared for a corner in the Swedish box.
Zlatan doesn't like Champions League winners 🙆🏿♂️🙆🏿♂️ pic.twitter.com/OlMUhN46LI— Eric Njiru (@EricNjiiru) November 15, 2021
As the match panned out, both the sides posed goal threats but neither was successful in converting the half-chances to break the deadlock, and the game remained goalless up till the final 5 minutes.
Late drama ensued, as the 85th minute proved jubilant for the Spaniards. A potent strike from Dani Olmo’s foot struck the crossbar but landed right in front of the goal, where a vigilant Alvaro Morata smashed it on the rebound to seal the deal for Luis Enrique’s men.
La Roja thus reserved their spot in the upcoming World Cup as they won the game by a marginal difference of 1-0, while the men in Yellow will have to enter the play-offs to rumble for their place in the tournament.