(Reuters) - Barcelona moved provisionally top of LaLiga with a 1-0 home win over Sevilla on Friday after veteran defender Sergio Ramos accidentally bundled the ball into his own net in the second half.
Ramos, a former Real Madrid captain playing his old rivals Barcelona again for the first time since 2020, was helpless when he attempted to block 16-year-old Lamine Yamal's header into the box and saw the ball creep over the line in the 76th minute.
Ramos, who once held young Yamal's hand in the tunnel when the Barca forward was a club mascot, received a hostile welcome when his early touches were met with loud jeers and whistles from the home fans.
But a loud cheer rang out at the Montjuic Olympic Stadium, Barca's temporary home ground, after the 37-year-old's own goal.
"When the opponent accumulates so many people in the box it's very difficult to defend for so long without making a mistake. Sergio (Ramos) was there to clear the ball, it was a whimsical goal," said Sevilla coach Jose Luis Mendilibar.
"We thought Barcelona were going to play a different system. They accumulated a lot of people up front and that made it very difficult for us to get out of the pressure," he added.
The result moved Barca one point clear of Girona, who are second with a game in hand, while Sevilla are 12th.
Tension between the two clubs ran high before kickoff when Sevilla said they would have no representation in the stadium's VIP box due to the ongoing 'Negreira case'.
Barcelona are under investigation for suspected "active bribery" as part of a probe into suspected corruption spanning two decades at the refereeing committee where Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira was vice-president.
Barcelona described it as an "unjustified and inappropriate attack" on the club, saying Sevilla were denying them their right to a defence in the legal process.
On the pitch, Barca had a bright start with Joao Felix beating the keeper in the 22nd minute with a powerful shot which crashed off the underside of the bar and stayed out while at the other end, Gavi made a goal line block to deny Lucas Ocampos.
After a goalless first half, Barca switched gears and looked far more threatening.
Robert Lewandowski was denied by a last-man tackle from Juanlu Sanchez when the striker was through on goal while Gavi saw his header narrowly miss the target.
But the complexion of the game changed after Ramos scored the own goal and though Sevilla also had their chances, Barca managed to keep a clean sheet and maintain their unbeaten start to the season.
"It's just the circumstances of life. It is also to Sergio's (Ramos) credit that he is still playing. It's a shame about the own goal, which was in our favour, but he's a great player and a professional, still at the top level," said Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez.