One point was all Barcelona and Levante needed.
Barca needed the point to finally secure the title, and Levante needed a point to secure their La Liga status.
Guardiola may have said that he plays to win, and he was not going to rest players, but the team selection suggested otherwise. Iniesta, Pedro and Puyol did not start, and the latter didn’t even make the bench. Great news though, in the form of Eric Abidal starting.
Just a reminder, it has only been 2 months since a diagnosis of a liver tumour threatened to end his career.
The game seemed destined to finish a draw, as up until the 27th minute, there hadn’t been a clear-cut chance. In fact, the whole of the first half didn’t create a clear-cut chance.
Keita opened the scoring on the 28th minute, but that wasn’t even a chance! What we saw was a run forward from Keita, and the genius of Xavi took over. He floated a ball over the Levante defence, and Keita finished it with a sumptuous header.
A half-chance converted, and Barca looked set to coast through the game.
That lax attitude, would nearly prove their downfall.
A ball over the top. Pique failed to deal with it, and a mix-up with Valdes allowed Felipe Caicedo to tuck the ball home, into an open goal.
The score at the half was 1-1. Both teams were getting what they needed. The only thing that was evident, was just how much Barcelona miss Carles Puyol.
Second half, and both teams appeared to mutually decide that a draw was OK. Messi nearly spoilt this arrangement, and well, he nearly did it in some style.
He picked up the ball, ran forward, into 3 Levante defenders, spun on the ball, slalomed past a fourth and MESSI…
Off the post.
It would have been the perfect goal, one that would have shown any late-comers to watching Barca that this is how the Blaugrana go about things. Shame the goal wasn’t a few inches wider.
Abidal came off on the hour, and looks set to start again on May 28th, and considering his “injury”, that is remarkable. And credit to the Levante crowd, applauding Eric off the field.
Messi again tried to break the deadlock, but his shot was deflected just wide after gliding past another couple of Levante defenders. All in all though, it was a win-win situation.
My man of the match is without doubt, Eric Abidal. He started for the first time in a couple of months, and looked much better than “Waka Waka” Gerard Pique. Bar Puyol, Abidal is the most inspirational Barcelona player, and his performance today reflected that.
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