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Levante UD 0-2 FC Barcelona: Match Review

A recap of Barça's less than convincing win against Levante.

Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

In his pre-game presser, Luis Enrique stated that there would be no rotations for Sunday's clash against Levante. The show of force confirmed Enrique's beliefs that it wouldn't be a walk in the part despite Levante sitting at the root of the table and Barça sitting at the summit.

Levante Barcelona
Possession 30% 70%
Total Shots 11 11
Shots on Target 3 4
Corners 2 5
Fouls 15 10
Offsides 3 3
Yellow Cards 4 3
Red Cards 0 0

With the hot midday sun beaming down on the pitch, the game got underway and there wasn't even two minutes on the clock before Barça had the ball in the net. Andrés Iniesta was floating on the edge of the area before sliding the ball into the path of Lionel Messi. The Argentine flicked it passed the keeper and into the net, however the offside flag was up. Replays showed that Messi was actually onside and the flag was incorrectly raised.

It was a lifeline for Levante who you expect would've collapsed if such an early goal stood. However, the home side were under immense pressure. With eight players sat deep, Levante invited pressure from Barça and the Catalans were looking for the precise pass that would allow a chance on goal.

But the home team weren't without a threat of themselves. There was always a risk of a quick counterattack and with Sergio Busquets being rested, the responsibility of stopping that fell to Sergi Roberto. He was performing well but then was caught too far up the pitch which allowed a chance down the left flank. The ball was whipped in but Deyverson could only direct the cross over the bar.

After that brief scare, it was goalkeeping heroics at the other end that kept the score level. Neymar cut in from the left and curled an effort with his right boot. Diego Mariño dived and got the vital fingertips on it to tip the ball wide.

Four minutes later though and he was powerless to prevent the ball going into the net. Jordi Alba overlapped Iniesta before firing a cross in towards the six yard box. The ball clipped Levante captain, David Navarro's hip and ricocheted into the goal. The skipper's face was a mixture of disappointment and bemusement as he wondered how that ended up in the back of the net.

It was 1-0 Barça and moments later it could've been two. Neymar got to the byline and drilled the ball along the ground to Luis Suárez. But, uncharacteristically, the Uruguayan's shot went wide from a couple of yards away.

Despite going a goal down and sitting at the bottom of the table, Levante weren't throwing in the towel. The tactic of absorbing pressure and then hitting on the break was working well and the chances were coming. A headed flick on from Deyverson allowed Jefferson Lerma to break away. It was a case of having too much time as he seemed to overthink it and dragged his effort wide.

It did not look like a top v bottom clash and Levante were looking just as likely as Barça to get the next goal.

The whistle blew on exactly 45 minutes and Enrique would've been disappointed that his team were not firmly in control. With a midweek game last week and another one on the horizon, it seems that this heavy schedule was catching up with the team.

Both teams emerged from the tunnel with Barça searching for the goal that would kill off the game and ten minutes after the restart, the ball was in the net. Luis Suárez, who was having a quiet game, found Messi. Again the Argentine put it in the net but again he was offside. However this time the call was correct.

Levante were no longer sitting deep and were having just as much control as Barça were. The hosts deserved to be level but couldn't create any real chances.

The 70th minute was approaching and Enrique introduced the man whose presence was visibly missing. Sergio Busquets entered the field in the place of Ivan Rakitić. Like many of the Barça players, Rakitić had struggled to get going in the game. Another player who had a game to forget was Dani Alves. A lot of Levante's danger was coming from Alves' wing and when he was attacking himself, the crosses weren't accurate enough. He was eventually swapped out for Aleix Vidal in the 74th minute.

The team was labouring to the 1-0 win but a counterattack allowed them to double their lead. Messi passed to Suárez and he finished neatly. The whistle blew with Barça getting the win but Levante can feel hard done by as they deserved to get something out of the game.

Roll Call Info
Total comments 319
Total commenters 35
Commenter list Amit99, Anders Thomassen, Anirudh_Kul, AzBlaug, Barca4lif, BarcaGH, Danhory, Delano Heerkens, Dick Darlington, JordanBelfort, Piyush_, Ruy Diaz, ShantanuC, Som-i-Serem, Swn.Culé, TheGodfather21, akash verma, asherdgreat1, clarify7, craig00000, cule-since-1992, el_uruguayo, fib1985, gorgton, henderick.mitchell, kuni95, michael.olivier, mightyobie, nosrejadorable, passenger, semperty, smatiisc, syredeathtrooper, turtletrader, waseem10
Story URLs
# Commenter # Comments
1 Piyush_ 51
2 Delano Heerkens 46
3 JordanBelfort 39
4 semperty 38
5 Anders Thomassen 17
6 mightyobie 17
7 Dick Darlington 15
8 syredeathtrooper 11
9 BarcaGH 11
10 ShantanuC 8
11 el_uruguayo 8
12 Som-i-Serem 7
13 TheGodfather21 6
14 Ruy Diaz 5
15 Barca4lif 5
16 henderick.mitchell 4
17 kuni95 3
18 craig00000 3
19 Amit99 3
20 michael.olivier 2
21 waseem10 2
22 smatiisc 2
23 Anirudh_Kul 2
24 cule-since-1992 2
25 clarify7 2
26 Danhory 1
27 turtletrader 1
28 passenger 1
29 Swn.Culé 1
30 gorgton 1
31 AzBlaug 1
32 nosrejadorable 1
33 fib1985 1
34 akash verma 1
35 asherdgreat1 1
# Recs Commenter Comment Link
2 Dick Darlington they're like vampires
2 Ruy Diaz The referee,
2 AzBlaug In trust, I Lucho.
1 michael.olivier I think we hv to wait for alves contract to be up for him to start playing a somehow decent football
1 el_uruguayo Ref actually started blowing the whistle before the 45 min mark!
1 henderick.mitchell Expect another Lucho talk...
1 Piyush_ I am not sure about big games, his positioning isn't as good as Busi, but he makes that up with his pace.
1 clarify7 I love Dani Alves. He's so bad.
1 Delano Heerkens Neymar and all the bullshit tricks in the box
1 Barca4lif Neymar trying to over dribble :blush:
1 Anders Thomassen Vidal on for Alves
1 Piyush_ prolly had a beer or two before the match.
1 ShantanuC No stoppage time? That's weird.
1 semperty Not saying you're wrong
1 Piyush_ That's Alves for you, from super good to super bad, in just a few games
1 Swn.Culé Levante defender scores an own goal with his ass
1 Delano Heerkens Weren't you warned about that word last time around?
1 Piyush_ Stop using the word rape in the context of football. Come on.
1 gorgton We need MSN in this match
1 Anders Thomassen That's the Suarez we know
1 Piyush_ It was an easy chance.
1 ShantanuC Our eternal enemy comes back...
1 waseem10 but didn't pique got his suspension before atletico madrid game ?
1 Delano Heerkens Guys..
1 JordanBelfort suarez can score from 50 meters but not from 1-5 meters. the most difficult for him is when the goal is empty. he missed 5 times when the goal was empty
1 Anders Thomassen Does Lucho read BB?

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