Barcelona will not be the first team in La Liga history to go the entire season unbeaten. The Blaugrana lost their undefeated streak thanks to a 5-4 win by Levante on Sunday night. The hosts got out to a 5-1 lead, the champions made a furious attempt at a historic comeback, but just couldn’t quite complete the job in the final road trip of the season.
Barça made a strong start to the game, dominating possession and forcing Levante to defend deep inside their half. But once Emmanuel Boateng scored against the run of playing to give the hosts a 1-0 lead, Barça fell apart and saw the home team have numerous chances to score.
When they had the ball, the Blaugrana were poor in possession, passing the ball sideways and lacking any real creativity. Things went from bad to worse when Boateng rounded Ter Stegen and scored the second, and it really looked like the champions were on the ropes. Then Gerard Piqué made a desperate run from back to front, and Philippe Coutinho scored a beautiful strike from the edge of the box to bring Barça back into the game.
At halftime, the Catalan giants were playing badly, but somehow they had a real chance to stay unbeaten. They just needed to play a lot better.
Any halftime talk from Ernesto Valverde went right out the window thanks to a spectacular strike from Enis Bardhi, and Levante were up two goals once again. As if things couldn’t get any worse, Boateng scored on the counter to complete his hat-trick and effectively end the match.
The match wasn’t over, but that was just because Levante wanted to score more, and they did on another counter attack that Bardhi finished beautifully to make it FIVE for the hosts. Philippe Coutinho then scored a second goal to make things less horrible for the visitors, and maybe give Barça hope of a comeback with 30 minutes left?
You know what? Maybe Barça would come back! Philippe Coutinho completed his hat-trick with ANOTHER strike from outside the box that deflected home (perhaps off Luis Suárez), and Barça had 25 minutes to find two goals. They found one when Sergio Busquets was fouled inside the box and Luis Suárez buried the penalty, and now they had 20 minutes to score one goal.
Unfortunately they couldn’t do it, and Levante held on to a fantastic win. Barça’s unbeaten streak is over, and a historic season will now be just a title-winning season. Which isn’t bad, but it could have been so much better.
Levante: Oier; Coke, Rober, Postigo, Luna; Morales (Rochina), Lukic, Campaña, Bardhi; Roger (Lerma), Boateng (Pazzini)
Goals: Boateng (9’, 30’, 49’), Bardhi (46’, 56’)
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Mina, Vermaelen (Piqué), Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta (Denis); Dembélé (Alcácer), Suárez, Coutinho
Goals: Coutinho (38’, 59’, 64’), Suárez (71’)