For the eighth time in 11 years and the second straight season, Barcelona are champions of La Liga. The Blaugrana dominated the first 60 minutes of their match against Levante at Camp Nou, and a Lionel Messi goal in that period was enough to clinch the victory and the championship.
It was abundantly clear from the very beginning that Barça wanted to be champions, and they started to attack immediately thanks to a very focused and dynamic front trio of Ousmane Dembélé, Luis Suárez and especially Philippe Coutinho, who constantly moved around the final third and fired shots at goal. Barça were sharp and creative with the ball, and they just could not find a way to beat Aitor Fernández in the Levante goal. The visitors parked the bus from the start and offered no danger, and all they did was survive.
That really was the whole story of the first half, and at halftime the only question was if Barça would be able to find the winner in the final 45 minutes.
Things didn’t change to start the second half: Barça continued to dominate the ball, attack the Levante box and fire shots at goal. Lionel Messi came on for Coutinho at halftime, and the captain was instantly involved in the offensive moves. And after 60 minutes of pressure, Barça finally found a goal: Arturo Vidal won a challenge at the edge of the box and the ball fell to Messi, who easily beat his defender and scored the opener.
Levante enjoyed 10 good minutes after conceding and caused the Barça defense a few problems, but the Blaugrana weathered the storm and continued to create chances. As time went on, however, it was key for Barça to score a second goal and kill the game against a good attacking side. They didn’t, and Levante came extremely close to an equalizer, even hitting the post with two minutes to go.
But Barça survived, and the final whistle came to end the game and officially crown the best team in Spain as back-to-back La Liga champions. Well done, boys. You are awesome.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Vidal, Rakitic, Arthur (Busquets); Dembélé (Roberto), Suárez, Coutinho (Messi)
Goal: Messi (62’)
Levante: Fernández; Coke, Vezo, Rober, Luna; Vukcevic (Bardhi); Jason, Rochina (Martí), Campaña, Simon (Morales); Mayoral