Lionel Messi
File photo of Lionel Messi

One hour into the match between Levante and Barcelona on Saturday, the score read 1-0 in favour of the Catalans. Levante did not have a single shot on target. Eight minutes later, the shot on target column read “three” for Levante and so did the goals column. As for Barcelona, the scorecard remained the same but their faces did not.

Lionel Messi had scored his 500 goal with his left foot when he converted a penalty in the 38th minute, and it looked good enough to take them through untill the 60th minute.

A weak clearance from Gerard Pique and a loose header form Perez resulted in Campana and Mayoral putting the ball past Marc-Andre Ter Stegen. Hardly a few minutes later, Radoja made it three when his effort took a cruel deflection off Sergio Busquets.

“Everything unravelled,” Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde said after the match. “We didn’t start the second half well, we weren’t creating chances and although they weren’t either they suddenly scored two goals. The third one hurt us a lot.”

 


Barcelona, for a few moments, thought a comeback was on the cards before Antoine Griezmann was ruled offside.

Barcelona still remain on top of the LaLiga table with as Real Madrid and Athletico Madrid also dropped points at the weekend.

Reacting to the shock defeat, veteran mid-fielder Sergio Busquets said: ““There’s no explanation. It was an even game. We did the most difficult part, putting ourselves ahead. But they landed a blow and it did us damage.”

“They play with a lot of people in attack. On one of the goals, we couldn’t get the second ball. We were on a good run It was a very fair game. I think that the game was equal but the result was excessive.”

Match highlights:

Suarez’s injury & Dembele’s absence:

Another worrying incident in the match for Barcelona was when Luis Suarez was taken off in the 41st minute owing to an injury. That is when people began to realize the absence of Osuman Dembele in the squad.

Talking asked about Dembele’s omission, Valverde said: “It was a decision which I took. He hasn’t been playing and I decided to stick with the forwards who played the last games. If Dembélé is with us and we lose, I’ll be asked about Ansu… It’s always like that.”