Barca edge past plucky Levante

David Navarro’s own goal and a late finish from Luis Suarez were enough for Barcelona to run out 2-0 winners at Levante in Sunday’s early La Liga kick-off.

Luis Enrique, overseeing his 100th game for the Catalans, made it clear at his pre-match Press conference that he would not be rotating his squad at Ciutat de Valencia, but Sergio Busquets was the exception as Sergi Roberto came in for the midfielder.

Elsewhere, Dani Alves, Javier Mascherano and Ivan Rakitic, all of whom were rested for the 7-0 demolition of Valencia in the Copa del Rey semi-finals midweek, were reinstated, with Jeremy Mathieu, Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan demoted to the bench.

Levante, meanwhile, wereable to include deadline-day arrival Medjani as a sub, despite reports claiming he would not be able to feature for another fortnight, while Orban was neither risked from the outset.

Inside the opening two minutes, Andres Iniesta sent a strike from outside the box inches over Diego Marino's crossbar, before Lionel Messi was adjudged marginally offside after he put the ball into the back of the net.

The openings acted as a wake-up call for the Valencians, who had a great chance of pulling a goal back themselves, had the lively Deyverson’sshot on the end of Morales' cutback at the near post been more accurate by half a yard.

Nonetheless, moments after Marino got an important hand to Neymar’s curling shot in the area, Barca did break the deadlock with more than a hint of luck as Navarro turned Jordi Alba's clipped cross at the left-hand byline into his own net.

A misjudgment then allowed Neymar in, but Suarez couldn’t guide the Brazilian's low cross past Marino at the near post, despite having the goal at his mercy, and La Blaugrana avoided paying for their miss, when Jefferson Lerma could only drag his one-on-one with Claudio Bravo several yards wide of the goalkeeper's left-hand post.

Barca’s high line at the back continued to play a risky game, and they were infiltrated again with a simple ball over the top from Lerma. Morales then did everything right as he headed the ball down and chased it through, but his angled finish crashed against Bravo's right-hand post.

With the sun shining brightly as the afternoon closed in on proceedings, very little attacking football was played by either team after the break, although Rakitic should have done better with his near-post header from a corner, which Marino instinctively kept out.

Nonetheless, Levante were punished for their late show of pressure as Messi split the home defence in two, having picked out the run of Suarez, in bundles of space, who netted his one-on-one with Marino via the outside of his right boot.

Levante 0-2 Barcelona

Navarro og 21, Suarez 90

Levante: Marino; Tono, Feddal, Navarro (Ghilas 69), Ivan; Simao, Verza (Cuero 77), Morales, Lerma; Rossi, Deyverson (Camarasa 69)

Barcelona: Bravo; Alves (Vidal 74), Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Sergi, Rakitic (Busquets 68), Iniesta; Messi, Suarez, Neymar

Referee: Perez Montero

Tags La Liga. Athletic Bilbao