The title battle for La Liga has entered the final three games, with Barcelona the first of the contenders to do battle in this matchday. The Blaugrana travel to Levante for a late Tuesday evening kick-off, and will go momentarily top should they pull off a win. They’re currently third in the table, level on points with Real Madrid and two off Atletico Madrid. Levante are in 14th, between Alaves and Valencia.
Ronald Koeman opted for what looked like a 3-5-2 shape before kick-off, starting Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal behind a back three of Ronald Araujo, Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet. The midfield three will be composed of Pedri, Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong, with Ousmane Dembele and Jordi Alba on either flank. Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann will lead the line in the final third.
Barcelona took the lead in the 25th minute, a real nerve-settler in a must-win game. In what will be a surprise to nobody, it was their Argentine captain Messi who dealt the blow. Pique played the ball to Pedri who in turn found Alba, who floated in a ball that fell to Messi after a deflection.
He made no mistake finishing, producing a neat volley. Pedri doubled their lead in the 34th. Messi started the move, carrying forward before playing in Dembele on the right, who finally pulled it back for Pedri to finish, and it looked like Barcelona were in cruise control by the break.
But things changed in the 57th minute, when Gonzalo Melero’s header beat Ter Stegen and set up a nervy final half-hour, and went from bad to worse two minutes later when El Comandante, Jose Luis Morales, got his team back on level terms with a veritable golazo. Barcelona responded swiftly, however, with Dembele scoring a rocket after a loose ball fell to him just inside the box in the 64th minute to regain his team’s lead.