NEWS
Sunday May 13 2018
Barca beaten in nine-goal thriller

A nine-goal thriller saw Levante hold on for a famous 5-4 victory over Barcelona, whose unbeaten campaign came to an end on Sunday.

See how the match unfolded at Ciutat de Valencia with our liveblog!

Emmanuel Boateng's mask didn't stop him from scoring a hat-trick for Levante, who took a 5-1 lead with Enis Bardhi netting a brace, before staving off a Barca comeback after Coutinho's treble and a Luis Suarez penalty.

The Catalans rested Lionel Messi against Las Granotas, who had won seven of their last nine games under Paco Lopez - in his first-ever stint as a professional Coach.

However, they made the worst possible start when Jose Luis Morales drilled in a cross for Boateng to notch up the first of his three goals in just the third minute.

Ousmane Dembele almost pulled one back with a shot that deflected just wide of Oier OIazabal's goal, yet Barca's defence ended up ball-watching again as Sasa Lukic spilled through Boateng, who shrugged off Nelson Semedo, before tapping into an empty net.

The Blaugrana did pull one back through Coutinho, who wrongfooted Oier with a rocket after Gerard Pique had shown real bravery and composure to reach the edge of Levante's box and lay off the Brazilian.

Barca appeared to have got themselves back into the game, but Bardhi changed all that just seconds into the restart, making amends for slamming the bar from a couple of yards out by curling a sublime effort past Ter Stegen.

That would be the first of a three-goal salvo inside 10 minutes as Boateng angled a finish past Ter Stegen from Antonio Luna's slide-rule pass for his hat-trick, before Bardhi calmly slotted a one-on-one with German after yet another Barca lapse at the back.

Incredibly, the visitors hit back with a salvo of their own as Coutinho mopped up a deflection in the Levante box and smashed the ball home on the half-volley to complete a treble of strikes.

The comeback then looked to be on, when substitute Jefferson Lerma clipped Sergio Busquets from a corner, allowing Suarez to convert the resulting penalty and cut the deficit to just the single goal.

However, the Uruguayan failed to add to his tally, failing to keep his free header down, while a cross fell agonisingly behind Paco Alcacer, who also had a goal-bound attempt hacked away.

With Barca running out of steam and their hopes of La Liga's first-ever invincible season dashed, an awful backpass to Ter Stegen was snuffed out by Ruben Rochina, but their former striker sliced his finish from a couple of yards out.

Levante 5-4 Barcelona

Boateng 9, 30, 49, Bardhi 46, 56 (L) Coutinho 38, 59, 64, Suarez pen 71 (B)

Levante: Oier; Coke, Postigo, Rober, Luna; Morales (Rochina 85), Lukic, Campana, Bardhi; Roger (Lerma 69), Boateng (Pazzini 77)

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Yerry, Vermaelen (Pique 31), Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta (Denis 60); Dembele (Alcacer 60), Suarez, Coutinho

Referee: Melero Lopez

Football Italia website