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Levante 5 - 4 Barcelona

Levante stun Barcelona in nine-goal epic to end unbeaten run

The form team in the league welcomed newly-crowned double winners to the Estadio Ciutat de València and did what no other side could in LaLiga Santander.

Levante players celebrate their 5-4 win over FC Barcelona in LaLiga Santander
Biel AliñoEFE

Levante vs Barcelona: match report

With El Clásico out of the way and just two games remaining against lowly Levante and Real Sociedad, most punters had Ernesto Valverde's Liga and Copa del Rey winners as nailed on to make history. No team had ever gone a full season in the Spanish top flight unbeaten...and that will now remain the case.

Despite sitting just outside the now-condemned relegation positions, Levante were given some hope of causing an upset based on their upturn in form since new manager Paco López arrived in March. But scoring five had never been on the cards. Two goals from Boateng in the first half had sparked hope but a Coutinho reply shortly before the break suggested normal service would be resumed. No such thing.

This is what it feels like to be 4-1 up on Barça
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This is what it feels like to be 4-1 up on BarçaDavid GonzálezDIARIO AS

A blistering start to the second half saw the Granotas (The Frogs) leap into a three-goal lead before the 50th minute had ticked over as Boateng completed his hat-trick and Bardhi joined in the fun. Then in the 55th minute Bardhi grabbed his brace and disbelief overcame those in the stadium and the watching millions. Surely Barça couldn't find a way back.

Coutinho had two more within ten minutes and then Luis Suárez slotted home a penalty to reduce the deficit to just one. With 20 minutes still remaining, and pressure building on the Levante defence, the record streak looked like it would go to the final game of the season. Chances came and went for both sides, some clear cut, but no more goals were added. As much as it was a fairytale finish for the home fans, Barça players will have a real flatness after getting so close to taking their place in the history books. They'll just have to suffice with a league title and cup winners medal.

Levante vs Barcelona: how it happened

Levante vs Barcelona: match preview

Levante are safe. Barcelona are champions. Not much to play for then, you may argue. But even when you put to one side professional pride, playing for a place in the manager's thoughts for next season, playing for a place in another manager's thoughts for next season, and places at a World Cup in a month to be selected, there is enough to whet the viewing appetite in Sunday evening's match up.

On-form Levante

A win for the hosts would put them onto 36 points, level with Espanyol and Celta Vigo and three points above Athletic Bilbao. Mixing it with those teams would have been seen as an impressive campaign as it commenced, despite them all faltering somewhat, and being well clear of the relegation zone with two games to go a positive situation to be in. More than that, Levante are hot right now: Paco López has them playing very nicely and they come into this on the back of four wins. Could little Levante do what no other Liga side could this season?

Iniesta and history

Valverde has challenged his team to become the first invincibles in Spanish football but has chosen the penultimate game of the campaign to rest their talisman, Lionel Messi. A 5-1 crushing of Villarreal last time out suggested the blaugranas are keen to go into the history books and with Iniesta having just 180 minutes left of his Liga career, he and his teammates don't want to fluff their lines. Coutinho and Dembele will get another chance to show what fans can expect once the Spanish legend hangs up his Barça boots with chances for others to shine likely too.


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