Published: Mon, May 14, 2018
Sport | By

Barcelona's unbeaten season ended by five-star Levante

Barcelona's unbeaten season ended by five-star Levante

The game would end 5-4 to the hosts, with Barca's dreams of an unbeaten season shattered in their first league defeat in 44 games.

The defeat also put the spotlight on Valverde's decision to rest his serial match-winner Messi - not for the first time this season, but still a rare occurrence - so close to achieving the unbeaten domestic campaign.

The La Liga and Copa del Rey champions trailed 5-1 after an hour and still came within a whisker of a sensational comeback as Coutinho's second and third goals, and a Luis Suarez penalty, set up a grandstand finish. There was a very real possibility that they could become the first team to ever go a full season unbeaten in Spain.

This defensive collapse was reminiscent of their Champions League meltdown against Roma, which has soured an otherwise successful campaign.

Emmanuel Boateng opened the scoring on nine minutes before doubling the lead on the half-hour mark.

Barcelona were beaten 5-4 in a remarkable game played at the Estadi Ciutat de València on Sunday.

Paco Lopez, the coach who has led Levante's turnaround of winning 25 of a possible 30 points since he took over in March, said that beating Barcelona proved "nothing is impossible".

Boateng strolled his way through a sleeping Barca defence and rounded goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to double Levante's lead in the 31st although Coutinho's strike from distance pulled one back before the break. The Brazilian grabbed his hat-trick, firing in a shot from outside the box to make it 5-3 before Suarez tucked away a penalty for Barca's fourth after Boateng was penalized for tripping Sergio Busquets in the box.

Levant took an early lead through Frimpong in the 9th minute, finding himself on the end of Jose Luis Moraes' cut back after the Spanish midfielder showed tremendous pace and agility to evade the attention of three players to drive to the byline before cutting back for the 20-year old youngster to blast home.

But without Messi even to bring on, Levante withstood the late onslaught and should even have scored a sixth only for Ruben Rochina to prode wide after a terrible backpass by Busquets.

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