Barcelona’s title push fizzles with draw against Levante
Valencia, Spain, May 11 (EFE).- FC Barcelona led Levante 0-2 at half-time here Tuesday only to end up settling for a 3-3 draw, a result that could spell the end of their hopes of winning the LaLiga title.
The Blaugrana are second on 76 points, 1 behind leaders Atletico Madrid and 1 better than defending champions Real Madrid, while both of the capital clubs have a game in hand.
With their impressive comeback, 13th-place Levante improved to 40 points, enough to assure the team of remaining in the top flight for another season.
Barcelona began the contest on fire. Pedri fired wide on a chance in the 2nd minute and forced a save from Levante goalkeeper Aitor Fernandez just two minutes later.
Levante’s one chance of the first half was a strike by Jose Luis Morales in the 18th minute that sailed over the cross-bar.
Fernandez stopped Barcelona defender Clement Lenglet five minutes later, but could do nothing about Lionel Messi’s volley in the 25th minute to give the visitors the 0-1 lead.
It was the 29th league goal of the season for the Argentine great, who is all but certain to claim the Pichichi Trophy as the top scorer in LaLiga for a record-extending eighth time and the fifth year in a row.
Barely 10 minutes later, Ousmane Dembele beat Levante’s Oscar Duarte to a ball from Messi and then cut back for Pedri to make it 0-2.
Barça relaxed in the second half and Levante began to work their way back into the game. A cross from Morales found Roger Marti in the box in the 50th minute, but keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen dealt easily with the header.
At the other end, Frenkie de Jong chipped the ball over the advancing Fernandez in the 55th minute only to watch it land on the top of Levante net.
Gonzalo Melero pulled back a goal for the hosts seconds later with a header from close range after outworking Sergi Roberto.
Levante went level at the hour mark with a goal by Morales, who scored from 20 yards out. Dembele reclaimed the advantage for Barcelona in the 64th minute, blasting the ball past Fernandez.
With seven minutes left in regulation, another lapse on the Barça back line allowed Sergio Leon to bring the home side back on terms with an assist from Toño.
The visiting side pressed desperately for a match-winner, but failed to put another shot on target. EFE