Barcelona missed a huge opportunity to go top of La Liga once again on Tuesday night as Levante held them to a costly 3-3 draw courtesy of a late equaliser.
Ronald Koeman’s men took their time to find their rhythm but eventually broke the deadlock in the 25th minute when Lionel Messi acrobatically volleyed in Jordi Alba’s deflected cross. La Blaugrana doubled their advantage just nine minutes later after Ousmane Dembele latched onto Messi’s through ball and cut it back for Pedri to tap in and make it 2-0.
Levante’s threat on the break finally paid dividends in the 57th minute, as they managed to pull one back courtesy of Gonzalo Melero’s header. The hosts then shocked their visitors on the hour mark as they levelled the scoreline. Messi’s misplaced pass was latched onto by Jose Morales who, after a beautiful one-two with Roger Marti, converted excellently past a helpless Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Koeman’s men regained their composure quickly, however, and retook the lead in the 64th minute. The ball broke the way of Dembele in the penalty area, before the Frenchman rifled emphatically into the top corner.
But La Blaugrana were pegged back once again as Levante equalised in the 83rd minute. Tono got up the left flank well before fizzing a ball into the path of Sergio Leon, who finished cleverly at the near post to steal a point for his side.
The draw moves Barcelona up to second but leaves the door open to Atletico Madrid (who play on Wednesday) and Real Madrid (who play on Thursday) to move four and two points clear of La Blaugrana respectively after matchday 36. Now, let’s get to the Barcelona ratings.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) – 5/10 – Was forced into a couple of good saves but really couldn’t do much about the Levante goals.
Ronald Araujo (CB) – 6/10 – Showed a lot of pace and intelligence to cover well for Dembele on the right. Was very composed and solid but, worryingly, came off at the break after sustaining a knock.
Gerard Pique (CB) – 6/10 – Alert to the threat of the counter and positioned himself well throughout to bring an end to any promising moves, making six interventions.
Clement Lenglet (CB) – 6/10 – Didn’t have all that much defending to do on his side but was good on the ball, stepping up to find runners in behind and often released Alba down the left.
Ousmane Dembele (RWB) – 8/10 – Maintained a high position and had one of his most effective games of the campaign. Registered a fine assist for Pedri’s strike and finished brilliantly to make it 3-2.
Frenkie de Jong (CM) – 8/10 – Fantastic movement and sharp runs in behind to disturb the opposition back line and create opportunities. Has his teammates to blame for the fact he didn’t walk away with at least two assists from his four key passes.
Sergio Busquets (CM) – 5/10 – Recycled possession well when his side were camped in Levante’s half but looked sluggish when dealing with the counter and was unusually sloppy on the ball, giving it away cheaply on numerous occasions.
Pedri (CM) – 8/10 – Floated around and had some lovely touches in and around the box. Showed great movement in the area and, although he squandered two gilt-edged chances in the first five minutes, he got his goal to make it 2-0.
Jordi Alba (LWB) – 6/10 – Stayed a little deeper than usual to compensate for Dembele but sporadically surged forward and made some excellent runs in behind. Unlucky not to score but did create the opener with a deflected cross.
Lionel Messi (ST) – 8/10 – Barcelona looked dangerous whenever he dropped deep and got his head up. Pulled strings throughout and registered three key passes, while also finishing clinically to open the scoring.
Antoine Griezmann (ST) – 7/10 – Never really got a sniff of goal but he was his usual dynamic and influential self, creating space and building attacks with sublime movement and link-up play.
Sergi Roberto (CB) – 4/10 – Did not look comfortable at the back at all. Was weak in the air for Levante’s first and lost his man for the second. Was moved upfield midway through the second period but was hooked off before full-time – ouch.
Sergino Dest (RWB) – 4/10 – Was run ragged by Tono in the build-up to Levante’s third.
Oscar Mingueza (CB) – 5/10
Martin Braithwaite (ST) – 5/10
Riqui Puig (CM) – 5/10