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Barça had the first shot on goal in the opening minute of this match, a smart piece of play down the right side from Sergiño Dest picking out Philippe Coutinho who fired over. It signalled the blaugranes intent, but only a sensational save on 11 from Marc-André ter Stegen kept Levante from taking the lead.
On the quarter hour, another super attacking move from Barça saw Martin Braithwaite get a shot on target, Aitor Fernández going full-length to deny him. The Levante stopper was also equal to Antoine Griezmann’s shot and header a few minutes later as the game started to open up.
Dani Gomez was the next to hit the target, ter Stegen again in the right place at the right time. The 0-0 scoreline after the half hour belied the open and attacking nature of the game, with both teams willing to use every inch of the Camp Nou pitch in order to gain the advantage.
A stunning Jordi Alba volley almost broke the deadlock on 37 with Barça enjoying a sustained period of pressure late in the first half.
Alba was involved again in the first move of note in the second half, the left-back managing to find Leo Messi but the angle was too tight. Barça’s captain had another sight of goal on 53, and though he managed to wrap his foot around the ball, he couldn’t get his shot on target.
By this point in the match, the game was being played almost exclusively in Levante’s half. Messi would come close once more just after the hour and would finally break the deadlock with 14 to play, smashing home his 600th goal as Barça’s No.10 from Frenkie de Jong’s assist.
The hosts continued to create chances and work Aitor Fernández at every opportunity, but it took another ter Stegen save deep into injury time to ensure a much-needed three points for Barça.
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