Levante 2-3 FC Barcelona: Dramatic win at the Ciutat de València
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FC Barcelona have collected the three points from an extraordinary game at the Ciutat de Valencia in which they had no fewer than three penalties awarded against them, two of which were converted, and yet still managed to win through in the end.
After a deadlocked first half, some inspired substitutions by Xavi Hernández helped get the team out of a tight spot and ensure they hold on to second place in the Liga table.
Aubameyang headed in an equaliser and a matter of moments later Pedri shot Barça into the lead. And just when it looked like yet another penalty was going to earn a point for the relegation-threatened hosts, up stepped Luuk de Jong to head in a late winner.
Barça may be one place off the top of the table and Levante second from bottom, but there had been little to pick between them in much of the game, especially in the first half. There wasn’t a huge amount of early danger created by either side, but a fair share of the goalmouth action we did get to see was being created by the side wearing blaugrana, which today was Levante.
Indeed, the home side had the best chance of all. An extraordinary run by José Luis Morales, and Ter Stegen could only slow down the shot that Eric Garcia eventually cleared off the line.
Barça meanwhile, were dominating the possession in their usual manner but were struggling to turn it into anything meaningful. Other than a couple of pops from Ferran Torres, there had been very little to get excited about in the first 45 minutes.
And after the break things were to get even more worrying.
One behind.... But nearly two
Five minutes after the restart, Barça conceded a penalty when Dani Alves caught Son in the box. Levante captain Morales made no mistake from the spot.
And things could have got mightily worse when the home side were awarded another penalty, Eric Garcia the guilty party now. This time Roger Martí took the responsibility and thankfully Ter Stegen was wise to what was not the best of kicks.
Barça could breathe again. But they were still in trouble. Cue the reaction…
That’s more like it!
They needed to step things up a notch, and they did just that. Ousmane Dembélé whipped in a cross and Aubameyang was there to head it home. Just seven minutes after almost going 2-0 down, instead Barça found themselves back level!
And with Levante still shell-shocked to find all their hard work had come to nothing, youngsters Gavi and Pedri, both just moments after Xavi had sent them on, combined to add to their torment. The former’s run was as brilliant as the latter’s diagonal strike into the far corner and that was Barça 2-1 up.
Late twists as De Jong does it again!
We’ve had a few rollercoaster rides in this fixture over the years, and the April 2022 edition was proving to be no exception. THere was more drama to come.
Levante were awarded yet another penalty!
Clement Lenglet, is his first intervention after coming on as sub, clipped Dani Gómez on the edge of the area. Gonzalo Melero was the designated taker this time. And that was 2-2.
And that also looked to be the end of the story. But deep into injury time, there was still time for yet more drama.
Fittingly, it was Jordi Alba, on the day that he enters the team’s all-time top ten for appearances, who created it by producing his tenth assist of the season. And on the end of it…?
Luuk de Jong! Yes, the Dutchman did it again! Only on for the final minutes, he powered in on Alba’s delivery and smack, bang, wallop… There it was in the back of the net and Barça could celebrate three very dramatic points indeed!
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