Barcelona’s resurgence under Ronald Koeman has been inspiring this season and the possibility of winning the La Liga was around the corner, but Levante dashed their hopes after sharing points and which would give Real Madrid the edge.

Ronald Koeman made two changes from the side that played to a scoreless draw over the weekend with Atletico, as Dembele and Ronald Araujo came in for Sergino Dest and Oscar Mingueza, respectively, meaning the Dutch boss opted for three center-backs in defence and a much more attacking approach going forward.

Barcelona started brightly should have taken a lead early when Frenkie de Jong played back to Pedri with the goal almost wide open, but Aitor Fernandez made a superb save.

Then it was time for Lionel Messi’s brilliance – Pedri fed the master with a cross and Messi blasted one with his left foot – Aitor could do nothing.

Pedri may have been denied on his first look at goal but he had an easy sweep into the net to stretch the Barcelona lead to 0-2 after a charging run from Messi ended with a pass into Dembele, who cut back to the wide-open teenage midfielder to finish.

But Levante did not lose heart and started off with new vim after the break.

While Barcelona looked to be snoozing and it resulted in Gonzalo Melero beating the newly introduced Sergi Roberto and heading in a Miramon cross shortly before the hour mark to cut the Barcelona advantage to 2-1

It was now Levante’s turn to level things and a heavy touch from Messi of all people gifted a chance for Jose Luis Morales, who gladly took advantage and hammered in a left-footer to bring themselves level 2-2.

Levante had Barcelona’s full attention now, and right back came Koeman’s men with Dembele taking advantage of a deflection off Miramon, allowing the Frenchman to fire in past Aitor Fernandez to make it 3-2.

To the astonishment of Barca, Levante would find the equalizer with an expert finish from Sergio Leon, who got in front of Gerard Pique, took Tono’s cross, and beat goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen with a clever finish at the near post.

Granada, Atletico Madrid, and now Levante could be the final three nails in Ronald Koeman’s coffin at the Camp Nou. They blew the opportunity twice last night and all of a sudden, things have gone tough for the Dutchman.

“Coaches are always questioned,” Koeman said after the game.

“But I understand that, after that second half, there are questions.”

“We are disappointed and we’re wondering what happened. We have to move on and prepare for next season.”

“As a coach, you’re always responsible. We spoke at half-time about improving defensively and not dropping our intensity. We were hopeful; we were 2-0 ahead. You don’t expect to draw from there.”

“Our aim was to win all three games and hope that the others would lose points. But now it’s difficult.”

“Games last for 90 minutes and we lost a lot in the second half. They [Levante] caused problems and we didn’t defend well.”


“It’s very disappointing. It’s impossible to understand what happened. It’s difficult to explain it.”

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