Barcelona 1-0 Levante: 5 Talking points | LaLiga 2018-19
FC Barcelona played host to Levante after their mid-week affair against Alaves. Atletico Madrid's win earlier in the day meant that Barcelona had to win to seal the LaLiga title. Relegation fighting Levante would have been content to play spoilsport and get a point out of the game.
Ernesto Valverde continued on his tracks from mid-week and benched Lionel Messi. Sergio Busquets started from the bench too. Dembele, Coutinho, Semedo, Vidal, all started for the Blaugrana. While Luis Suarez continued to play as the striker, Jordi Alba returned to the starting 11, and against the popular opinion, Gerard Pique started the game.
Barcelona took the game by the scruffs as it progressed into the first half. Chance after chance, either denied by Aitor Fernandez or put to waste by Barcelona's front three. Half-time saw Lionel Messi and Jose Luis Morales take the pitch for their respective sides. The second half was more end-to-end than the first one.
Lionel Messi scored the solitary goal of the evening in the 62nd minute and in the end, it was enough to hand Barcelona their 26th LaLiga title. For now, the title celebrations are on at the Camp Nou but sooner than later the attention must shift to the visitors from Merseyside. Here are five talking points from the game.
#5 Levante's fighting spirit helps Barcelona savor the win
Barcelona had a lot of opportunities to take the lead in the first half. Philippe Coutinho had a couple of chances, Luis Suarez had his chances, even Semedo and Dembele had their chances. However, as close as Levante are to the relegation zone, their defensive structure suggested the opposite.
Levante was very organized defensively and they were trying to hit Barcelona on the counter-attack and set pieces. In the second half, Morales' introduction gave them a boost in the attacking front. Levante's attacks became better in the second half and they had two big chances to score. Morales sailed one over the top of the bar and a second one, off the post was dealt with by a slippery Ter Stegen.
Barcelona did hang on to the lead till the end but Levante didn't make it any easier for them. Thus, they should savor this win and the title win because it came the hard way.