Levante 0-2 Barcelona: Player Ratings
An own goal by David Navarro and a late strike by Luis Suarez helped Barcelona beat Levante and strengthen their position at the top.
Barcelona travelled to La Liga basement boys Levante with a seemingly invincible air around them. A strong come from behind win over nearest title rivals Atletico Madrid and a 7-0 hammering of Valencia in the Copa del Rey semi-final was the form Luis Enrique’s men brought into the game against a team that recorded its only win over Barcelona in October 1964.
Luis Enrique named a full-strength side for his 100th game while being in charge of the Catalans, and looked all set to equal Pep Guardiola’s record for a 27 game unbeaten run with Barcelona.
Levante, on the other hand, had been enjoying a better run of form compared to the rest of their season, having just recorded two back-to-back home wins for the first time this season, and having been greatly aided by the loan signing of Guiseppe Rossi.
It was a far from a sublime performance from Barcelona, who started off exactly how they left midweek with some imperious attacking skills and a wrongly ruled offside goal. An own goal by Levante captain Navarro gave the visitors the lead.
However, the quality of Barcelona’s play took a hit and Levante had two big chances to go level before the first half. MSN were not at their imperious best today, but Suarez sealed the points with a late goal as Levante rushed men forward in search of an equaliser.
It was far from the subliminal Barcelona we know, but Lucho’s men got the three points and helped him equal a managerial club record. Here are the player ratings from the game.
Diego Marino – 5.5/10
Levante’s goalkeeper had a poor start to the game as MSN started on song and even conceded an early goal which was ruled offside. He made a couple of good saves, but could not prevent his team from slumping to a 2-0 defeat.
Ivan Lopez – 5/10
He was utterly dominated by Neymar on the left flank, which coincided with Barca’s strong start to the game. He also did little to keep Jordi Alba on a tight leash, which arguably had a part to play in the build-up to his team conceding the own goal.
David Navarro – 4.5/10
Levante’s captain had a bad day at the office as he conceded an own goal off a Jordi Alba cross. He also found time to get his name into the referee’s book for on an offence on Messi. The defender was eventually substituted by Ghilas as Levante tried to get an equaliser.
Tono – 6/10
A below-par performance from Dani Alves and Lionel Messi meant that Tono performed his defensive duties with aplomb. He was a very potent threat going forward, and Sergio Busquets received a yellow card for a late challenge on him.
Zouhair Feddal – 5/10
The Moroccan had a poor game and received the first booking of the day. He was overrun in the midfield on a day when Iniesta was at best.
Verza – 5.5/10
The Levante number 7 gave a hardworking performance in the midfield, and also had a decent effort on goal from a free kick attempt. But that was just about all he troubled Bravo, and like his midfield partner, Feddal, found himself in the shadows of Andres Iniesta.
Jose Luis Morales – 6/10
His pace down the left was too much for Dani Alves to handle. He put in a good performance down the left flank with Tono and was very unlucky to be denied a goal by the post in the 37th minute.
Simao – 5.5/10
Former Shandong player from the Chinese Super League, the Mozambique national put in a decent performance in midfield.
Jefferson Lerma – 6/10
He played a part in all of Levante’s attacks, and most notably combined with Tono and Morales down the left. However, he needlessly found a way into the referee’s book for a foul on Neymar.
Deyverson -- 6/10
The Brazilian put in a hardworking performance and was a source of problems for the Barcelona defence up-front, combining well with Rossi.
Giuseppe Rossi – 6.5/10
The striker was a loan signing from Fiorentina, as he searched for game time having recovered from a knee injury. He made an immediate impact and had a wonderful game causing lots of problems for Barca. The Italian was not afraid to drop into midfield from time to time, and may just give Levante some hope in a very cramped bottom-half of the La Liga.
Victor Camarasa – N.A.
Replaced Deyverson upfront as Levante searched for an equaliser.
Mauricio Cuero – N.A.
He was brought on for the last ten minutes of the match.
Nabil Ghilas – N.A.
He has seen his playing time drop as a result of the emergence of Rossi, and was brought on for Navarro as Levante did everything to get a point out of the match, but that was not to be.
Claudio Bravo – 6.5/10
It was a straightforward game for the Barcelona shot-stopper.
Dani Alves – 5.5/10
The ageing Brazilian and Camp Nou legend endured a torrid game. He did little going forward and was run ragged by the likes of Tono, Morales and Lerma. He was eventually replaced by Aleix Vidal.
Jordi Alba – 6.5/10
Barcelona’s left-back was composed in defence and enterprising in attack. His low cross was turned in by Levante captain Navarro for an own goal.
Gerard Pique – 6/10
Barcelona’s mainstay in defence caused a lot of problems by Giuseppe Rossi. However, such was the gulf of class between the teams, that Barcelona were not punished for a lacklustre performance.
Javier Mascherano – 6/10
The former Liverpool man had a decent game like his partner in defence but was not troubled much by an enterprising Levante attack, who worked hard but did not have the quality or the luck to get a point on the day.
Andres Iniesta – 6.5/10
The Barcelona midfielder put in a quality performance on a day when all his teammates were not working at top gear. He was a problem in the midfield for the likes of Feddal and Verza and often left them in his wake. Ultimately, Barcelona walked away with all three points despite not being impressive collectively.
Ivan Rakitic – 6/10
The Croatian midfielder had a sub-par game and did not really leave his trademark on the match.
Sergi Roberto -6.5/10
Versatile Spanish youngster put in a good performance in the central midfield, filling in for Sergio Busquets.
Neymar – 6.5/10
He was very lively and tough to deal with down the left. His great start meant Barcelona created many chances in the opening ten minutes of the game. However, his level also dipped as the game wore on, and he blazed a free-kick well over the goal post shortly before half-time.
Luis Suarez – 7/10
The Uruguayan forward took his tally to 20 goals in the La Liga with a late winner to seal the points against lowly Levante.
Lionel Messi -7/10
Messi is such a magical mystery that despite being far from his best, he twice managed to find the back of the net, though both instances were ruled offside. However, in his defence, he did not need to be at his best against a side of Levante’s quality, and he did provide the assist for Luis Suarez’s late winner.
Aleix Vidal – 6.5/10
This was a necessary replacement as Alves was having a torrid game, and Vidal immediately provided more quality in attack and defence.
Sergio Busquets – 6/10
He is rumoured to be Pep Guardiola’s top priority once he takes over at the Etihad, and the Spaniard came on today as a second-half replacement for the ineffective Ivan Rakitic. He put in a good performance, but also received a yellow card.