Levante upset leaders Barcelona
La Liga, Ciutat de Valencia - Levante 3 (Campana 61, Mayoral 63, Radoja 68) Barcelona 1 Messi pen 38')
Levante scored three goals in seven minutes as they pulled off a remarkable comeback to inflict a damaging 3-1 defeat on La Liga leaders Barcelona.
Ernesto Valverde made a handful of changes to the team that thumped Real Valladolid during the week, with Sergi Roberto, Arthur and Antoine Griezmann coming into the starting lineup. It took the Catalans a while to get going, though, only taking the lead after 38 minutes.
Nelson Semedo was cleaned out after being released in behind the Levante defence by Arthur, giving Lionel Messi the chance to convert from the penalty spot. His strike means the Argentine has now scored five and made four assists in his five La Liga starts this season.
Levante completely flipped the script in the second half, though, scoring three times in seven minutes. Jose Campana netted the first after 61 minutes, firing into the back of the net from 14 yards out after a poor clearance by Gerard Pique.
Two minutes later, Borja Mayoral curled a strike past Marc-Andre ten Stegen before Nemanja Radoja made it three with a strike that made it past the Barcelona goalkeeper via a deflection off Sergio Busquets.
Messi looked to have clawed one back for the away side, but a VAR review showed Griezmann to be offside in the build up. The result means both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid can leapfrog the defending champions with a win in their respective fixtures later this evening.
TALKING POINT - How big a blow will Luis Suarez’s injury be to Barcelona?
Barcelona have recently hit their stride, surging to the top of La Liga before this match. This result, however, could drop them as low as fifth by the time the weekend’s games are in the books. Suarez was withdrawn with an injury not long after Messi had opened the scoring for the Catalans and that proved a turning point. Given how crucial the relationship between Messi and Suarez is to Barca, how big a blow would an injury to the Uruguayan striker be? Valverde will now anxiously await news from his medial team. On the basis of Barca’s performance after his withdrawal, they need Suarez.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Jose Campana (Levante)
Campana scored the goal that sparked the remarkable seven-minute spell that saw Levante turn this match on its head. However, the 26-year-old was a creative spark for the home side throughout. Campana was the one who pulled the strings in attack, the one who caused the most damage to Barcelona. He epitomised the overall performance of Levante.
36’ PENALTY KICK TO BARCELONA! Miramon clattered into Semedo after the Barcelona full back was played in behind by Arthur and the referee points to the spot.
38’ GOAL! Levante 0-1 Barcelona: Barcelona haven't been at their best in this first half, but they have the lead! Messi steps up to the 12-yard mark and finds the back of the net, sending Aitor the wrong way. That was emphatic from the Argentine! The Catalans have the advantage.
40’ Suarez comes off! This is a blow to Barcelona. Suarez looks to have picked up an injury. Rather than turning to Ansu, though, Valverde has taken the decision to introduce Perez in the place of the Uruguayan.
61’ GOAL! Levante 1-1 Barcelona: It's an equaliser! Levante have drawn themselves level! Pique's clearance from the back was a bad one, the ball came straight back on top of Barcelona and Campana made no mistake with the finish, firing into the back of the net from 14 yards out!
63’ GOAL! Levante 2-1 Barcelona: Incredible! Two goals in three minutes and Levante have turned this match on its head! Campana clipped a pass into Mayoral, the Levante forward brought it down and then curled a strike from outside the box into the bottom corner of the Barcelona net!
68’ GOAL! Levante 3-1 Barcelona: Oh my goodness! It's another Levante goal! It's a THIRD GOAL for the hosts! Barcelona failed to clear a free kick into the box and Radoja was on hand to send a volley back towards goal, with a deflection off Busquets taking the ball past ter Stegen!
75’ GOAL! Levante 3-2 Barcelona: Is this the start of the comeback? Messi has clawed one back for Barcelona! The Argentine's shot is blocked on the edge of the box, it bounces kindly for him and he finishes to give his side a chance of turning this around! 15 minutes left to play.
77’ GOAL CHALKED OFF! Well, that is a late, late decision from the VAR! Messi's goal has been chalked off! Griezmann was offside when the pass was played into him in the build up. It's just not Barca's day.
94’ Should have been four! Levante caught Barcelona high up the pitch, Melero was clean through on goal, but he sends his shot wide of the target when he should have found the back of the net.
Lionel Messi has scored 112 La Liga goals for Barcelona since the start of the 2016/17 season - 31 more than the next player.
Messi’s first half penalty kick saw him score his 500th career goal with his left foot and extended his scoring run to five straight games.
Borja Mayoral became the first player to score against Barcelona and Real Madrid in La Liga this season.