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Deportivo La Coruña
19 January 2014
• Estadio Ciudad de Valencia, Valencia
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande
• Attendance: 24063
L. Vyntra 10'
Full time in Ciudad de Valencia! Levante grab an unlikely point against Barcelona as the match ends 1-1. Vyntra opened the scoring for the hosts in the first half with a strong header but Pique equalised just nine minutes later with a glancing header of his own. Tata Martino's men had 70% of possession in the match, but they failed to convert it into goals as Levante heroically defended and Keylor Navas pulled off a string of wonderful saves. How vital will these two points dropped prove to be for Barca at the end of the season? Atletico have the chance to go top with a win over Sevilla tonight! I'm Martin Macdonald, thanks for joining us, see you next time!
90' + 1'
Four minutes of added time! Plenty of time for SOMEONE to grab the winner! But who?
Looks like an unlikely point for Levante!
Yellow Card Sergio da Silva Pinto
Yellow Card Juan García García
Busquets retreats backwards and clips the ball over the top of the Levante defence, but there are no runners in red and yellow and Juanfran sees the ball out for a goal kick.
Sergio da Silva Pinto
Saaaaaaaave from Navas! Tello cuts inside on his right foot and looks to find the bottom corner with a curled strike. It looked destined to nestle in the net, but the Levante goalkeeper gets across his line to tip the attempt wide!
Final throw of the dice from Martino as he introduced Jean Marie Dongou in place of Xavi. The Cameroonian will add something different up top, some real pace and power!
Messi floats in the free kick but again Levante look comfortable to clear the ball aerially.
Yellow Card Andreas Ivanschitz
So cynical from Ivanschitz. Messi goes through the gears and makes a penetrating run through the middle, skipping past challenges, but he is abruptly stopped in his tracks by the Levante man, who scythes him down to earn a yellow.
Barcelona are notorious for sticking to their guns in terms of the way they approach the game, even in the latter stages of games. 10 minutes to go. Do they have anything else in the locker to hurt the hosts here?
Second change of the match from Tata Martino as Cristian Tello is introduced in place of Pedro.
Ivanschitz!!! That's a great save from Valdes! The Austrian collects possession 20 yards out and rifles a strike towards the right corner, but he Barca 'keeper somehow gets across to palms it wide! Looked a certain goal!
It's just not happening at all for Barcelona at the moment, and it's mostly due to the diligent and dogged defending of Levante. They really are putting up a blue defensive wall, and it's proving a tough nut to crack!
Just over 15 minutes to go now. If he score remains the same, Barcelona will go one point clear of Real Madrid and Atletico, but the latter have a game in hand against Sevilla later this evening.
Issam El Adoua
Barcelona follow suit and make their opening substitution. Fabregas, who has been disappointing, is replaced by Sergi Roberto.
Levante make their second change of the match as Ruben Garcia is replaced by El Adoua.
It's all opening up slightly here, as both sides reckon they could do with another goal. Ruben Garcia is the latest player to try his luck with a header inside the box, but on this occasion it's straight down the throat of Valdes.
Superb covering from Diop. The Senegalese midfielder tracks the run of Pedro all the way through the middle and eventually blocks a shot on goal inside the box! He's just getting treated for cramp by his team-mates, and no wonder!
A turn up for the books here as Levante earn a free kick as Messi goes through the back of Navarro deep inside the home half. Usually it happens the other way around!
It's all very patient from Barca at the moment, but as time ticks on, they'll get more and more nervous. The same can be said for Levante though, there's a lot of defending still to be done!
Juanfran makes a superb block again! Alba dashes down the left flank on the overlap and reverses a pass inside to Messi, who smashes a strike at goal, but the 37-year-old defender is perfectly positioned to deflect the strike wide!
There was incredible dribbling from Messi in the lead up to that chance. It deserved a goal!
HOW ARE BARCA NOT 2-1 UP? Juanfran makes an outstanding block on the line from Xavi and Messi looks to head in the rebound, but Navas somehow manages to get across goal to palm over the bar! Incredible reflexes! Great defending from Levante!
Pedroooooo! That's a screamer of a strike! The Barca man cuts inside on his right foot and lashes a strike at goal, but Navas gets his body behind the ball to palm away!
Nabil El Zhar
Levante make an early change in the first half as Nabil El-Zhar is replaced by Angel Rodriguez. The hosts looking to go two up top? Brave indeed.
Much of the same from Barcelona in the opening 10 minutes of the half here. A lot of possession, but very little penetration.
Xavi looks again for the diagonal to Alexis and this time the Chilean picks up possession and takes on the defender. The ball ends up cannoning off the leg of Nikos and out for a corner kick.
The former Udinese man does much better this time as he twists and turns and shifts his body inside the box. He goes down under a challenge but gets straight back up, not looking for the penalty. If he had stayed down, would the ref have pointed to the spot! Hard to tell, not much contact!
Busquets picks out Alexis with a fantastic diagonal pass over the top of the Levante defence but the Chilean's first touch lets him down and Levante manage to scramble the ball up the park!
Great decision from the linesman as he flags Messi as offside after retreating backwards from goal. Hard one to spot, that!
We are back under way in the Spanish Primera Division!
Half time in Valencia. A perhaps unexpected scoreline at the break as we go in to half time 1-1 between Levante and Barcelona. The hosts took a shock lead 10 minutes in when Vyntra lost Cesc inside the box to bullet a header home from a corner, but it took Barca just nine minutes to get back into it thanks to a glancing header from Pique. Not much else in terms of goalmouth action, as it's been a real midfield battle!
Barcelona pop the ball around nicely again but the attack is broken down when Montoya's slack pass down the right flank is intercepted by Nikos.
Exquisite from Pedro! The 26-year-old leaves Vyntra for dead with a delicate chip over the tackle of the Levante defender! He bursts into the box but doesn't have much in terms of support so ends up earning a corner kick.
Messi steps up and looks to curl the ball up, over, and down the wall but there's just not enough pace on the strike to bother Keylor Navas, and the free kick eventually floats wide.
Free kick to Barcelona around 35 yards out with Messi, Xavi, and Alba all standing over it. Quite a distance to have a crack...
Messi is playing incredibly deep for the Blaugrana so far. It's so congested and tight up top that he is being forced further and further back to try and affect the game.
Xaviiiiii! Just wide! Barcelona find some space on the counterattack and Alexis bursts down the right-hand side before reversing a pass to the edge of the box. Xavi gets on the end of it but drags his shot wide under pressure from the Levante defence!
Yellow Card Javier Mascherano
First booking of the match goes to Mascherano as the Argentine goes in late on El-Zhar as Levante counterattack through the middle. A cynical challenge, and a deserved yellow card.
It's extremely congested just in front of the Levante defence at the moment as Barcelona face 11 men behind the ball. Xavi looks to go over the defence with an attempted scoop over to Alexis, but it's intercepted.
Much, much better from Los Cules now, and everyone looks to have improved their passing. Pique, to Xavi, to Cesc, to Messi, and back round again. Keylor Navas still not being tested too much, though.
Barca start moving the ball around better in the centre of the park, but any potential attack is halted when Alexis is flagged for offside down the right-hand side.
Montoya gets beyond Alexis on the overlap and hits the byline before crossing inside, but Juanfran is well-placed to see the ball out for a corner. Good tracking from the 37-year-old.
Barcelona's pressing hasn't been at their relentless best so far. There's quite a lot of freedom being awarded to the Levante back four in particular.
Really lovely stuff from the hosts just now. Vyntra nicks the ball past Pedro before placing inside to Simao, who exchanges a neat one-two with Diop around Xavi and Fabregas.
Fair play to Levante, they have popped the ball around excellently at times, with Diop and Simao in the middle putting in a real shift.
Two almost identical goals brings us to 1-1 at the Ciudad de Valencia!
GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLL FOR BARCELONA!!! NO PROBLEM WITH THEIR ATTACKING SET-PIECES THOUGH! Xavi whips in a corner kick to the centre of the box and Pique shakes off the attentions of Navarro to glance a header into the corner! 1-1!
Barcelona's weak spot has undoubtedly been their defending of set-pieces this season, but they still don't appear to be learning their lesson. Fabregas marking six-foot-plus Vyntra?
Ivanschitz looks to swing another dangerous set-piece into the box, but this time Barca get a head on it to clear out of the box.
It's been a very tentative first 15 minutes from Barcelona. Dare I suggest that the visitors underestimated Levante before kick off? The hosts are well up for this!
A couple of passes and crosses haven't come off for Barca in the past few minutes, and there's a couple of signs of frustration creeping through. Still tonnes of time left in this game though, they'll regroup.
The ball drops kindly to Messi inside the box and the Argentine has a crack with his left foot, but Navarro comes in with a brave block and then clears into the stands.
That's the Greek international's first goal in Spain. What a team to get it against!
Assist Andreas Ivanschitz
Goal Loukas Vyntra
GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLL FOR LEVANTE!! THE HOSTS TAKE A SHOCK LEAD! Ivanschitz swings in the corner kick and Vyntra rises highest in the box to bullet a header into the bottom corner! 1-0!
Ivanschitz takes on Pique down the left-hand side and smashes a cross off the heel of the Barcelona defender, and the first corner kick of the match goes to Levante.
Alexis comes deep into the inside-right channel and slides the ball through to Montoya on the overlap, but the Barca right back's cross is easily dealt with by the hosts.
Xavi floats a free kick to the back post and Pedro Lopez gets a foot on it. Barca looked to be getting the corner but Keylor Navas pounced on the loose ball before it could get beyond the byline.
Mascherano sees some space in midfield and bursts up through the centre. He looks to pick out Alexis with a crossfield pass but Juanfran manages to rise up and glance the ball out of play.
Pedro looks to cut inside once again and attempts to exchange a one-two with Messi on the edge of the box, but Levante just manage to scramble the ball clear.
Pedro looks to get on the end of a pass down the left-hand side, but it just had too much on it and goes out for a Levante throw-in, despite the best effort of the Spaniard.
We are under way in Valencia!
A small presentation before the match for Juanfran, who makes his 100th appearance for Levante tonight!
The teams have taken to the pitch now, and we are just a few moments from kick off!
Joaquin Caparros' Levante currently sit mid-table, but will be wary of the fact they have not scored in four of their last five matches against Los Cules.
Tata Martino's men were on a seven-match winning run before last weekend when they were held 0-0 at the top of the table clash with Atletico Madrid at Vicente Calderon. A decent point gained in the end!
Barcelona currently sit on 50 points in La Liga alongside Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, who moved up to this tally yesterday thanks to a 5-0 drubbing of city rivals, Getafe.
The return of the Argentine captain to form has come at a good time for Barcelona, as the in-form Neymar was recently ruled out for up to a month with sprained ankle ligaments.
Not exactly the sight that the home side wanted to see. Messi scored two on the opening day of the season as the Blaugrana defeated Levante 7-0 at Camp Nou.
The Argentine featured in the Copa del Rey during the week, and saw Barcelona on their way to a comfortable 2-0 second leg victory over Getafe with a superb brace, with his second strike proving he has got back to his best quickly. A sublime goal!
Lionel Messi makes his first La Liga start for two months. Good to have the maestro back!
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Montoya, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Busquets, Xavi, Cesc; Pedro, Messi, Alexis.
Levante: (4-2-3-1): Keylor Navas; Pedro Lopez, Navarro, Vyntra, Juanfran; Simao, Diop; El-Zhar, Ivanschitz, Nikos; Ruben Garcia
I'm Martin Macdonald, and I'll be taking you through the action!
Good Evening folks! Welcome to LIVE coverage of the Spanish Primera Division clash between Levante and Barcelona from the Ciudad de Valencia!
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