Spanish champions Barcelona remain top of La Liga despite being held to a frustrating draw by stubborn Levante.

The home side, who were thumped 7-0 at the Nou Camp in August, led through defender Loukas Vyntra's early header.

Barca equalised shortly after in almost identical fashion when Spain defender Gerard Pique nodded in Xavi's corner.

Winless Barca

Barcelona, who drew 0-0 at title rivals Atletico Madrid last weekend, have now gone two La Liga games in a row without a win - for the first time since May 2011.

Lionel Messi made his first La Liga start in two months following a hamstring injury, but could not inspire a winner for the visitors.

However, the Catalans remain ahead of Atletico Madrid on goal difference after they were unable to take advantage by beating Sevilla later on Sunday.

Both sides are now only one point ahead of third-placed Real Madrid, who eased to a 5-0 victory at Real Betis on Saturday.

Mid-table Levante were embarrassed by the Catalans on the opening weekend of the season, but produced a gutsy display against their illustrious visitors that was a stark contrast to their limp performance in Barcelona.

Barca boss Tata Martino insisted in the build up to Sunday's return game that the Valencia side would be a different proposition on their own patch - and so it proved.

Joaquin Caparros's side defended stoutly in numbers as they blunted a Barcelona attack including Messi, who started a league match for the first time since limping off at Real Betis on 10 November.

Levante v Barcelona

The Ballon d'Or runner-up netted twice in the midweek Copa del Rey win against Getafe but was almost anonymous in the first half before exerting more influence after the break.

The Argentine's clearest sight of the home goal came in a frantic second-half spell where he was twice denied from point-blank range by Levante keeper Keylor Navas, with veteran defender Juanfran clearing off the line from Xavi in-between.

The hosts had to stand firm against long periods of pressure throughout as Barcelona probed for a vital lead. Xavi firing a low shot wide shortly after Pique's opener, while Juanfran and Navas also came to the rescue to block further efforts from Messi and substitute Cristian Tello in the closing stages.

But Levante were not content to simply contain the visitors, instead causing problems of their own as they looked to pin Barca back with their neat attacking play.

Pique power

Until Sunday's draw at Levante, Barcelona had won the 17 previous matches in which Gerard Pique had scored.

The 11th-place side failed to win against any of the teams above them before the mid-season winter break and spurned late chances to end that unwanted record against the Catalans.

Wing-back Pedro Lopez smashed a volley wide before midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz's drive forced Barca keeper Victor Valdes into a flying save.

However, they will be more than happy with the deserved point earned by Vyntra's first goal in Spanish football. The Greece international put the home side ahead when he escaped marker Cesc Fabregas at Ivanschitz's corner to power an angled header past Valdes.

Within eight minutes Spain defender Pique climbed above the home defence to powerfully nod in Xavi's left-wing corner for the equaliser.

However, it was not enough as Barca dropped points for only the fourth time in 20 La Liga matches this season.

Lineup, Bookings (4) & Substitutions (6)

Levante

  • 01 Navas
  • 06 Vyntra
  • 15 Karabelas
  • 24 Mate Junior
  • 04 Navarro
  • 12 García García Booked
  • 19 López Muñoz
  • 23 Diop
  • 11 García Santos (El Adoua - 73' )
  • 08 El Zhar (Rodríguez Díaz - 56' )
  • 21 Ivanschitz Booked (da Silva Pinto - 87' Booked )

Substitutes

  • 09 Rodríguez Díaz
  • 13 Jiménez Camarero
  • 16 El Adoua
  • 17 Xumetra
  • 18 da Silva Pinto
  • 20 Ríos
  • 37 Camarasa

Barcelona

  • 01 Valdés
  • 02 Montoya
  • 18 Alba
  • 16 Busquets
  • 03 Piqué
  • 14 Mascherano Booked
  • 06 Xavi (Dongou - 84' )
  • 04 Fábregas (Sergi - 73' )
  • 10 Messi
  • 09 Sánchez
  • 07 Pedro (Tello - 77' )

Substitutes

  • 13 Pinto Colorado
  • 15 Bartra
  • 17 Song
  • 20 Tello
  • 21 Adriano
  • 24 Sergi
  • 29 Dongou
Ref: Carlos del Cerro Grande
Att: 24,063

Match Stats

Shots

7 17

On target

4 6

Corners

2 8

Fouls

13 11

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Levante 1, Barcelona 1.

90:00 +3:54 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Levante 1, Barcelona 1.

90:00 +3:34

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Juanfran.

90:00 +3:31

Attempt blocked. Alexis Sánchez (Barcelona) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

90:00 +1:47

Javier Mascherano (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +1:47

Foul by Ángel (Levante).

90:00 +0:29

Attempt missed. Sergio Pinto (Levante) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right from a direct free kick.

89:25

Foul by Sergi Roberto (Barcelona).

89:25

Pedro López (Levante) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

88:19 Booking

Booking Juanfran (Levante) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

88:14

Jean Marie Dongou (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the right wing.

88:14

Foul by Juanfran (Levante).

87:22

Attempt blocked. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Cristian Tello.

87:00

Attempt saved. Pedro López (Levante) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Pape Diop.

86:43 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Levante. Sergio Pinto replaces Andreas Ivanschitz.

84:59

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Keylor Navas.

84:57

Attempt saved. Cristian Tello (Barcelona) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jordi Alba.

83:58 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Barcelona. Jean Marie Dongou replaces Xavi.

81:20 Booking

Booking Andreas Ivanschitz (Levante) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

81:13

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

81:13

Foul by Andreas Ivanschitz (Levante).

80:36

Gerard Piqué (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

80:36

Foul by Nikos Karabelas (Levante).

76:52 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Barcelona. Cristian Tello replaces Pedro.

76:15

Attempt saved. Andreas Ivanschitz (Levante) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Simao.

74:59

Offside, Levante. Juanfran tries a through ball, but Ángel is caught offside.

74:11

Offside, Levante. Andreas Ivanschitz tries a through ball, but Nikos Karabelas is caught offside.

73:36

Attempt missed. Alexis Sánchez (Barcelona) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Pedro with a cross.

72:19 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Barcelona. Sergi Roberto replaces Francesc Fábregas.

72:15 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Levante. Issam El Adoua replaces Rubén García because of an injury.

72:09

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

71:15

Delay in match Rubén García (Levante) because of an injury.

68:30

Attempt saved. Andreas Ivanschitz (Levante) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Rubén García with a cross.

67:29

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Pape Diop.

66:32

Corner, Levante. Conceded by Martín Montoya.

66:31

Attempt blocked. Pedro López (Levante) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Nikos Karabelas with a cross.

65:38

Foul by Lionel Messi (Barcelona).

65:38

David Navarro (Levante) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

64:15

Foul by Alexis Sánchez (Barcelona).

64:15

Rubén García (Levante) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

62:48

Hand ball by Ángel (Levante).

62:17

Foul by Gerard Piqué (Barcelona).

62:17

Juanfran (Levante) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

61:52

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Juanfran.

61:50

Attempt blocked. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jordi Alba.

58:35

Offside, Barcelona. Xavi tries a through ball, but Lionel Messi is caught offside.

58:34

Attempt blocked. Xavi (Barcelona) right footed shot from very close range is blocked.

58:32

Attempt saved. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

57:16

Offside, Barcelona. Lionel Messi tries a through ball, but Francesc Fábregas is caught offside.

55:39 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Levante. Ángel replaces Nabil El Zhar.

54:55

Attempt missed. Xavi (Barcelona) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez.

54:18

Attempt saved. Francesc Fábregas (Barcelona) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Pedro.

52:44

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Nikos Karabelas.

51:21

Offside, Barcelona. Xavi tries a through ball, but Alexis Sánchez is caught offside.

47:09

Offside, Barcelona. Francesc Fábregas tries a through ball, but Pedro is caught offside.

46:57

Xavi (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

46:57

Foul by Simao (Levante).

45:38

Attempt missed. Martín Montoya (Barcelona) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left.

45:00

Second Half begins Levante 1, Barcelona 1.

45:00 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Levante 1, Barcelona 1.

44:07

Sergio Busquets (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

44:07

Foul by Pape Diop (Levante).

42:43

Foul by Francesc Fábregas (Barcelona).

42:43

Pedro López (Levante) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

41:32

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by David Navarro.

41:03

Javier Mascherano (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the left wing.

41:03

Foul by Nabil El Zhar (Levante).

40:38

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

40:38

Dangerous play by Pape Diop (Levante).

40:04

Attempt missed. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right from a direct free kick.

39:02

Xavi (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

39:02

Foul by Pape Diop (Levante).

38:29

Attempt blocked. Francesc Fábregas (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez.

37:47

Attempt blocked. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez.

35:01

Attempt missed. Xavi (Barcelona) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Pedro following a fast break.

33:21 Booking

Booking Javier Mascherano (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

33:16

Foul by Javier Mascherano (Barcelona).

33:16

Nabil El Zhar (Levante) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

28:40

Offside, Barcelona. Xavi tries a through ball, but Alexis Sánchez is caught offside.

24:42

Offside, Barcelona. Francesc Fábregas tries a through ball, but Pedro is caught offside.

21:12

Foul by Pedro (Barcelona).

21:12

Pedro López (Levante) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

20:37

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

20:37

Foul by Pape Diop (Levante).

18:31 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Levante 1, Barcelona 1. Gerard Piqué (Barcelona) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Xavi with a cross following a corner.

18:09

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Loukas Vyntra.

17:35

Offside, Levante. Andreas Ivanschitz tries a through ball, but David Navarro is caught offside.

17:04

Foul by Francesc Fábregas (Barcelona).

17:04

Pape Diop (Levante) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

16:39

Attempt saved. Pedro (Barcelona) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jordi Alba.

16:04

Attempt missed. Pape Diop (Levante) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a set piece situation.

15:19

Foul by Jordi Alba (Barcelona).

15:19

Pedro López (Levante) wins a free kick on the right wing.

14:24

Foul by Martín Montoya (Barcelona).

14:24

Andreas Ivanschitz (Levante) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

12:56

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Nikos Karabelas.

12:40

Attempt blocked. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez with a cross.

9:53 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Levante 1, Barcelona 0. Loukas Vyntra (Levante) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Andreas Ivanschitz with a cross following a corner.

9:21

Corner, Levante. Conceded by Gerard Piqué.

7:10

Offside, Levante. Andreas Ivanschitz tries a through ball, but Nabil El Zhar is caught offside.

7:07

Foul by Martín Montoya (Barcelona).

7:07

Andreas Ivanschitz (Levante) wins a free kick on the left wing.

5:51

Francesc Fábregas (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

5:51

Dangerous play by Pape Diop (Levante).

4:17

Offside, Barcelona. Francesc Fábregas tries a through ball, but Lionel Messi is caught offside.

2:21

Hand ball by Nabil El Zhar (Levante).

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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