Spanish La Liga
Barcelona1Levante0

Barcelona 1-0 Levante: Lionel Messi off the bench to secure La Liga title

Barcelona
Lionel Messi became the first player to win 10 La Liga titles with Barcelona as he clinched his 34th trophy in club football - more than anyone else in the Catalans' history.

Barcelona wrapped up their 26th La Liga title with a sluggish victory over Levante thanks to a goal from second-half substitute Lionel Messi.

Ahead of Wednesday's Champions League semi-final first leg with Liverpool, Messi began the game on the bench.

The Argentina forward came on at the interval following a goalless first half and scored just after the hour.

He latched on to Arturo Vidal's header and beat two defenders before stroking the ball past Aitor Fernandez.

Barcelona did not have everything their own way and Levante almost spoiled the party when they twice went close to equalising in the second half.

Jose Luis Morales broke clear on the left edge on the edge of the box only to fire into the stands.

Then at the death Enis Bardhi's shot hit the woodwork and it bounced into the hands of Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen on the line.

First part for treble-chasing Barca

Such has been Barcelona's recent La Liga dominance - this is their fourth Spanish title in five years and Messi's 10th overall - that determining whether this season will be heralded as a glorious one, or simply a good one, will depend on their performance in other competitions.

The defending champions will doubtless have taken satisfaction from delivering the title in front of their home fans for the first time since 2010; their last four titles have been won away or without playing.

They did so with three games to spare and in doing so closed the gap on Real Madrid's record of 33 La Liga titles to seven.

However, it is the prospect of a treble, featuring the Champions League and Copa del Rey, which will now command their serious attention.

Their performance against Levante was far from a vintage one and the celebrations of Barcelona's players when they lifted the trophy after full-time were relatively conservative.

The Catalans have not reached a Champions League final since 2015, when they last won the treble, and the focus will now switch to the first leg against Liverpool at the Nou Camp.

They also face Valencia in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday, 25 May.

Stop Messi, and do Liverpool stop Barca?

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi scored his 598th career goal for Barcelona to help them seal the La Lia title

Liverpool's scouting dossier on their opponents in the last four of Europe's elite competition will, of course, have been compiled well in advance of Levante's visit.

So the absence of Messi from Barcelona's starting line-up will not have impacted upon their plans for Wednesday's first leg at the Nou Camp.

If he was watching from his home in Formby on Merseyside, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will surely have been encouraged by what he saw 24 hours after his side thrashed Huddersfield 5-0 at Anfield.

In particular, how Levante, despite being embroiled in a relegation battle, were able to frustrate Barcelona with a stoic first-half defensive display will have caught his eye.

Levante goalkeeper Fernandez made a number of important saves before the break, although they were routine rather than spectacular.

At 1-0 down Levante also squandered chances to equalise.

In Messi's absence, attacking trio Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele carried the threat but without Messi's talismanic presence they drew a blank.

It was not until Messi - La Liga's top scorer with 34 goals this season - came on as a second-half substitute that the home side sparked into life.

Stop Messi, and stop Barcelona might be too simplistic a formula. It will nevertheless be the one which will vex Klopp the most between now and Wednesday.

Line-ups

Barcelona

  • 1ter Stegen
  • 2Nélson SemedoBooked at 77mins
  • 3PiquéBooked at 70mins
  • 15Lenglet
  • 18Alba
  • 22Vidal
  • 4RakiticBooked at 14mins
  • 8ArthurSubstituted forBusquetsat 73'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 11DembéléSubstituted forRobertoat 84'minutes
  • 9Suárez
  • 7CoutinhoSubstituted forMessiat 45'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Busquets
  • 10Messi
  • 13Cillessen
  • 14Malcom
  • 20Roberto
  • 21Aleñá
  • 23Umtiti

Levante

  • 25Fernández
  • 12Andújar MorenoBooked at 83mins
  • 14Nunes VezoBooked at 58mins
  • 4Suárez Pier
  • 22Luna
  • 17VukcevicSubstituted forBardhiat 65'minutes
  • 23Remeseiro Salgueiro
  • 16RochinaBooked at 56minsSubstituted forMartíat 84'minutes
  • 24Campaña
  • 7SimonSubstituted forMoralesat 45'minutes
  • 2Mayoral

Substitutes

  • 9Martí
  • 10Bardhi
  • 11Morales
  • 13Olazábal
  • 18Cabaco
  • 19López
  • 20Dwamena
Referee:
Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea
Attendance:
90,603

Match Stats

Home TeamBarcelonaAway TeamLevante
Possession
Home62%
Away38%
Shots
Home23
Away7
Shots on Target
Home12
Away2
Corners
Home6
Away3
Fouls
Home17
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Barcelona 1, Levante 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Barcelona 1, Levante 0.

Corner, Levante. Conceded by Jordi Alba.

Booking

Sergio Busquets (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Attempt saved. Coke (Levante) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top right corner.

Enis Bardhi (Levante) hits the right post with a right footed shot from the centre of the box. Assisted by José Campaña.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Rober Pier.

Attempt blocked. Luis Suárez (Barcelona) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lionel Messi.

Attempt missed. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Luis Suárez.

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Sergi Roberto replaces Ousmane Dembélé.

Substitution

Substitution, Levante. Roger Martí replaces Rubén Rochina.

Booking

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

Ousmane Dembélé (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Coke (Levante).

Hand ball by Arturo Vidal (Barcelona).

Hand ball by Arturo Vidal (Barcelona).

Attempt saved. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Sergio Busquets.

Foul by Arturo Vidal (Barcelona).

Enis Bardhi (Levante) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Booking

Nélson Semedo (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Nélson Semedo (Barcelona).

Rubén Rochina (Levante) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Aitor Fernández.

Attempt saved. Arturo Vidal (Barcelona) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Gerard Piqué.

Arturo Vidal (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Enis Bardhi (Levante).

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Sergio Busquets replaces Arthur.

Attempt blocked. Jason (Levante) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Booking

Gerard Piqué (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Gerard Piqué (Barcelona).

Borja Mayoral (Levante) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Rubén Rochina (Levante) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by José Campaña following a set piece situation.

Attempt blocked. Enis Bardhi (Levante) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Foul by Nélson Semedo (Barcelona).

José Luis Morales (Levante) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. José Luis Morales (Levante) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Aitor Fernández.

Attempt saved. Arturo Vidal (Barcelona) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Lionel Messi.

Hand ball by Ousmane Dembélé (Barcelona).

Substitution

Substitution, Levante. Enis Bardhi replaces Nikola Vukcevic.

Corner, Levante. Conceded by Marc-André ter Stegen.

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Saturday 27th April 2019

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Barcelona35258286325483
2Atl Madrid35228552232974
3Real Madrid34205959382165
4Getafe341413743291455
5Sevilla341671159421755
6Valencia34121664031952
7Ath Bilbao35121493841-350
8Alavés351211123645-947
9Espanyol341110134049-943
10Real Betis34127153949-1043
11Leganés351012133339-642
12Real Sociedad341011133942-341
13Eibar34913124247-540
14Villarreal34912134346-339
15Levante35910165162-1137
16Celta Vigo35910164857-937
17Real Valladolid35811162948-1935
18Girona34810163447-1334
19Huesca34611173755-1829
20Rayo Vallecano3477203662-2628
View full Spanish La Liga table

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