Valencia (Spain), Feb 7 (IANS) An own goal from Levante defender David Navarro and an injury time goal from Luis Suarez allowed FC Barcelona to go three points clear at the top of the La Liga football tournament here on Sunday despite a below par display.
Coach Luis Enrique opted for virtually his strongest side with only midfielder Sergio Busquets given a rest, with Andres Iniesta, Javier Mascherano and Sergi Roberto coming into the side, reports Xinhua.
Barcelona had the ball in the back of the net as early as the second minute, but Lionel Messi’s strike from an Iniesta pass was wrongly ruled out for offside.
Marino then did well to save a curling shot before Deyverson sounded a warning that Levante were not going to lie down.
The visitors took the lead with a dose of fortune in the 22nd minute as Iniesta and Jordi Alba combined for the defender’s cross to take a deflection off David Navarro and into the back of the net.
Suarez was inches away from doubling the lead a minute later, but then Levante got into the game and pushed Barcelona onto the back foot. Verza hit a free kick just over, while Lerma fired wide when clean through on goal.
However, the best chance fell to Luis Morales who ran past Dani Alves before curling a right footed shot against the base of the post.
Levante started the second half as they ended the first with the live wire Giuseppe Rossi forcing a flying save from Barcelona keeper, Claudio Bravo.
Once again Barcelona were far from in control of the game, although Ivan Rakitic’s header was only denied by a reflex save from Levante keeper Diego Marino following a corner.
Barcelona’s defence never looked comfortable against Levante’s attacks. An uncharacteristic lack of pace in Barcelona’s attack allowed Levante to snuff out most of the threats.
Suarez sealed the win with a smart finish from a counter attack in the last move of the game as Levante pressed for an equaliser.