Levante defeat Barcelona to end unbeaten run

Mauro Icardi

Mauro Icardi

Levante striker Emmanuel Boetang scored a hat-trick as Levante ended FC Barcelona's dreams of going an entire league campaign without losing a single match and their 43 game unbeaten run stretching into last season with an incredible 5-4 win over the La Liga Santander champions in the Ciudad de Valencia Stadium on Sunday night.

"Obviously, we wanted to end the season unbeaten, but this doesn't take any credit away from what we have done this year and everything we have achieved in La Liga", Busquets told reporters.

Barca trailed 2-1 at half-time, with Philippe Coutinho responding to Boateng's early brace, before a barely-believable 10-minute spell at the start of the second period saw them trailing 5-1.

Levante raced into a remarkable 5-1 lead against the double winners after 56 minutes with a hat-trick from Ghanaian striker Emmanuel Boateng and two goals from Macedonian worldwide Enis Bardhi.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde left Messi- the competition's leading scorer with 34 goals- out of his squad to rest ahead of a demanding summer for the Argentina forward at the World Cup.

Bardhi hit the woodwork with a lifted finish over Marc-Andre ter Stegen but Barca failed to heed the warnings and Boateng made it two after half an hour, latching on to Sasa Lukic's threaded ball through.

Barca's last loss in LaLiga came 400 days ago on April 8, 2017 when they went down to a 2-0 defeat at Malaga.

Coutinho pulled one back with a rasping shot before half-time but three Levante goals in 10 minutes after the interval sent the home fans into delirium.

It was the first time Barca had conceded five goals in a Liga game since they were beaten 5-1 at Malaga in December 2003.

Bardhi soon grabbed his second of the game to make it 5-1 and it appeared the game was up for the beleaguered visitors.

The league leaders were awarded a soft penalty on 71 minutes and Luis Suarez stepped up to rifle home.

The away side came close to the result against an increasingly nervy Levante defence gifting Coutinho his second, before a pass from Sergio Busquets deflected off Suarez and beyond Oier in the home goal.

"To score five goals against Barcelona is nearly impossible, but our motto all week has been "nothing is impossible" and we have achieved something historic", he said.

Barca were not without their chances in the remaining minutes, but Suarez failed to hit the target with a header from a Coutinho free-kick, although late Levante substitute Ruben Rochina almost added a sixth ahead of the final whistle.

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