Messi’s Solitary Strike Saves Barcelona’s Blushes In Slim Win Over Levante

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Lionel Messi scored the only goal as Barcelona returned to winning ways with victory over struggling Levante.

Martin Braithwaite, Clement Lenglet, Jordi Alba and Antoine Griezmann all had chances but found keeper Aitor Fernandez in inspired form.

But there was little Fernandez could do when Messi struck from an angle after Frenkie de Jong’s assist.

Levante’s best chance fell to Jorge de Frutos, while Marc-Andre ter Stegen denied substitute Son right at the end.

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Barca’s fifth league win lifts them two places up the La Liga table to eighth before Wednesday’s home match with leaders Real Sociedad (20:00 GMT).

Messi’s finish was greeted with relief by his team-mates after a bad week for Ronald Koeman’s side.

They followed up a surprise defeat at Cadiz last weekend with a 3-0 home setback to Juventus in the Champions League.

That defeat to Juve means Barcelona will be unseeded when the draw for the last 16 of the Champions League is made on Monday.

On Sunday, Levante were on course for a point after Fernandez made a string of fine stops.

He did well to push Griezmann’s header away before Lenglet blazed a great chance over the bar.

Messi struck for the eighth time this season, to leave Levante 18th in the table, two points from safety.


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