Lionel Messi saved Barcelona from one other embarrassing outcome by scoring the decisive purpose in a 1-Zero win over lowly Levante, whereas Actual Sociedad returned prime of La Liga on Sunday. Messi struck with 14 minutes remaining of a lacklustre show from Barca on the Camp Nou which is able to do little to ease fan fears following their 3-Zero hammering by the hands of Juventus midweek. Ronald Koeman’s aspect are nonetheless approach off the tempo within the title race, 9 factors behind Sociedad who reclaimed first place regardless of solely drawing 1-1 with Eibar. Barcelona do nevertheless have two video games in hand on the Basque outfit.
Atletico are degree on 26 factors with Sociedad and now have two video games in hand whereas Actual Madrid at the moment are simply three factors behind the leaders having performed one much less after beating their native rivals 2-Zero on Saturday.
Villarreal are 4 factors off the lead in fourth after drawing 1-1 at Actual Betis, who’re one level behind Barca in ninth.
“The crew is working nicely, they gave the utmost,” mentioned Koeman.
“We nonetheless lack slightly confidence in ourselves, in our sport, however we had quite a lot of probabilities, and I’ve nothing to say concerning the perspective of the gamers on this match.”
Barca managed to drive a number of saves from Aitor Fernandez, with the Levante goalkeeper doing notably nicely to push away a stinging shot from Martin Braithwaite within the 16th minute and Antoine Griezmann’s header 5 minutes later.
Nevertheless the perfect probability of the opening interval fell to Jorge de Frutos within the 12th minute, the Spaniard by some means taking pictures straight at Marc-Andre ter Stegen after the ball broke kindly for him proper in entrance of purpose.
Messi saves day
Barca continued to dominate possession within the second half but when something regarded much less threatening, with Fernandez being referred to as into motion largely for pictures that have been hit straight at him.
Nevertheless with Levante wanting extra snug than a aspect of their degree ought to on the Camp Nou, Messi saved his crew with a scientific end off the submit after gathering Frenkie de Jong’s cross.
It was hardly the kind of show to honour Sergio Busquets’ 593rd look for the membership, which takes him degree at fourth of all time for matches performed for Barca alongside Carles Puyol.
Nevertheless the three factors are a lift forward of the go to of Sociedad on Wednesday, which is then adopted up by one other house conflict with Valencia on Saturday.
Earlier Ander Barrenetxea gave Actual Sociedad the lead in San Sebastian with a thumping strike within the 20th minute, however Sergi Enrich turned house with 25 minutes remaining to ship his crew 10th on 15 factors.
Sociedad would have had an even bigger hole between them and Atletico had Igor Zubeldia’s 80th-minute tap-in not been dominated out by VAR for an especially tight offside.
Sunday’s draw was Sociedad’s sixth in as many video games in all competitions, and got here after one other 1-1 draw at Napoli on Thursday which noticed them squeeze into the final 32 of the Europa League.
Granada gained 1-Zero at Elche in Sunday’s different match, a win that retains them one level forward of Barcelona.
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