LEVANTE roared back from Lionel Messi’s opener goal to shock Barcelona 3-1 on Saturday.
The defeat leaves Ernesto Valverde’s side vulnerable to being overtaken at the La Liga summit by any of Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Real Madrid or even Granada.
Barcelona had appeared in control when Lionel Messi converted from the spot in the 38th minute after Nelson Semedo had been tripped by Jorge Miramin in the box.
The goal took Messi’s scoring streak to five consecutive games.
But Valverde lost Luis Suarez to injury just before the break and the Blaugrana started the second half slowly.
A rip-roaring spell of three goals in eight minutes shocked Barcelona and fired Levante into an unassailable lead.
Jose Campana sent them on their way when he equalised in the 61st minute after converting Borja Mayoral’s lay-off.
Mayoral then got on the scoresheet himself when he curled home to give Levante the lead.
And Nemanja Radoja fired home to shock Messi and Co.
Barcelona thought they had pulled one back through their talisman Messi, but it was ruled out by VAR.
The loss abruptly halted Barca’s seven-match winning streak – and moved Levante up to eighth.
Valverde said after the defeat: “Maybe if we had hung on to the 1-1 longer we could have recovered, but we hadn’t started well in the second half.”
Levante coach Paco Lopez, however, was bullish: “I was a bit annoyed in the first half because without the ball Barca dominates you, and we needed to take more chances and be more daring with the ball.
“It is a huge merit to beat Barcelona, only a few can do it.”
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Valverde’s team have flattered to deceive this season and host Slavia Prague in the Champions League on Tuesday night – having struggled to beat the Czech underdogs last time out.
All is not well at the Spanish champions, with Antoine Griezmann having publicly vented at his team-mates during their match with Valladolid last week.
They could perhaps do with reinforcements, and are linked with a move for Juventus midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur.