2012 La Liga: UD levante vs Barcelona live

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 10: Carles Puyol of FC Barcelona celebrates after Pedro Rodriguez of FC Barcelona scored his team's fourth goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Getafe CF at Camp Nou on April 10, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. FC Barcelona won 4-0. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Follow Indepth Africa’s live coverage of the match between UD levante and Barcelona

UD levante 1 vs 2 Barcelona

There will be three minutes of added time in this one.
Substitution Xavi Torres Rubén Suárez
Substitution Xavi Torres Rubén Suárez
Substitution Barkero Juan Gómez López
Barca are playing possession football in the latter stages of this one. If there’s one team you do not want to come up against when you need a goal, it’s the Catalans.
Messi is brilliantly by Cuenca yet Ballesteros is alert to cut out the danger. Even if Levante lose this, they can hold their heads up high.
The home team are looking to get back into this game as Barkero slings a set-piece into the box. However, the away side defend the danger.
Substitution Pedro Botelho Abdel Kader Ghezzal
Levante look a little shell-shocked and that penalty could have massive ramifications for their hopes of securing European football this season.
Substitution Alexis Sánchez Daniel Alves
Quite a few of you are getting in touch with me via Twitter now to remind me you predicted Messi hat-tricks. Well, with 15 minutes to go you wouldn’t put it past the little man.
That really could be a massive moment in the title race with Barca now looking set to close the gap on Madrid to four points with Clasico to come at Camp Nou next week.
Assist Joan Isaac Cuenca Lopez
Penalty Goal Lionel Messi
GOAL BARCELONA! Messi steps up to slam the ball in the top corner, sending the keeper the wrong way, giving his side a priceless lead. In doing so he levels with Ronaldo for the Pichichi with both men on 41 Liga goals for the season.
Yellow Card Juan García García
Yellow Card Valdo
PENALTY TO BARCELONA! Cuenca and Botelho collide in the box and it seems the linesman is the one who flags for the penalty. Massive moment in this season!
Yellow Card Gustavo Daniel Cabral
Nope. It’s not the best set-piece from Messi who curls the ball over the crossbar. We’re heading into the final 20 minutes with the score 1-1.
Barca have a free kick on the edge of the box. Can they take the lead here?
Yellow Card Iborra
Despite being far from their best tonight, you have to fancy Barcelona to go on and win this one as they now surely have the momentum.
Goal Lionel Messi
GOAL BARCELONA! The Catalans step up the tempo and grab a superb goal. Messi plays a lovely one-two with Alexis before slamming the ball into the far corner of the net from the edge of the box. Messi now equals the record held by Ronaldo and Mariano Martin for scoring in 10 consecutive Liga games.
The away side are resorting to efforts from range now as Cuenca’s shot from 25 metres out dribbles with of the goal.
BETTER FROM BARCA! Adriano cuts on to his supposedly weaker right foot before firing an effort at goal from the edge of the box that is superbly tipped around the post for a corner by Munua.
Barca are getting plenty of men forward but are really struggling to find space with Levante making sure they have plenty of men back.
Decent defensive play from Mascherano who slides Valdo before then clearing the danger with the home side threatening.
Pedro is off now for Barca as Iniesta comes on to great applause from the Levante supporters to make his 400th appearance for the Catalans. Can the World Cup winner be the man to unlock the home team’s defence?
Substitution Pedro Andrés Iniesta Luján
Lovely footwork from Cuenca to make his way into the Granotas’ penalty area yet the winger’s cross is blocked by Cabral.
LEVANTE COME CLOSE! Kone’s pace is devastating as he takes the ball off Thiago. The Ivorian slides the ball to Barkero who then looks to find the on-loan striker with the goal gaping. However, it’s a poor pass as Puyol clears the danger.
Barca are camping out inside the Levante half so far in the second interval. This could be a LONG 40 minutes or so for the Valencia-based side.
My guess is only as good as yours here but it could be that Xavi has picked up a slight knock and Guardiola is looking to protect his midfield maestro ahead of the Chelsea meeting.
Substitution Xavi Joan Isaac Cuenca Lopez
We are back underway for the second half and there has been a change for the away side with Cuenca coming on for Xavi. I’m guessing quite a few of you will be annoyed with that change.
Akabuo Chuks and Bassem Zabaneh are both predicting wins for Levante tonight while Chidi thinks the Blaugrana will step up their game in the second period and cruise to a 3-1 win.
45′ +1
Yellow Card Adriano
45′ +1
There will be two minutes of added time in the first-half.
Yellow Card Pedro Botelho

Keep your thoughts on the game coming to me via Twitter @LukasMaf. I want to get your opinions on what Guardiola will be saying to his players at the break

Barcelona have enjoyed 71 per cent of possession so far tonight compared to Levante’s 29. Still, it is the home side who lead 1-0.
Messi wriggles clear of a few challenges yet takes himself a little too wide of the goal as his eventual effort is lashed into the side-netting.
Frustration setting in now for the away side as Thiago fouls Iborra who was running clear of his own penalty area.
Pedro’s cross is easily headed clear by Cabral. Barca have crossed the ball into the box on a number of occasions tonight; a strange tactic considering Ballesteros and Cabral’s prowess in the air.
Yellow Card Thiago Alcántara
With Adriano and Valdo colliding, Pedro Lopez is given plenty of space to charge down the right wing. The full-back makes his way to the edge of the box before dragging his effort wide.
Looks like some of you are a little unsure of Barca tonight. Rami Darwich and El Capitan both predict draws while Zlatan Abu is unhappy with the Barca starting XI, in particular picking out Thiago who he believes to have been below standard recently.
Levante counterattack in numbers yet lose momentum when Kone is unable to get the ball out of his feet in the box. Iborra eventually shoots from range yet Mascherano is on cue to perform an excellent sliding block.
Possession wise it’s all Barcelona yet apart from the two Thiago headers, Guardiola’s men are yet to really trouble the Levante goal. Can the Catalans grab an equaliser before the break?
Messi attempts to whip a cross into the penalty area yet the home side’s defence deal with it comfortably, clearing the danger.
Another free kick awarded to Barca as Ballesteros is adjudged to have had his leg too high whilst challenging Fabregas.
Hanna Bassil on Twitter still believes Barcelona will come back to win 3-1 tonight. Well, Real Madrid did exactly that earlier tonight, going 1-0 down to a penalty versus Sporting. I want to get your thoughts on the penalty folks. Was it clear as day or do any of you think it was harsh?
Thiago is brought down by Xavi Torres 30 metres from goal. What can the Blaugrana do here?
So against the run of play, Juan Ignacio Martinez’s men are in front against the reigning Liga champions. At the moment Levante would move into fourth spot.
Penalty Goal Barkero
Yellow Card Sergio Busquets Burgos
GOAL LEVANTE! Barkero steps up to coolly slot the ball down the centre of the goal as Valdes dives to his left. Could this be the end of Barca’s title hopes?
PENALTY! Barkero’s ball into the box is dropped by Valdes and Juanfran’s effort is blocked by the hand of Busquets who is then booked.
Levante win a corner as Pedro Lopez deflects the ball off Adriano’s leg. What will the home team create here?
ANOTHER THIAGO HEADER! Messi’s free kick is a good one as Thiago ghosts past his marker to get his head to the ball from 12 yards out. However, it’s straight down the throat of Munua who holds on to the ball.
Messi takes a corner from the right and quite frankly, it’s rubbish. Juanfran smashes the ball to safety with ease.
A few of your thoughts from Twitter now. Khaled Saifi is expecting a Messi hat-trick tonight while Zinedine Hassan is willing to bet his girlfriend that Messi will get his name on the scoresheet. I bet your girlfriend would love you for that! Saying that, I think it’s a pretty safe bet for yourself to make.
I’ve been really impressed with Ballesteros so far tonight. The guy is a man-mountain! Oh, and he’s nearly 37 – the third oldest outfield player in La Liga behind Mallorca’s Marti and Racing’s Munitis.
Pedro drills an inviting ball along the six-yard line yet there is no Barcelona player attacking the ball. I guess that’s one of the negatives of not lining up with an out-and-out striker.
The home side are struggling to get hold of the ball at the moment which is hardly surprising. However, no goals as of yet.
THIAGO SHOULD SCORE! Alexis crosses the ball to Thiago who somehow manages to screw his header wide of goal from a matter of yards out.
Good defending by Pedro Lopez and Ballesteros who double up on Messi as the Argentine smashes his effort over the bar from 12 yards out.
Xavi’s corner is dangerous yet it somehow skids along the six-yard line with no player able to make contact with the ball. Early warning signs for Levante.
A few niggly fouls coming Barcelona’s way in this one as Pedro has the first opportunity at goal; the attacker’s shot being beaten away by Munua.
Xavi’s corner is dangerous yet it somehow skids along the six-yard line with no player able to make contact with the ball. Early warning signs for Levante.
A few niggly fouls coming Barcelona’s way in this one as Pedro has the first opportunity at goal; the attacker’s shot being beaten away by Munua.
Neither side have been able to settle with the ball at the moment as Levante look to hassle their famous guests.
The home side get us underway here at the Estadi Ciutat de Valencia as Barca immediately gain control of possession.

FC Barcelona travel to Leavnte today as they look to keep the heat on Real Madrid in what could be the most important Jornada of the season. The away trip to the Estadi Ciutat de València was always going to be difficult, but with one eye on the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg away to Chelsea, and some even looking ahead to El Clasico, this will be a real test for the squad, and Pep Guardiola. Does he chose to rest the star names in lieu of the tough fixtures ahead, or does he trust that his first choice XI can handle the rigours of the next 10 days?

Thankfully, Ibrahim Afellay has been given medical clearance, and thus could have made his long-awaited return tomorrow, conveniently just in time for El Clasico and the Champions League semi-finals. Is it a coincidence that Afellay returns bang on time for the fixtures he thrived in last season? Probably, but it’s a psychological boost nonetheless. Will he feature tomorrow? Well, he hasn’t been included in the 18 man squad, so I guess that’s our answer. Wherever you look, however you look, there’s a plethora of difficult choices for Guardiola to make tomorrow.


Tomorrow’s opposition Levante have been undoubtedly the surprise story of the season, and despite a recent downturn in form, they remain in fifth place just two points off fourth place Malaga. Should they put together a late surge and force their way into the Champions League I’m sure all of Spain will rejoice; it’s a wonderful story. In fact, Levante’s success goes some way to showing how mismanaged some of Spain’s clubs are: if this little club can keep up a push for European qualification on such a minimal budget, then why can’t clubs like Sevilla or Atleti who actually have money?

In my opinion, it’s all about their experience and pride. These are players that want to make an impact in the top division before they retire, and more often than not, they have some connection to the club. Look at Spain’s three most successful clubs this season – Barcelona’s cantera connection is obvious, while Bilbao have been a revelation under Bielsa with their all-Basque policy. Levante has a variance on this policy, in that they pick up the “rejects” from Valencia, Sociedad and Bilbao etc. but the backbone of this squad are either home-grown or have been at the club for a number of years. These are players who have been with the club all through the bad times and are now enjoying the time they have in the top division. As mentioned earlier in my piece for Puyol, it goes to show that talent is no substitute for determination and effort.

Small rant aside, Levante will be giving it their all tomorrow evening, and it is vital that Barcelona do not allow themselves to think ahead to Chelsea. Up until midnight tomorrow, the focus can only be on Levante.

The hosts can call upon Xavi Torres’ experience under Guardiola to help construct an efficient gameplan to stop the Blaugrana, and curiously enough this isn’t the only link Levante have with Barcelona. Way back in 1981, Johan Cruyff played half a season for Levante in the Segunda Division before returning to Ajax. That’s about the most interesting thing I could find anyway.

Turning our attention back to the game, Pep Guardiola’s squad of 18 players is smaller than usual, but with good reason, as Seydou Keita has been suffering with some “discomfort” in his right thigh so was left in Cataluña. Whether he is borderline injured, or this is just a fabricated injury because he is on four yellow cards (Clasico next week) I’m not sure. However, as Keita is unlikely to start the Clasico I think we can trust that he is actually injured.

Victor Valdes is likely to start in goal, but bearing in mind that he has accumulated four yellow cards and that the Clasico is next week, we could see a rare league start for Jose Manuel Pinto. On the other hand, Pep could just tell him to be on his best behaviour, after all, there’s only a small chance that he will pick up a yellow tomorrow.

Defensively, Dani Alves has been named in the squad for the first time since his injury, and with that, one has to expect that he will play some part tomorrow. However, does Guardiola start Alves running the risk that he suffers a relapse and misses the next 10 days, or does he play it safe and go with Martin Montoya (who should have started Tuesday)? I think he goes for the latter, with Alves making a cameo appearance off the subs bench on the hour mark.

In the centre of defense, Gerard Pique is pushing for a start after recovering from his injury, and the prospect of Pique starting and thus allowing Javier Mascherano or Carles Puyol some time to rest must be an appealing prospect for Pep. But again, like with Alves, we cannot risk Pique getting injured either. Based on that, I think one of the normal defense will start and finish the full 90 minutes, but the two others will each play a half, or more likely an hour and a half-hour respectively. My guess is that Mascherano and Pique start, with Puyol making an appearance off the bench. That leaves Adriano as the sole choice for left-back, unless Pep wants to surprise us with a 3-4-3/3-3-1-3 again.

The absence of Seydou Keita is slightly frustrating for me, purely because I thought this match would have been perfect for Sergio Busquets to get some rest bearing in mind how pivotal he is to this team. There is still a possibility of Busi getting some rest, with Thiago the only other viable replacement, but I think Busquets is a nailed-on starter tomorrow.

Ahead of Busi, Thiago could start his third consecutive away La Liga match, although I fancy that at least of Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez will start, likely to be partnered by Cesc Fabregas. Personally, I would prefer both to rest in favour of Thiago and Cesc, but it certainly wouldn’t be detrimental to our chances if one (or indeed both) started tomorrow evening. Levante will be a tough nut to crack, and with one of our Ballon D’Or nominees starting, the team is more likely to create chances and dominate possession.

Offensively, some might want to see Lionel Messi rested, but chances are that he will start, and with good reason. Without Lionel Messi, who will play in attack? I understand that there are replacements (Cesc, Thiago at a push) but then surely Messi is less prone to injury and fatigue compared to Xavi and Iniesta? His 61 goal contribution is pretty irreplaceable and combined with the likely rest for Alexis Sanchez (who is on four yellow cards) and Pedro, the likely forward line of Isaac Cuenca and Cristian Tello needs Lionel Messi to provide the bite.

Predicted Line-Ups: Valdes; Montoya, Pique, Mascherano, Adriano; Busi, Cesc, Iniesta; Cuenca, Tello, Messi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>