Levante vs Barcelona match report: Luis Suarez's late strike seals narrow win for La Liga leaders

Levane 0 Barcelona 2

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Barcelona did just enough to defeat last-place Levante 2-0 and match their all-time record of 28 consecutive games without losing on Sunday. 

Luis Enrique’s side took the lead with an own goal by Levante defender David Navarro in the 21st minute and sealed the victory with an injury-time goal by Luis Suarez to match the unbeaten streak set by Pep Guardiola's team in the 2010-11 season. 

The result also kept Barcelona top the Spanish league with 54 points, three more than Atletico Madrid, who defeated Eibar 3-1 on Saturday.

It was the 10th win in a row for Barça in all competitions, who have not lost since a 2-1 defeat at Sevilla in October. 

"What matters to me are the team's objectives," said Enrique, who took charge of a Barcelona game for the 100th time on Sunday. "These are nice numbers, if they help us win titles at the end of the season, fantastic. We are in good position, but there is still a lot left." 

Guardiola's team in 2011 went on to win the league by four points over Real Madrid and also claimed the Champions League in the same season. Their unbeaten streak ended with a 3-1 loss at Real Betis in the Copa del Rey quarterfinals. 

Another Barcelona team in the 1973-74 season, coached by Rinus Michels and with Johan Cruyff in the squad, also went 27 straight games unbeaten.

Although the Catalan club controlled possession against Levante, the attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Suarez were largely contained, the Uruguayan’s goal coming  in the final seconds of the game. 

"We suffered a lot until the end," Barcelona midfielder Sergi Roberto said. "We were able to go ahead in the first half but Levante played well and pressured throughout the game. At the end we got that second goal and we have to be happy for winning the three points." 

Levante threatened on a few occasions and had some good chances to score, especially on counterattacks. The local fans gave the team a standing ovation at the end of the game despite the loss at the Ciutat de Valencia Stadium. 

"We played a very good match," said Levante striker Jose Morales, who struck the post with a first-half shot. "We put pressure on them and created good chances, but in the end it comes down to the quality of their players, who are extraordinary." 

Barcelona's first goal came when Jordi Alba's cross from inside the area struck Navarro's back and bounced into his own net. 

Suarez had few chances until finding the net with a simple finish following a breakaway just before the final whistle. It was Suarez's 10th goal in his last six matches. The Uruguay striker is the league's leading scorer with 20 goals, one more than Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Messi had a goal disallowed for offside after a great pass by Andres Iniesta less than five minutes into the game, though replays were at odds with the decision.

Associated Press