Football

Watch: Messi-Less Barcelona Finally Beaten In 9-Goal Thriller

Watch: Messi-Less Barcelona Finally Beaten In 9-Goal Thriller

Despite comfortably winning their 7th La Liga title in 10 years, and beating Sevilla 5-0 in the Copa del Rey final, a certain amount of disappointment surrounds this season for Barcelona.

Enhanced perhaps by the departure of Javier Mascherano in January, and - more poignant still - Andres Iniesta once this season concludes, their embarrassing Champions League exit at the hands of Roma has hardly helped matter.

Yet, despite the sense of transition undoubtedly added to by the arrival of Ernesto Valverde last summer, the Catalan giants were poised to achieve a most remarkable feat.

With one game remaining after they travelled to Levante this evening, Barcelona looked set to accomplish an incredible unbeaten domestic season. Not even in the heady days of Pep Guardiola or Luis Enrique had they achieved such a thing.

Looking set to be achieved during Iniesta's final game at the Camp Nou next Sunday, things surprisingly unraveled during tonight's game.

Through Emmanuel Boateng, Levante shot into a 2-0 lead.

1-0

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2-0

With Barcelona reeling, the former Liverpool man Philippe Coutinho appeared to set them on their way to a comeback just before half-time.

This beautiful strike calming things down nicely.

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In what would surely be a routine comeback and even win for Barcelona at this point, Levante came flying out for the second-half.

By the 49th minute of the match, they were 4-1 ahead. Enis Bardhi put Barcelona two goals behind again with a finish not too dissimilar to that which had given Barca a lifeline.

Then it was Boateng's turn again; this goal sealing an impressive hat-trick for the Ghanaian.

From here, things just got stranger. Within 10 minutes of Boateng's hat-trick goal, there had been two more goals.

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One more each fro Bardhi and Coutinho as the game went to 5-2.

5-1

5-2

From here, Barcelona would begin to turn the screw; Coutinho grabbing his hat-trick, before Luis Suarez converted a penalty to make it 5-4.

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5-3

5-4

Despite exerting plenty of pressure for the remaining 20 minutes, Levante held on, and, with that, put an end to Barcelona's unbeaten run.

See Also: Ander Herrera Leads Tributes To Michael Carrick With Poignant Message

Arthur James O'Dea

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