Barcelona’s winning streak continued at Levante even though Xavi’s side missed three penalties and came across a team willing to throw everything at the Catalans.
Three penalties in a match that no one had heard of, but it happened in Levante, just over a week after Real Madrid scored a hat-trick of penalty kicks against Celta Vigo in La Liga. Conspiracy theorists will have a field day though.
#LOOKATTHATSTAT Barcelona is the first team in La Liga history to win a match after being sentenced to three penalties.
️ Only one team managed to collect a point after receiving 3 penalties in the match: Osasuna drew away with Atleti in 1990.
– MisterChip (English) (MisterChiping) April 10 2022
Barcelona can’t have too many complaints about any of their penalty kicks, but they put in a great performance in taking all three points on a ground where they struggled in the past. Once again, Xavi’s men had to come from behind, dig in and show some true fighting spirit, and once again they came out victorious.
Of course, this was not the most beautiful performance for Barcelona, but after this roller coaster match, these three points will feel even more special. Barcelona has not lost 15 games so far, and is the first team to win a match in the Spanish League after receiving three penalties, according to Mr. Chip.
Xavi chose to give Pedri and Gavi a rest for this and started the teenagers on the bench at Levante. It was an understandable decision given Barcelona’s current workload, but the coach ended up calling up the duo early in the second half with his side trailing.
Nico Gonzalez had his first game for Barcelona since January but he hasn’t really taken advantage of that opportunity. Barcelona’s first-half gameplay was very slow and cumbersome, and they lacked the power to even match the fierce Levante.
Pedri and Jaffe needed just minutes to put Barcelona ahead for the first time in the match with a very special goal indeed. Gavi’s sprinting and passing was too good to watch and allowed Badri to level with one swish of his right shoe.
3 – Barcelona player Pedri Gonzalez scored three goals in aggregate in his last five matches in all competitions, which is equivalent to 46 matches with the Blaugrana. Probably. pic.twitter.com/wfklMVKd27
– OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 10 2022
Barca still had to do to move forward and win the match, but there is no doubt that the joining of the two youngsters was crucial. Xavi insisted after the match that Barcelona do not rely on Pedri, but the statistics indicate otherwise.
Choose Highlight before kick-off how Barcelona have won 80% of their La Liga games this season when Pedri was in the starting line-up. When the quarterback is not on the team, the percentage drops to just 42.1%. Says.
One of the defining moments of the match was when Levante were awarded a second penalty, just five minutes after Levante had taken the lead with a penalty kick from Jose Luis Morales.
Eric Garcia, who had a very impressive game again, was the guilty party this time around and looked as if he was about to have a good night for Barcelona with Levante on the verge of a 2-0 lead.
However, Marc-Andre ter Stegen had other ideas and saved Roger Marti’s efforts that seemed to breathe new life into Barcelona. Three minutes later, Barcelona equalized and suddenly the features of the match changed again.
The Barcelona goalkeeper has had a lot of criticism this season, and rightly so at times, but he’s definitely on the alert at the moment and was definitely key to Sunday’s win.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ousmane Dembele were also key to the win as the duo united once again to set the bar for Barcelona. The striker was virtually unidentified at Levante until he hit a superb shot from Dembele’s home.
This is now 10 of Gabon’s 14 caps since he joined Barcelona on a free transfer in January. Aubameyang has already replaced Memphis Depay as the team’s top scorer in 2021-22 in 15 fewer games.
Aubameyang once again asked Dembele to stay after the match and you can’t help but wonder if the striker’s presence at the club could help the Frenchman keep going.
♂️ No player has scored more assists than Ousmane Dembele (11) in the league this season
It has only appeared 14 times… pic.twitter.com/r3lGyNDQbi
– WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) April 10 2022
Dembele is fit and leads the assists list in La Liga alongside Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema with 11. We really have no idea what Dembele thinks about his future. joyful celebrations When Luc de Jong scored the winning goal he certainly didn’t give up the appearance of a man who doesn’t care about the club.
De Jong is back in the clutch again to secure Barcelona three points upon his return to the squad after he tested positive for Covid-19. The Dutchman remains a very useful option off the bench and proved why again at Levante.
Barcelona appeared to be heading for a draw after a penalty kick by Gonzalo Melero brought the match back to 2-2, which led to Xavi sending De Jong to find the winning goal. And that’s exactly what he did with a header in the last seconds.
De Jong now has six league goals with Barcelona, only Memphis and Oba have scored more, and it’s also worth highlighting how important his goals are to the Catalans.
Best supersub in La Liga?
Barcelona is second. Without the seven points Luke de Jong got with his goals, they’d be in seventh place pic.twitter.com/czVCbUUQMs
– Spanish football (@footballespana_) April 10 2022
Xavi described de Jong as a “great choice” and “an example for everyone” after the match, but the scorer himself was probably the best.
“Scoring goals is always a great feeling,” He said. “But scoring in the last few minutes to win the three points is something really special. I’ve done it a few times in my career and it never feels natural. Amazing.”