It was by no means the most scintillating performance of the campaign but a point was all that was needed and a point was what they got. Keita’s first-half header was cancelled out by the on-loan Caicedo and an uneventful second half ensured that’s how it remained.
Barcelona now sit pretty at the top of the league with a six-point advantage and two games left to play. The Catalans boast a superior head-to-head record that would see them take the Primera Liga, even in the unlikely event that they lose their final league games and finish level on points with Madrid.
The deadlock was broken in emphatic style when Xavi, pulling the strings in midfield, sent over an inch-perfect flighted ball to match the run of Keita, whose powerful header soared into the top left-hand corner to spark champion celebrations. Unfortunately for Barça, that would be the only joy they had in front of the Levante goal; in fact it would be the home side who struck next.
Lone striker Felipe Caicedo caused problems throughout the game and with half time approaching, he took advantage of a mix-up between Piqué and Valdés to poke the ball home and level the score. The current form of the Barça defence must be a slight concern for Pep Guardiola, who will realise that his back four must be on top form to keep out Rooney and co. on May 28th. The lack of confidence at the back, coupled with doubts over Eric Abidal’s match fitness, could make this the best time to play the Catalan giants but then again, you are talking about the Spanish champions, home, of course, to the world’s best player.
After an unusually quiet first 45, Messi began to get more into the game as it developed. The three defenders constantly breathing down his neck made space and time hard to come by, but that proved irrelevant just past the hour mark, the Argentine somehow wriggled his way past a series of Levante shirts and flailing limbs, only to see his placed shot cruelly hit the post and come back out. On the opposite flank, Afellay made himself a handful all night with a good turn of pace and nifty footwork but short-of-confidence Villa was unable to break his recent barren streak and was replaced just before the end.
Both teams were happy to settle for a draw and the final 20 minutes suffered as a result. The game eventually came to a monotonous end but Barça celebrations at the final whistle were anything but. Afterwards Messi and Valdés admitted it had been a very difficult task to retain their Primera Liga title but after a night of celebrations, all eyes must now be on Wembley and the prospect of winning a fourth Champions League final.