Barcelona regains three-point lead at the top of LaLiga with Lionel Messi’s hat-trick
VALENCIA, 2018, DECEMBER 16 – The defending champions were joint table-toppers with Atletico Madrid and Sevilla, which both claimed victories this match week.
But it was FC Barcelona’s talisman Lionel Messi who stole the show once again starting from the moment he crossed for Luis Suárez‘s opener.
Despite being second best early in the game, there was no doubt about the results after the deadlock was broken in the 34th minute.
The Argentine then converted two clinical finishes and completes his hat-trick from close range – his 50th goal for club and country in 2018 – as well cutting the ball back for Gerard Piqué‘s late fifth.
Levante’s defender Erick Cabaco was sent off in the 76th minute after a reckless challenge on French winger Ousmane Dembélé.
The hosts started brightly with striker Emmanuel Boateng coming close to scoring twice – a shot stopped by the crossbar and a near-post effort kept out by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Barca served a classy payback after last season’s heartbreaking 5-4 loss against Levante ended their chances of going a full season undefeated in the league’s penultimate game.
Luis Suárez (34′), Lionel Messi (43′, 47′, 60′), Gerard Piqué (88′)
Levante UD: Oier Olazábal, Erick Cabaco, Sergio Postigo (Sanjin Prcić 70′), Róber, Jason, Rubén Rochina (Coke 69′), José Campaña, Enis Bardhi, Toño, Emmanuel Boateng (Borja Mayoral 62′), José Morales
FC Barcelona: Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Thomas Vermaelen (Arthur Melo 52′), Clément Lenglet, Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba, Arturo Vidal (Philippe Coutinho 78′), Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitić, Ousmane Dembélé (Denis Suárez 81′), Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez
Referee: José Luis González González