Barcelona's unbeaten season ended by five-star Levante

Barcelona's unbeaten season ended by five-star Levante

Barcelona's unbeaten season ended by five-star Levante

BC-SOC-Spanish Roundup, 3rd Ld-Writethru, 615 Levante wins 5-4 to end Barca's bid for unbeaten Liga seasonAP Photo AS114, AS115, AS110, AS111Eds: Adds Barcelona's league record this season.

Barca had gone the whole La Liga season unbeaten, how was it they were now losing 5-1 to 16 place Levante, a team with nothing to play for.

Yet Philippe Coutinho also completed a hat-trick and Luis Suarez scored from the penalty spot as Barca fought back to set up a tense finale.

That wasn't enough though as an Emmanuel Boateng hat-trick and a brace from Enis Bardhi sealed a shock victory for 15th-placed Levante.

Ernesto Valverde left Messi - the competition's leading scorer with 34 goals - out of his squad to rest before a demanding summer for the Argentina forward, which includes the World Cup.

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Bardhi hit the woodwork with a lifted finish over Marc-Andre ter Stegen but Barca failed to heed the warnings and Boateng made it two after half an hour, latching on to Sasa Lukic's threaded ball through.

This was Barcelona's first league loss since slipping up against Malaga on April 8 past year and while it has minimal impact on the table, Valverde will have questions to answer, not least with regards to leaving out Messi. Botaeng grabbed his hat-trick three minutes.

Uruguayan striker Suarez then headed narrowly over the bar while Busquets had a late, half-hearted penalty claim turned down although Levante's Ruben Rochina missed a gilt-edged chance to make it 6-4 down the other end.

Levante, meanwhile, are up to 15th in the table and looking forward to another season in La Liga following an incredible run of form under new coach Paco Lopez.

The manager could also be criticized for starting back-up Thomas Vermaelen and little-used Yerry Mina as his central defenders with Samuel Umtiti injured.

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Coutinho pulled one back with a long strike that took a deflection off a defender in the 38th, but Boateng struck again while Bardhi got his two goals to build what proved to be an insurmountable lead.

"We are angry not to have come through this game and not to have the opportunity to finish unbeaten", Valverde said.

Levante scored three times after the break to take a 5-1 lead and become the first team since Malaga in 2003 to put five goals past Barca in a league game.

Bardhi restores two-goal lead on 46′.

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