Barcelona Wins, Real Madrid Loses, Is La Liga Done?

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Barcelona Wins, Real Madrid Loses, Is La Liga Done?
Photos courtesy of Getty Images

FC Barcelona not only gained three points and maintained their unbeaten streak intact in La Liga (17 games) as they crushed Levante 0-4 on Sunday, but Tito Vilanova's men demoralized their eternal rival Real Madrid and sent José Mourinho complaining all the way down to 11 points behind Barça.

Victor Valdés had a monster save on José Barkero’s shot in the 13th minute as Levante had the first threat in the game. Dani Alves had to leave the game in the 14th minute with a muscular injury and was replaced by Martin Montoya.

With Montoya’s entrance, all 11 Barça players that were on the pitch were all La Masia products.

Definitely a moment in history.

Lionel Messi missed his first real shot in the 23rd minute as Leo’s shot from near the top of the box went just wide right of the post. Xavi’s long range shot missed left in the 24th minute. Xavi took a quick half volley shot in the 30th minute, but his shot rolled right into Levante goalkeeper Gustavo Munúa’s hands. Levante had another shot just a minute later as Barkero missed from close range. A corner kick was headed toward net by Juanfran, who nearly set up his teammate Obafemi Martins for a goal, but Martins didn’t react in time and the ball rolled out for a goal kick. Gerard Pique just missed heading in a goal from a corner kick in the 42nd minute.

In the second half, Lionel Messi got Barcelona in the lead thanks to a great pass from Andrés Iniesta. Messi lobbed the ball over Munúa to give the Catalans the lead in the 48th minute. Barkero almost made a wonder goal in the 50th minute as his volley just missed left of Valdés.

Messi got a brace on the night in the 52nd minute as once again Andrés Iniesta found Messi inside the box and Leo slide it into the back of the net to double the lead. It was Messi’s 11th brace on the season.

Andrés Iniesta decided to get his goal in the 57th minute as Don Andrés blasted a shot from the top of the penalty box and beat Munúa for the 3-0 lead and Barcelona’s third goal in 11 minutes.

Cesc Fabregas got into the fun in the 63rd minute as once again Iniesta found a teammate on the left side. Cesc got the give-and-go from Andrés and Fabregas passed a sliding Munúa and—with a great touch—slid the ball in for the fourth goal for el blaugrana.

With his third assist on the night, Andrés Iniesta became the second player in La Liga this season to record a three-assist game. The other player with a three-assist game this Liga season: Cesc Fabregas.

With the fourth goal, FC Barcelona became the first Liga club to score four goals in four consecutive road games.

Valdés got a great save on Martins in the 65th minute as the home side tried to get something started. Adriano made his return from injury for Barcelona in the 75th minute as the Brazilian replaced Jordi Alba.

Close to the 90-minute mark, a penalty was given to Levante as the referee called a foul on Carles Puyol. Barkero stepped up to take the kick, but Valdés was a beast and stopped Barkero’s shot and the rebound as well. According to OptaSports.com, only Andrés Palop (Sevilla) and Diego Alves (Valencia) have saved more PKs than Valdés in La Liga in the last 10 years.

For the weekend, Victor Valdés > Iker Casillas.

 

Final: Levante 0–4 FC Barcelona

What looked like what could be a complicated game for Barcelona turned out to be a rout for the Catalans. The Man of the Match was Andrés Iniesta and deservedly so (three assists, one golazo).

With 12 wins and one draw, FC Barcelona has now equalized the best start in La Liga history after 13 games, matching the 1991-92 Real Madrid record.

Barcelona’s win combined with Real Madrid’s loss to Real Betis on Saturday, Barcelona is now 11 points ahead of Real Madrid in the Liga table.

#A11

Let’s look at the four most important things "From The Mind of Xoel" from this game, including the question all Liga fans are asking: Is La Liga done already?

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