MADRID – Philippe Coutinho hit a hat trick, but could not save Barcelona’s unbeaten season as the Catalans were left stunned by an extraordinary 5-4 defeat to Levante on Sunday.
Ernesto Valverde rested Lionel Messi for his team’s penultimate match of the campaign, but it was a defensive horror show that allowed Emmanuel Boateng to score three times and Enis Bardhi twice at the City of Valencia Stadium.
The La Liga and Copa del Rey champions trailed 5-1 after an hour, and still came within a whisker of a sensational comeback as Coutinho’s second and third goals, and a Luis Suarez penalty, set up a grandstand finish.
But Levante held on for a thrilling victory, and ended their opponents’ hopes of becoming the first ever club to finish a 38-game La Liga season as ‘invincibles’.
Barcelona will now travel to South Africa, where they will take on South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns at the FNB Stadium on Wednesday night.
The big clash is expected to be played in front of a sell-out crowd, and will kickoff at 6.15pm SA time.
AFP, Staff Writer