Jordi Blanco (correspondent in Barcelona)
Barcelona revealed themselves against the circumstances, against their own impotence, their doubts and bad feelings to add a victory as transcendental as they worked by beating Levante 1-0.
The Catalan team was approaching the abyss of a new failure after finishing up to 21 times at Aitor Fernández’s goal, when a ball recovered between Martin Braithwaite and Frenkie de Jong ended with the deep pass from the Dutchman to Lionel Messi, who launched a crossed shell to chase away the ghosts of bad omen with his goal at minute 76.
Barça asked for the time, locked in his area and overwhelmed by a Levante who sought a tie until the last gasp, but who found a fence to the area of Marc-Andre Ter Stegen based on corner kicks, while the Catalans they showed that joy is not their thing.
It was, finally, a tight victory that did not condemn until the end, but that at the end of the day serves to buy time and breathe with some peace until Wednesday, when Barcelona must face Real Sociedad.
Ronald Koeman’s team won out of persistence and necessity and not out of brilliance or forcefulness.
At the end of the day, Barcerlona won, but with the passing of the hours a sad and minimal consolation is discovered in this interwar period.
It seems that Barça does not quite know where it is going. Koeman changed the names little, but modified the system with Sergio Busquets as the only midfielder in an attacking 4-3-3 that became a defensive 4-1-4 with the intention of gaining greater consistency, but from drawing and idea to idea. there was actually a world away.
The Barça team runs back and forth, but more without the ball than with it, and when they have it in their power, they drive it without the precision necessary for the rival to lose their temper and position.
In defense, the suffering is still enormous, to such a degree that Barcelona came to tremble after Messi’s goal, when a major and collective mistake left the ball free to Jorge de Frutos so that he was scared and gave a shot tame to the right hand of Ter Stegen.
Levante had the ball and finished off without much danger and enjoyed an apparent calm that was interrupted only by a volley from Jordi Alba and a cross shot from Antione Griezmann to reach the break.
With no other change than greater intensity, but with a similar flat game, the game did not vary excessively in a second half in which Koeman’s men added attacks before the increasingly accentuated withdrawal of Levante and the shots multiplied.
The goal had to come by accumulation, even if it was not guessed through whom after Messi’s nine luckless shots, until the Argentine finally caught the perfect shot.
From there to the end suffering. Seeing is believing.
Levante was able to put fear in Barça’s body, in such a way that even Koeman put Samuel Umtiti to play instead of Griezmann and then pray for the end of the game for a victory by the minimum difference, but that allows breathe deeply into the Catalan painting.