De Jong steals wild victory for Barcelona over Levante

Barcelona continued their excellent La Liga record with a surprising victory over Levante, who were awarded three second-half penalties.

After the break, the game picked up when Levante defender Son was fouled by Dani Alves, allowing Jose Luis Morales to score from the penalty spot.

After Eric Garcia handballed, the home side was awarded a second penalty four minutes later, only for attacker Roger to drive the ball past Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Barca answered with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang heading in a brilliant Ousmane Dembele cross before Gavi nutmegged Pedri for a sweeping finish with two substitutes combining.

After Maxi Gomez was fouled by Clement Lenglet – who had been on the pitch for less than two minutes – Ter Stegen faced a third penalty, and this time replacement Gonzalo Melero sent the keeper the wrong way to tie the score.

Luuk de Jong headed home Jordi Alba’s cross in added time to give Levante, who were seven points from safety, a merited point. He became the third replacement to score in an unbelievable second half.

To avoid relegation, Levante must find a healthy point return in their next seven games, and they will wonder how they failed to take something from a night when three penalties were awarded to them.

In a dreary first half, they came closest when Morales’ spectacular solo run was stopped on the goal line by a combination of Ter Stegen and Garcia.

However, with 11 victories and four draws in their previous 15 La Liga games, Barcelona remains the most in-form team in Europe’s top five leagues.

They weren’t at their best tonight, but they overcame hardship to move second in La Liga, 12 points behind Real Madrid with a game in hand, largely thanks to Ter Stegen’s crucial penalty save at 1-0.

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