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Koeman’s decision-making slammed as Barcelona blow La Liga chances with collapse at Levante

Koeman’s decision-making slammed as Barcelona blow La Liga chances with collapse at Levante

 

Barcelona saw their shot at the La Liga title all but ended this evening, in a shock stalemate with Levante.

Leon secures share of the spoils

Ronald Koeman’s men returned to action a short time ago.

The Blaugrana made the trip to the Estadi Ciutat de València, for a La Liga showdown with Levante.

The clash marked an absolutely crucial one for Barca, in the club’s efforts to keep their title challenge alive. A 0-0 stalemate with Atletico Madrid at the weekend meant that, ahead of kick-off, the Catalans sat in 3rd, two points adrift of Diego Simeone and co.

Koeman’s decision-making slammed as Barcelona blow La Liga chances with collapse at Levante

MADRID, SPAIN – APRIL 10: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona looks on during the La Liga Santander match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on April 10, 2021 in Madrid, Spain. Sporting stadiums around Spain remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

In turn, Barcelona were aware that a 3-point haul this evening would see them, temporarily at least, climb back to the La Liga summit.

When all was said and done in Valencia, however, the visitors collapsed, in altogether spectacular fashion.

Lionel Messi opened the game’s scoring with 25 minutes on the clock, courtesy of a well-placed volley:

Pedri then added a 2nd shortly after the half-hour mark, slotting home from close range after some superb work down the right from Ousmane Dembele.

Just when it appeared as though a comfortable evening’s work was in store for the Catalans, however, Levante sprung into life.

Gonzalo Melero was first up, nodding home a fine delivery from the right early in the 2nd-half. And the hosts went on to level things up just two minutes later, when Lionel Messi’s poor touch was capitalised on in ruthless fashion by Jose Luis Morales:

Ousmane Dembele soon restored Barcelona’s advantage, drilling home a fine finish after Antoine Griezmann had been dispossessed. But, incredibly, the Catalans still couldn’t manage to see the clash out.

Inside the closing ten minutes, Tono’s ball across the face of goal was superbly directed home at Marc-André ter Stegen’s near post, by Sergio Leon:

And this proved all she wrote when it came to the goalscoring, as Barcelona’s title hopes essentially went up in smoke, with just two games remaining.

Koeman targeted

On the back of the action coming to a close on Tuesday, it has come as little surprise to see one individual in particular singled out for blame by the Blaugrana faithful.

The man in question? Ronald Koeman.

Dutch tactician Koeman has come under mounting pressure of late, amid his side’s struggles when it matters most.

Tonight, it was the Barca boss’ decision making which proved hugely questionable, as Koeman’s 2nd-half substitutions, namely introducing Sergi Roberto, proved extremely costly.

In turn, supporters of the Catalan giants have since made their feelings crystal clear, with some of the social media highlights showcased below:

 

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