It was a glorious Sunday for Real Madrid boss Claudio Ancelotti, and his side didn’t even kick a ball. Surprise draws for both Barcelona and Atletico leave Ancelotti’s side just one point behind the co-leaders of La Liga.
Plucky Levante put thoughts of the season opener, when they were thumped 7-0 at Camp Nou, out of their head. They played a pressing, containing game designed to shut off supply to the returning Lionel Messi – and Joaquin Capaross’s plan worked to perfection.
Whilst they defended superbly they also found time to break with menace, and it was the home side who opened the scoring after just 10 minutes – Loukas Vyntra heading past Victor Valdes to send the home crowd wild.
The lead didn’t last long – Gerard Pique scored the equaliser in similar fashion after 17 minutes, rising to nod home a corner from the irrepressible Xavi. Barca fans must have expected that to be the first of many but although they enjoyed the vast majority of possession they could not find their way past Levante’s well organised defence.
Keylor Navas performed heroics in the Levante goal, twice denying Messi from close range on the Argentinians first La Liga start in two months. Levante could even have won the match if Valdes hadn’t pulled off an acrobatic save to deny Ivanschitz.
This was the Valencia side’s best result of the season by some way, but it meant that Barcelona have gone two matches without victory for the first time in nearly three years. An incredible statistic, but one that will have the ever closing Los Blancos dreaming of regaining the title.