The first time Barcelona met Levante in the season opener, the Blaugrana put seven goals past the Granotes. On Sunday things were a bit different as Levante held on for a 1-1 draw, potentially dropping Barca out of first place for the first time in 59 rounds.
Levante took the lead in the 11th minute after earning a corner that was completely against the run of play. Andreas Ivanschitz's delivery into the box was excellent but the real play was made by defender Loukas Vyntra who went up and over Gerard Piqué and directed a powerful header past Victor Valdés.
Eight minutes later Piqué redeemed himself in a virtual carbon copy of Vyntra's opener. Xavi's corner kick found the defender alone in the center of the 18-yard-box for an off-balance header that eluded Keylor Navas to even the match at 1-1.
Just to put a bow on the ridiculous symmetry of the two goals, enjoy this fun fact. The corner that led to Levante's goal was conceded by Piqué and scored by Vyntra. The corner that Barca scored on was conceded by Vyntra and scored by Piqué. They should both buy lottery tickets or something.
How Barca didn't take the lead in the 59th minute is beyond answer but a big component was a spectacular triple save by goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
Cesc Fábgreas found Lionel Messi with a cheeky back heel pass but instead of finding the seemingly wide open net, Messi was denied by Navas, blocking the ball away but right to the foot of Xavi. Navas was up to the task again blocking the midfielder's effort, popping it up in the air to the far post where Messi tried a header from a tough angle. Navas somehow was back on his feet though and pushed the effort over the crossbar.
Pedro López just missed giving Levante the lead in the 67th minute, sending a volleyed shot just wide off the post off a cross from Pape Diop.
Despite pouring on the pressure late, Barca couldn't find a way through the Levante defense and were forced to settle for just a single point.
Levante: Navas, Navarro, Vyntra, Juanfran, López, El Zhar (Angel 56'), Karabelas, Ivanschitz (Pinto 87'), Diop, Simão, Garcia (Adoua 73')
Goals: Vyntra (11')
Barcelona: Valdés, Montoya, Piqué, Mascherano, Alba, Busquets, Xavi (Dongou 84'), Fàbregas (Roberto 73'), Pedro, Sánchez (Tello 77'), Messi
Goals: Piqué (19')