BARCELONA BEATEN BY GHANAIAN HAT TRICK

Barcelona’s hopes of an unbeaten  campaign were ended in their penultimate game as they lost 5-4 at Levante. The champions had gone 36 games unbeaten but trailed 5-1 after 56 minutes and their dramatic fightback came up short.

Emmanuel Boateng’s hat trick and Enis Bardhi’s double put Levante in charge and, despite Philippe Coutinho completing a hat-trick of his own and Luis Suárez scoring a penalty, Barça’s bid for history came up short.

Fifth-bottom Levante had won their last four matches but were not meant to be a threat as Barça, who rested Lionel Messi, aimed to become the first team to remain unbeaten in a 38-game La Liga season.

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But the hosts took the lead through Boateng after nine minutes and the Ghanaian rounded Marc-André ter Stegen to add a second in the 31st minute.

Coutinho pulled one back seven minutes before the break with a deflected effort from the edge of the area but Levante started the second half in style. Bardhi found the top corner 33 seconds after the break and Boateng completed his treble three minutes later after being played in by Antonio Luna.

Bardhi then added his second to make it 5-1, curling the ball into the far-left corner from Roger’s pass.

Coutinho reduced the deficit three minutes later from close range and completed his first Barça hat-trick with 26 minutes left with another deflected effort from range.

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Suárez converted from the spot in the 71st minute after Sergio Busquets was fouled from a corner to make it 5-4 but Ernesto Valverde’s side could not find a late leveller and keep their run going

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