Footy Times

Super sub Messi fires Barcelona to 26th LaLiga title

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Lionel Messi came off the bench to net the winning goal against Levante as FC Barcelona were crowned La Liga champions for the 26th time.

As a precaution for the Wednesday’s UEFA Champions league clash with Liverpool, Ernsto Valverde opted to start Messi on the bench against their not so strong opponents.

Despite Messi’s absence, the Catalan giants came out guns blazing as Luis Suaez and Philipp Coutinho managed to force saves out Aitor inside the opening 15 minutes.

Levante were in desperate need of points as they were not safe from relegation yet, but they were unable to fashion any opportunities on goal in the first half.

The Catalan giants went agonisingly close four minutes before the break when Coutinho rattled the crossbar with a curling free-kick.

Valverde made his intentions clear from the start of the second half as he introduced Messi for Coutinho as they went in search of the opening goal.

As he has done so many times before, Messi got the breakthrough goal just after the hour mark with a neat finish into the bottom corner after being played in by Arturo Vidal.

Levante were not put off by the goal and went close to pulling level on 69 minutes as Rochina sent his volley just wide of the upright.

The hosts pushed for a second goal and they should have doubled their lead on 75 minutes, but Vidal blazed over the crossbar from inside the box.

The visitors pushed for an equaliser to spoil Barca’s party, but goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen produced a great save late on as the hosts held on for the win to clinch the title.

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