Barcelona slipped to a surprise 3-1 defeat on the road on Saturday, undone by three rapid goals from a spirited and bold Levante side.
The visitors took the lead in a largely forgettable first half when Lionel Messi converted a penalty following a blatant trip on Nelson Semedo. Barcelona were sluggish and off the pace in the second half though, and were left stunned as Levante swept their defence aside in a blistering eight-minute spell that saw Jose Campaña poke home an equaliser, before quick-fire goals from Borja Mayora and Nemanja Radoja put the match out of reach.
The visitors simply could not find their rhythm as they recorded what could be a costly defeat come the end of the season.
Starting XI: Fernandez (6), Miramon (5), Postigo (7), Vezo (6), Clerc (7), Campana (8), Radoja (7), Melero (7), Bardhi (6), Morales (7), Mayoral (8)
Substitutes: Cabaco (5), Vukcevic (6), Rochina (5)
Key Talking Point
Barcelona traveled to the Estadi Cuitat de Valencia coming off the back of five successive La Liga victories and they knew a win over their dogged opponents would be crucial in strengthening their grip at the top of the table. With Real Madrid entertaining Real Betis and expected to rack up another three points, Los Cules knew they would need likely need a third successive away win to keep hold of the league lead.
The visitors certainly didn't start with the kind of tempo that you'd expect from a team in such dominant form though, struggling to create many openings at all against an organised and largely untroubled Levante defence.
Barcelona's break through came late on in the half when the impressive Semedo was tripped in the area by Jorge Miramon for a stonewall penalty. Lionel Messi duly put his side ahead with his fifth of the season as Los Cules lead going into the interval.
However the visitors remained at near walking pace in the second half and encouraged their hosts to grow into the match. The home fans upped the volume and Levante were rewarded by three goals in a remarkable eight-minute passage of play.
Barcelona had the ball in the back of the net for 3-2 after Messi bulldozed his way through the Levante lines, but VAR correctly ruled it out due to an offside against Antoine Griezmann.
Starting XI: Ter Stegen (5), Semedo (7), Lenglet (4), Pique (4), Roberto (5), Arthur (5) de Jong,(5) Vidal, (4), Griezmann (6), Suarez, (4) Messi, (5).
Substitutes: Busquets (5), Perez (5), Fati (5).
Barcelona must bounce back quickly from this shock defeat. Ernesto Valverde's men now have back-to-back home games which they now need to win convincingly to ease the pressure on them after this result.
Up next is Slavia Prague in the Champions League, before Celta Vigo make the trip to Camp Nou next weekend.