First Division - Day 32

Barcelona 1 - Levante 0

Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Zambrotta, Puyol, Thuram, Van Bronckhorst (Oleguer 62'); Iniesta, Xavi, Deco; Messi, Eto'o, Ronaldinho. 4-3-3.
Levante: Molina; Descarga, Alexis, Alvaro, Rubiales; Camacho, Tomassi (Ettien 58'), Berson (N'Diaye 72'), Riga; Kapo, Salva (Reggi 77'). 4-4-2.

Team changes: Barça: Van Bronckhorst for Sylvinho / Levante: Camacho, Salva for Zé María, Reggi.

1-0. 33. Eto'o. Fired ball back into net after Molina pushed out Xavi's pass.

Leaders Barcelona made hard work of beating Levante, but in the end they ran out 1-0 winners to stay just clear of Sevilla and Real Madrid at the top of the table. Frank Rijkaard's side were not expected to have any problems against a team which started the weekend in the relegation spots, and they could have gone ahead early on when Deco failed to connect cleanly with Zambrotta's cross. Ronaldinho poked a shot over the top soon afterwards, and Deco had a strike ruled out for offside. And with just over half an hour gone they went ahead, Messi drifting in from the right and playing the ball in to Xavi, who tried to find Ronaldinho with a square pass. Molina got a hand down to push the ball away, but only as far as Eto'o who fired a shot back in to the net.

Barça came out looking for more goals after the restart, but Molina was there to tip a shot from Ronaldinho over the top, and then to save twice from Eto'o and again from Ronaldinho, who also had a penalty appeal turned down. Víctor Valdés was called upon at last to save from Rubiales, but Messi should have wrapped things up when his shot hit the top of the crossbar from close range after Eto'o set him up. There was still only one goal in it though, and the visitors almost saved a point when Kapo missed an easy chance after Reggi headed across in the final minutes. Barça were still on top, but only just.