July 24, 2014
Injury-free Messi starts in Barcelona draw
Barca lacked inspiration against a doggedly defensive Levante even with Lionel Messi, who returned last weekend after a two-month injury absence, back in the starting lineup.
Often vulnerable at defending set pieces, they fell behind in the 10th minute when Loukas Vyntra headed past goalkeeper Victor Valdes from an Andreas Ivanschitz corner.
Barca's equaliser also came from a corner when Gerard Pique nodded in nine minutes later but they struggled to create further chances before the break.
Messi drew a fine save from Levante keeper Keylor Navas in the 59th minute and Xavi's follow-up shot was brilliantly blocked on the line by home captain Juanfran.
Juanfran was again in the right place to divert another Messi effort out for a corner three minutes later and Navas leaped superbly to turn a curling effort from substitute Cristian Tello around the post five minutes from time.
Barca were unable to produce the scintillating form that helped them thump Levante 7-0 at the Nou Camp in August and they also play the Valencia-based club over two legs in the quarter-finals of the King's Cup this week and next.