Barcelona seal La Liga title for second year running with 1-0 victory over Levante

FBL-ESP-LIGA-BARCELONA-LEVANTE

Barcelona have won La Liga for a second year running after beating Levante 1-0 at the Camp Nou.

Lionel Messi's goal in the 61st minute secured the three points that was needed to clinch the 2018/19 title on Friday night.

Nine points now separate Barca and second-placed Atletico Madrid with three games remaining, but because of the Blaugrana's superior head-to-head record they can't be caught.

Manager Ernesto Valverde took a risk with his starting line-up as he dropped Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets to the bench.

With a Champions League semi-final against Liverpool on the horizon, Valverde saw it best to rest his star man.

A frustrating opening 45 minutes saw Barcelona have most of the possession but struggle to create many clear-cut opportunities.

Philippe Coutinho had the best chances as he headed straight at Levante's goalkeeper in the 25th minute and then hit the crossbar with a free-kick in the 40th.

With Messi on the bench Levante looked relatively comfortable, but Barcelona fans got their wishes at half-time as the Argentine came on for Coutinho.

FBL-ESP-LIGA-BARCELONA-LEVANTE

It was the same story in the second half as the home side dominated and Ivan Rakitic came agonisingly close to making it 1-0 with a lovely curled strike that went just wide.

But in the 61st minute, the deadlock was finally broken.

A flurry of chances for Barcelona eventually saw Arturo Vidal head the ball to Messi, who shifted onto his left foot and slotted past Aitor Fernandez Abarisketa.

Levante went straight on the attack from kick-off and threatened Marc-Andre ter Stegen's goal on a number of occasions - they just couldn't find a way past the German.

In the end Barcelona saw out victory to defend their La Liga crown, with Messi once again the hero for his side.

News Now - Sport News