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Pressure Eases On Barcelona’s Ronald Koeman With 3-Nil Win Over Levante


September 26, (THEWILL) – Beleaguered Ronald Koeman had the weight of Barcelona’s misfortunes this season temporarily lifted off his broad shoulders on Sunday as his Catalan side produced an impressive performance to beat Levante 3-0 at the Camp Nou for a change.

As THEWILL reported, Koeman was suspended from the dugout, having received his marching orders in the sending off against Cadiz but that did not faze the squad, which, led by Memphis Depay and supported by young gems Nico Gonzalez and Gavi in midfield, fashioned out a neat victory.

It turned out to be all too easy for Barca as goals from Depay himself and his compatriot Luuk de Jong began the victorious run for the hosts and the victory was made all the sweeter with the third goal from the returnee forward Ansu Fati for a refreshing three points.

Dutchman Depay tormented Jorge Miramon at right-back for Levante; supported ably by stand-in left-back Sergino Dest. The American stayed a constant threat on the overlap with his directness and willingness to adapt to the attacking scenario and underlap onto his stronger right foot as required.

The opening goal came after just six minutes. Dest decoyed with an over-lapper, and gave the pass to Depay who cut infield and wove inside with wonderful footwork before he was felled for a penalty which he aptly converted for advantage Barca.

The American was having a beautiful turn on the flanks and turned provider for the second just eight minutes later. This time, he exploited the space left infield by the visiting midfield block, and the former Ajax man had the awareness to drive onwards, before sliding a great ball through for de Jong to finish for the double.

To their credit, goalkeeper Aitor Fernandez was on hot form for Paco Lopez’s side, who found their goal peppered heavily by shot volume, predominantly from Depay. And, Barcelona continued to batter on the door in search of a third while Levante looked dead and buried from the offset.

The moment came for Fati to make his long-anticipated return off the substitutes’ bench with 10 minutes to go. The youngster was received with a rousing ovation from the Camp Nou crowd. He immediately wrote himself back into the headlines after a very difficult 10 months out with a fantastic finish late on.

The 3-0 helped the hosts prove that, despite being ravaged by injuries, their shoestring squad will still mean business this season and may possibly help Koeman keep his job.