17-year old Ansu Fati scored twice, as Barcelona beat Levante 2-1 at Camp Nou, and reduce the gap to La Liga leaders Real Madrid to three points.
The teenager raced clear for the first goal, then fired home from an angle inside the penalty area. He combined well with Argentinian legend to produce two goals.
With Luis Suarez long injury lay-off, Barcelona were desperate for a centre forward during January-transfer-window. Now they can rely on their academy product who has all the skill and temperament required to succeed.
Head coach Quique Setien brought Ivan Rakitic in midfield, while Clement Lenglet started ahead of compatriot Samuel Umtiti at centre-back position.
Barcelona started peppering the Levante goal with shots from Messi and Antoine Griezmann, Levante goalkeeper Aitor Fernandez denied Argentinian a goal.
Barcelona vs Levante – Goals
There was a sense that a goal can come any moment, and it arrived just after the half-hour mark when Messi sent a through pass to the charging Ansu Fati on the left flank. The youngster got inside of Jorge Miramon, kept his composure and finished to provide Barcelona 1-0 lead.
The Messi-Fati connection would bear fruit less than a minute later, again with Messi as the orchestrator, with a pass on the left from top of the box, and this time Fati fired a shot from a tight angle that Aitor couldn’t control, doubling the margin to 2-0.
If Ter Stegen perhaps could have done better, the same can be said of opposite number Aitor Fernandez, who was twice beaten through his legs by Fati. For both goals, Fati was fed by Lionel Messi, who first picked out a superb cross-field ball, then jinked across the face of the 18-yard box.
Levante beat Barca 3-1 defeat at home in November but have never taken a point from the Nou Camp.
Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Jordi Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, De Jong; Ansu Fati (Puig, min. 87), Griezmann (Sergi Roberto, min. 71), Messi.
Aitor; Miramon, Vezo, Melero (Hernani, min. 60), Postigo, Tono; Rochina, Campana, Vukcevic (Bardhi, min. 80); Roger, Morales (Mayoral, min. 60).
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