Iniesta inspires Barca to 4−0 away win at Levante
Madrid, Nov 26 (IANS) Andres Iniesta produced 18 minutes of stunning football to see Barcelona to a 4−0 win away to Levante.
The Sunday result takes Barcelona 11 points clear of Real Madrid and keeps them three ahead of Atletico Madrid in the Spanish La Liga table, reports Xinhua.
The Barca midfielder produced three assists and scored a magnificent goal himself at the start of the second half after 45 minutes in which Barca had struggled to break down a disciplined rival.
His first moment of magic came after 46 minutes with a through ball to tee up Leo Messi for Barca's opening goal.
Five minutes later Iniesta produced a swift dribble before pulling the ball back for Messi to side−foot home his second of the night from close range.
With Levante reeling Iniesta then scored a thumping drive from outside of the area before them setting up Cesc Fabregas to make it 4−0 after 63 minutes as Barca netted four goals in 18 minutes.
It had not looked as if that would happen in the first half. As expected Levante were tightly organised against what could be argued to be Barcelona's strongest starting 11, which included Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernandez and Iniesta, who was making his 422nd start for the club.
With a packed defence and midfield, it was Levante who created the best early chance with Victor Valdes tipping over Jose Barkero's left foot shot from the edge of the area.
Dani Alves as replaced by Martin Montoya shortly afterwards after looking to suffer another muscle problem.
As the first half progressed Barca began to stretch their rivals but Levante were happy to defend tight and allow Barca the use of the wings and protect their penalty area.
Xavi saw a shot saved by Gustavo Munua before Barkero was unable to get a finish on a Juanlu cross at the other end as Obi Martins looked to use his pace to pull Puyol and Pique out of position.
The half time whistle came with Barca looking as if they were going to find it just as hard in the second period thanks to Iniesta that was not the case.