Barcelona remain unbeaten in 15 games; win second-half La Liga thriller against Levante
De Jong’s late goal, his sixth in the league for Barca, was the defining moment of a 3-2 win at Valencia, but it was the 19-year-old’s introduction.
A frantic 11 minutes early in the second half saw Levante score a 52nd-minute penalty through Jose Luis Morales before missing a second in the 55th, this time Roger Marti stepping up, only to be denied by Marc-André ter Stegen.
Pedri came off the bench in the 56th minute and three minutes later Barcelona equalized Pierre-Emerick
Then in the 63rd minute, Pedri sent Barca ahead with an early finish in the corner, only for Levante to equalize again after being awarded a third penalty, Gonzalo Melero this time making no mistakes.
Levante looked set to score a point but De Jong snatched victory, encountering
Barca climb over second-placed Sevilla, still 12 points behind Real Madrid, who claimed a 2-0 victory over Getafe on Saturday.
Pedri scored a brilliant winner against Sevilla last weekend and while the midfielder was initially rested against Levante, Barcelona were transformed after his arrival.
Aubameyang, meanwhile, has continued his rich vein of form since leaving Arsenal in January. The Gabonese striker now has 10 goals in 14 games for his new club.
Levante were all over Barcelona early on and Morales was thwarted by an excellent goal-line clearance from Eric Garcia after his arrival at the end of a weaving run appeared to spin. Garcia rushed to hang on.
Three minutes later, Levante were awarded another penalty after the ball fell cruelly on Garcia’s arm. Morales left that kick for Roger but his low shot to the left was cleared away by Ter Stegen.
Levante knew an opportunity had been squandered and Barca played faster with Pedri on the pitch, with the teenager playing the key pass to Dembele, who crossed for Aubameyang to acquiesce.
Five minutes later, Barcelona were in front as Gavi squeezed between two Levante defenders and placed Pedri, who bent the ball for the first time in the far corner.
Levante, however, came back and when Melero fired their third penalty of the night after Dani Gomez was clipped by Clement Lenglet, they looked like they had gotten a point.
De Jong, in place of Aubameyang, had other ideas, rushing into the box in the 92nd minute and Alba’s curved cross finding him. De Jong headed the ball inside the post.