Fati double fires Barca past Levante

Ansu Fati became the youngest player ever to score a brace in La Liga on Sunday by capitalising on two brilliant Lionel Messi assists to give Barcelona a 2-1 victory over Levante.

Fati, at 17 years and 94 days old, broke the previous record held by Juanmi Jimenez, who scored twice for Malaga against Real Zaragoza at 17 years and 115 days old in 2010.

Messi teed up Fati’s quick-fire double with a defence-splitting pass and then a trademark weaving run before Ruben Rochina deservedly scored Levante’s goal in the 92nd minute.

Barca reduce the gap at the top to three points behind Real Madrid and begin to regain some rhythm under new coach Quique Setien after Thursday’s 5-0 thumping of Leganes in the Copa del Rey.

Yet Levante should have converted more of a handful of excellent chances in the second half, that suggested Barcelona’s defensive problems and fragility when in the lead are far from solved.

Setien, who replaced Ernesto Valverde as coach last month, found his methods questioned and there was evidence against Levante to suggest he may have decided to introduce his style of play more gradually.

Barca played with more urgency and ambition, their dominance of possession sacrificed occasionally for riskier passes forward.

Yet Levante also pressed high and left gaps to be exploited, despite the likes of Valencia and Granada enjoying more success against Setien’s team by sitting deep and bursting out on the break.

Elsewhere, Sevilla and Real Sociedad both lost ground in the race for Champions League qualification as Getafe beat Athletic Bilbao to climb to third.

Real Sociedad lost 2-1 away at struggling Leganes while Sevilla were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Alaves.

In between, Getafe had carved out a 2-0 victory away at Bilbao to put them in pole position behind Real Madrid and Barcelona.

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