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Fati scores on return, Real Madrid held

Barcelona beat Levante 3-0 at home on Sunday, with to goals from Memphis Depay, Luuk De Jong, and Ansu Fati, who returned from injury. The win, Barca's first in four games in all competitions, lifted the Catalans to fifth place in the table with 12 points from six games, five points behind league leaders Real Madrid, who have played one more game.

Fati, who made his first game since suffering a catastrophic knee injury last November, came on as an 81st-minute replacement before scoring Barca's third goal. Fati stated, "I couldn't have envisioned a comeback like this."

“I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the physicians and physiotherapists who have supported me during this ordeal, as well as the fans who have been incredible.” Barca were quick out of the blocks and went ahead after six minutes when Depay converted a penalty. They had been held to disappointing draws by weak opposition in their previous two league games.

De Jong latched on to a Sergino Dest through ball just before the quarter-hour mark and finished past Aitor Fernandez in the visitors' goal. Levante never looked like bothering Ronald Koeman's low-confidence team, and they were indebted to Fernandez, who made a number of key saves to make the scoreline reasonable as a dominant Barcelona sought for a third.

Fati's comeback was ultimately complete in the 91st minute, when he scored a fantastic long-range goal. Real Madrid were held to a 0-0 draw by Villarreal at the Bernabeu on Saturday, denying them the chance to go five points clear at the top of the table.

Carlo Ancelotti's team now have 17 points, three more than city rivals Atletico Madrid, who fell 1-0 to Alaves away. Villarreal, on the other hand, is still unbeaten, but has only won one of their six games this season, with four of them ending in a 0-0 tie. “It's a bittersweet point since it's at home against a direct opponent, and you always want to take three points in these situations; one isn't enough,” Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said.

“Keeping a clean sheet is good, but we've let up a lot of goals in our last few games.”

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Ansu Fati Barcelona Luuk De Jong Memphis Depay Real Madrid


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