Ansu Fati's memorable return from injury gives Barcelona much-needed win

Teenager was coming back from three knee surgeries

Ansu Fati made the perfect comeback from injury as he scored in a 3-0 victory over Levante to give Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman some breathing space.

Goals from Memphis Depay, Luuk de Jong and the Fati helped Barca claim their first win in their last four games in all competitions. Victory also moved the Catalans up to fifth in the table with 12 points from six games, five behind league leaders Real Madrid, who have played one more.

Fati, who came on as an 81st-minute substitute before scoring Barca's third goal, was making his first appearance since suffering a serious knee injury last November.

The 18-year-old came back in style, carrying the ball forward and lashing it into the net.

Fati was hoisted into the air by his teammates and then he climbed into the crowd behind the substitutes bench, to embrace members of his family and the club's medical staff.

"I want to say thank you to the doctors and everyone who has been with me through all this, and the fans who have been unbelievable," said Fati .

After needing three operations on a knee injury, many wondered if Fati would ever get back to the levels he showed when he first broke into the first team in 2019.

There is still a long way to go for the teenager but his return, and a brilliant goal, lifted spirits after a turbulent few weeks consumed by speculation about Koeman's future.

"You saw the reaction in the stadium - we know he is a very good player," said Koeman's assistant Alfred Schreuder, who took on media duties with Koeman serving a touchline ban.

"The goal was not even a chance. He created it out of nothing. This is the individual quality he has and it's what we need."

Having been held to draws by lowly opposition in their last two league games, Barca were quick out of the blocks and went ahead after six minutes as Depay converted a penalty.

They doubled their advantage just before the quarter-hour as De Jong latched on to a Sergino Dest through ball before finishing past Aitor Fernandez.

Levante rarely looked like troubling Koeman's side and they were indebted to Fernandez, who made a couple of smart stops to keep the scoreline respectable.

Koeman may not be saved by this result - the club could look to make a change during the upcoming international break - but the result was a huge relief.

Updated: September 26th 2021, 5:30 PM