Barcelona's 'Invincibles' quest ends in shock defeat

Barcelona's bid to go all 38 rounds of a Spanish La Liga season undefeated has ended after a shock 5-4 loss against lowly Levante.

Hoping to emulate the 'Invincibles' of Arsenal from the 2003/04 English Premier League season, Barcelona were hoping to become the first team to finish a Spanish league season without a loss under its current format.

The Catalans were playing without Lionel Messi, left out of the squad by Ernesto Valverde to rest ahead of a demanding summer for the Argentina forward at the World Cup.

Led by Emmanuel Boateng's hat-trick and two more goals from Enis Bardhi, Levante were heading towards a historic rout of the recently crowned champions when the hosts built a 5-1 lead after 56 minutes.

But Barcelona roared back, with Philippe Coutinho adding two more goals to his first-half strike to complete a hat-trick of his own before Luis Suarez converted a penalty in the 71st minute.

Suarez headed high and over the bar from close range in Barcelona's last chance to snatch a draw.

The upset at the hands of a modest Levante side - fighting to stay out of the relegation zone most of the season - ended Barcelona's bid to go all 38 rounds of a La Liga season undefeated.

Lowly Levante are the first team to beat Barcelona in La Liga this season. Pic: Getty

Two teams pulled off the feat in the 1930s when the competition only had 10 teams, compared to 20 now.

In their last home game this season, Espanyol thrashed relegated Malaga 4-1.

Gerard Moreno gave Espanyol a 1-0 lead just eight minutes into the match while Sergio Garcia doubled the lead on 27 minutes and Leonardo Baptistao netted on the half hour to extend the margin.

Malaga midfielder Adrian Gonzalez scored the only goal for his side from the penalty spot on 39 minutes.

Espanyol were awarded a penalty of their own on 79 minutes, which was converted by midfielder Pablo Daniel Piatti to seal the victory.

Espanyol are 14th with 46 points while Malaga are rooted to the bottom of the table on 20 points.