Soccer-Promoted Levante hold Real to goalless draw


Sat, 25 Sep 21:13:00 2010

* Real Madrid held 0-0 at promoted Levante

* Quick goals give Valencia 2-0 win at Sporting (Recasts after Real Madrid game)

La Liga paupers Levante held big-spending visitors Real Madrid to a 0-0 draw on Saturday which is bound to put pressure on new coach Jose Mourinho.

Real maintained their unbeaten start to the season, and had another clean sheet, but struggled to make their quality count against a promoted club with a squad assembled on a shoestring.

They slipped off the top of La Liga into second place with 11 points from five games, two points behind leaders Valencia who earlier swept to a 2-0 victory at Sporting Gijon.

Champions Barcelona can climb above Real with a win away to Athletic Bilbao in Saturday's late game.

The match at the Ciutat de Valencia stadium was a David versus Goliath contest -- the world's richest soccer club by income against a side who only came out of financial administration on Thursday.

Levante had leaked 10 goals in their first four games back in the top flight and packed the edge of their area, dragging Real into a niggly, stop-start affair.

A lively Cristiano Ronaldo had a powerful header saved by Levante goalkeeper Manuel Reina but although the visitors dominated possession they laboured to carve clear openings.

As Real's frustrations grew their doctor, Jose Carlos Hernandez, was sent off for protesting about a foul on Ronaldo, and Reina pulled of some desperate late saves.

Two quick goals from Mehmet Topal and Roberto Soldado gave Valencia a win at Sporting to set them up nicely for Wednesday's Champions League clash at home to Manchester United.

Turkish midfielder Topal headed in from a corner after only seven minutes and the impressive Juan Mata crossed for Soldado to stroke the ball home from close range three minutes later.

Mata and Manuel Fernandes bossed the midfield for the visitors and it was not until the second half that Sporting had a meaningful chance on goal when David Barral struck the post.


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