Spanish Liga - Real Madrid edge out Levante in tough conditions

La Liga, Ciudad de Valencia stadium – Levante 1 (Angel 62) Real Madrid 2 (Cristiano Ronaldo 21, Alvaro Morata 84).

Liga - Morata wants Real stay

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Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata flying high following his winning goal against Levante (Reuters)

A late winner from substitute Alvaro Morata won the game for Real Madrid in difficult wet conditions at Levante.

The home side had drawn level with a goal from Angel in the second half after Cristiano Ronaldo's strike separated the teams at the end of a bad-tempered and rain-affected first half. Ronaldo’s excellent control and smashed volley finish was the highlight of a first period played in almost farcical conditions at the Ciudad de Valencia stadium.

Ronaldo was lucky to still be on the pitch to score, after a terrible forearm challenge from David Navarro in the third minute left him with a deep gash above his left eye.

It was perhaps fitting that it was Navarro’s failed clearing header from Xabi Alonso’s free-kick that fell to Ronaldo for the first goal.

Levante started the second half on the front foot with Iker Casillas making a brilliant save from Juanlu almost straight from the kick-off.

Visitors Madrid, with Raul Albiol on in place of Ronaldo, were forced to weather some sustained early second-half attacking pressure from the home side as the rain continued to fall.

Pepe hit the bar in the 56th minute from a Mesut Ozil corner when he perhaps should have scored and then showed the more unsavoury side of his game a minute later by writhing around on the floor as though in unbearable pain after a light challenge from Juanlu.

Madrid were almost two goals to the good a couple of minutes later when an Ozil corner caused confusion in the box. Sergio Ramos attempted to back heel the ball over the line from three yards out, but Papa Diop somehow managed to deflect it onto the bar and out for another corner.

A hectic period of play saw the game turned on its head in the 62nd minute when Levante substitute Angel outmuscled Pepe to beat Casillas with a powerful angled shot from the edge of the six-yard box.

While the equaliser was against the run of play it was no more than Levante deserved for their wholehearted performance.

In an action -second half Alonso had a penalty saved by the Levante keeper Gustavo Munua after Navarro had brought down Jose Maria Callejon just on the edge of the box.

Levante argued contact was made outside the box, and they could have had a case, but Navarro should never have been on the pitch after his earlier challenge on Ronaldo.

A terrible mistake from Albiol let in Juanlu at the other end as the game continued to ebb and flow, but the Levante forward pulled his shot wide when he really should have given his team the lead.

Madrid took the lead for themselves when the substitute Morata scored with his first touch, heading in a great in-swinging free kick from Alonso.

The Levante manager, Juan Ignacio Martinez, will no doubt have some strong words for his defence as the marking was non-existent for the winner, whereas his counterpart Jose Mourinho left the Levante stadium with a wry smile on his face.


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