Levante losing streak continues at Atletico

Levante's slide since their surprising climb to the top of La Liga continued when they lost 3-2 at Atletico Madrid on Sunday for a third successive defeat.

The day's action, which included a rare win for Athletic Bilbao at Sevilla, was marred by an ugly incident in the late kick-off between Granada and Real Mallorca when a referee's assistant was struck by an object thrown from the crowd.

The match was halted in the 60th minute with Granada winning 2-1 before being called off around 20 minutes later and images in local media suggested the official had sustained a minor cut to his face.

Earlier, second-half goals from Atletico's Portuguese forward Pizzi, Spain Under-21 international Adrian and Brazilian playmaker Diego secured victory over Levante at the Calderon, lifting the erratic Madrid club to ninth on 16 points from 12 matches.

Valencia-based Levante, whose annual budget of around 20 million euros is less than a 20th of leaders Real Madrid, went on a spectacular seven-match winning run, including beating Real 1-0, that put them top last month for the first time in their 102-year history.

They stay in fourth place on 23 points.

"Atletico is a dangerous team with a lot of talent, but we played a great match against them and I am happy for that, even though we felt we could have got a draw," Levante coach Juan Ignacio Martinez, in his first top-flight coaching job, told a news conference.

"In the second half we were a bit more ambitious but we did not make the most of our equaliser at 1-1," he added.

The table took on a more familiar look on Saturday when leaders Real Madrid and second-placed Barcelona pulled further away at the top thanks to victories over Valencia and Real Zaragoza respectively.

Real edged a thrilling and bad-tempered clash at the Mestalla 3-2 for their eighth win in a row, while champions Barca thumped Zaragoza 4-0 at the Nou Camp, La Liga top scorer Lionel Messi netting his 15th of the campaign.

Real, who host their great rivals in the opening 'Clasico' of the season on December 10, have 31 points from 12 matches, three ahead of Barca.

Valencia, the last club apart from the big two to win the title, back in 2004, are third on 24.

DEFENSIVE ERROR

Sevilla's poor run continued when they lost 2-1 at home to Athletic Bilbao in an earlier kick-off on Sunday, their fifth successive game without a win and the Basque club's first win at the Sanchez Pizjuan in 18 years.

Andoni Iraola fired Bilbao ahead in the sixth minute and Spain winger Jesus Navas equalised nine minutes later before a defensive error allowed Oscar de Marcos in to net the winning goal with around 20 minutes left.

Bilbao had to wait until October 2 for their first league win under new coach Marcelo Bielsa but have since gone unbeaten in six, including a 2-2 draw at home to champions Barca.

Sevilla stayed in fifth on 18 points and Bilbao climbed to sixth on 17, level with Malaga ahead of their game at Racing Santander on Monday.

In Sunday's other matches, Espanyol were held to a 0-0 draw at bottom club Real Sociedad, Sporting Gijon came from a goal down to beat visiting Getafe 2-1 and Osasuna and Rayo Vallecano drew 0-0 in Pamplona.


SHARES
comments