Jose Mourinho's home joy as Real keep hopes alive
Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho celebrated nine years unbeaten in the league on home soil as his Real Madrid team defeated Levante 2-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday to close to within two points of league leaders Barcelona.sports Updated: Feb 21, 2011 00:22 IST
Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho celebrated nine years unbeaten in the league on home soil as his Real Madrid team defeated Levante 2-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday to close to within two points of league leaders Barcelona.
First half goals from French forward Karim Benzema and Portuguese centre-back Ricardo Carvalho helped Real make it a perfect 12 home league wins and keep the pressure on Barcelona in the title race.
It also meant Mourinho extended his personal unbeaten home league run with FC Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real to nine years with his last league home defeat back on February 23, 2002 when his Porto side lost 3-2 to Beira Mar.
Barcelona, beaten 2-1 by Arsenal in their midweek Champions League match, will hope to respond with a home win over Atletic Bilbao on Sunday to restore their five-point lead at the summit.
Mourinho rested Mesut Ozil, Xabi Alonso, and Emmanuel Adebayor with Tuesday's Champions League match in Lyon in mind, but his side were still too strong for a Levante side they had thrashed 8-0 in the Kings Cup.
With just six minutes gone Argentine di Maria dribbled past three defenders before crossing to give Benzema an easy tap-in for only his third league goal of the season. Di Maria, Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo all went close before Madrid got their second from a set-piece five minutes before the break.
Ronaldo floated in a cross from the left and compatriot Carvalho volleyed home from close range as Levante got their back line all wrong.