Levante lose at last, Madrid stay top
Levante finally lost their first game of the season today, 2-0 away to Osasuna, to allow Real Madrid to stay top of La Liga a point ahead of Barcelona.sports Updated: Oct 30, 2011 23:06 IST
Levante finally lost their first game of the season on Sunday, 2-0 away to Osasuna, to allow Real Madrid to stay top of La Liga a point ahead of Barcelona.
First-half goals from Juan Martinez 'Nino' and Alvaro Cejudo were enough to deny Levante an eighth straight league victory.
Real Madrid moved top on Saturday thanks to a 1-0 away win at Real Sociedad with Gonzalo Higuain scoring the winner for his 10th league goal of the season.
Real have a one-point lead on unbeaten arch-rivals Barcelona, for whom Lionel Messi starred with a first-half hat-trick in a 5-0 thumping of Mallorca.
Levante remain third, two points behind Madrid after the defeat in Pamplona, their first in ten games.
An amazing run of seven straight wins, starting with a 1-0 defeat over Madrid in mid-September, had taken them the small Valencia-based side to the top of the league.
However, they were no match for a hungry Osasuna side that always looked a likely winner, despite playing with only ten men for more than thirty minutes.
Cejudo opened the scoring on 39 minutes for Osasuna with a left foot shot and celebrated by removing his shirt for an obligatory yellow card which he was later to regret.
'Nino' took advantage of a hesitant Levante defence 5 minutes later to give Osasuna a two goal advantage and the home team seemed home and dry.
However, when Cejudo received a second yellow for a reckless challenge on 58 minutes he left his team to defend the lead a man short.
Levante attacked admirably in search of a breakthrough but it was not to come and their unbeaten start to the season was over.
Osasuna are now unbeaten in four games and move into the top half of the league.
Earlier on Sunday Sporting Gijon salvaged a point in a 1-1 home draw with Athletic Bilbao which allowed the hosts to continue their slow but steady crawl out of the relegation zone.
Markel Susaeta opened the scoring for Bilbao on 63 minutes, finishing from close range after a corner was flicked on at the near post by Gaizka Toquero.
Gijon substitute Mata Bilic equalised eight minutes later with a thunderbolt drive from 25 yards which made sure the hosts avoided what would have been their seventh defeat in 10 games.
Having plummeted to the bottom of the Primera Liga at the start of the season, Gijon have now picked up seven points from a possible nine, while Bilbao -- unbeaten in eight games -- move up to seventh.
Also on Saturday Valencia beat Getafe 3-1 to remain in fourth, four points off the pace, as they prepare for hosting Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday in a must-win Champions League clash.
Villarreal warmed up for their Champions League tie at home to Manchester City on Wednesday by beating Rayo Vallecano 2-0.
First Published: Oct 30, 2011 23:04 IST