Tue, Sep 20, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Real crash to defeat at Levante

EARLY SETBACK:Real Madrid had plenty of possession, but Levante UD defended resolutely and their task became a lot harder following the dismissal of Sami Khedira


Levante UD goalkeeper Gustavo Munua, right, dives at the feet of Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema in their Liga BBVA match in Valencia, Spain, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

Ten-man Real Madrid crashed to a 1-0 defeat at modest Levante UD on Sunday, a morale-sapping setback coming just 24 hours after bitter rivals Barcelona had staged an eight-goal masterclass against CA Osasuna.

Real rested Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil as they looked to maintain their 100 percent record and keep pace with leaders Valencia, who beat Sporting de Gijon 1-0 on Saturday, and Real Betis Balompie, who defeated Athletic Bilbao 3-2 on Sunday, to keep up their own perfect starts.

The loss left Jose Mourinho’s side in fourth spot, three points behind Valencia and Betis, and one back from Barcelona.

Real had plenty of possession, but Levante defended resolutely. Kaka missed an early chance and Karim Benzema was a danger, but Real’s task became a lot harder following the dismissal of Sami Khedira for a second yellow card. Ronaldo was brought on after the break, but Real were unable to create clear-cut chances and instead they were caught on the break when Arouna Kone grabbed the only goal in the 68th minute.

“I think that while we had 11 against 11 we were fine and the opposition never went further than the halfway line,” Real coach Jose Mourinho said. “There are players at Madrid who have not adapted to foul play and are not comfortable with it. One of my players [Khedira] was to blame because he knew what was going to happen. However, at the same time we had a clear penalty which was not given and they should have had a player sent off. We should also have made more of the openings in the first half to win the match.”

Radamel Falcao fired a hat-trick as he led Atletico Madrid to a 4-0 victory over Real Racing Club de Santander.

New signings Falcao and Diego were combining well when the Colombian started the rout, slotting home clinically after 23 minutes. He then sent the goalkeeper the wrong way with a penalty before halftime and completed his hat-trick 10 minutes into the second half. Substitute Adrian Lopez scored 12 minutes from the end for a resounding win.

Luis Garcia hit both goals, including a last-minute winner, as he helped Real Zaragoza to a 2-1 victory over his former club RCD Espanyol.

The visitors’ Javi Lopez equalized Garcia’s opener and the match appeared to be heading for a draw until Zaragoza won a penalty three minutes from time. Garcia saw his spot-kicked blocked by goalkeeper Cristian Alvarez, but there was still time for him to make amends and score the winner in stoppage-time.

An early Michu header gave Rayo Vallecano de Madrid a 1-0 derby victory at Getafe in Sunday’s early game.

It was the first time that the two lesser lights of the Spanish capital had met in the top flight and Rayo, carrying a greater threat in front of goal, came out on top.

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