Mon, Feb 27, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Marco Ruben’s last-gasp winner propels Levante up to fourth


RCD Espanyol’s Vladimir Weiss, second right, shoots on goal as Levante UD’s Sergio Ballesteros, left, and Pedro Lopez Munoz, center, look on in their La Liga match at the Estadio Cornella-El Prat in Barcelona, Spain, on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

Marco Ruben grabbed a last-minute winner to earn Levante UD a 2-1 win at RCD Espanyol on Saturday to boost their hopes of a place in the Champions League.

The win puts the team from Valencia back into fourth position on 35 points.

Former Espanyol player Valdo was the quickest to react to a loose ball to finish well on 24 minutes and give Levante the lead.

In the second half, Espanyol pressed for the leveler, with Slovakian winger Vladimir Weiss, on loan from Manchester City, looking particularly dangerous. However, it was Arouna Kone who nearly doubled the lead for Levante on 68 minutes, only to be denied by a fine save by Francisco Casilla.

Six minutes later, substitute Kalu Uche leapt highest to head in a Joan Verdu floated free-kick, after Weiss had been fouled on the right wing, to level the game.

At 1-1, Espanyol looked the likely winners and Uche shot just wide with six minutes remaining.

However, Ruben struck a last-minute free-kick that took a slight deflection to take the three points for Levante.

It was the first win in nine league games for a Levante side who started the campaign brightly and briefly challenged at the top of the table.

Malaga came from behind to beat bottom club Real Zaragoza 5-1, for whom Carlos Aranda grabbed an early lead, to move into fifth place, one point behind Levante.

Seba Fernandez headed the equalizer on the stroke of halftime, before an own-goal from defender Paulo da Silva, a Martin Dimichelis header, as well as strikes from Isco and Salomon Rondon sealed victory for rampant Malaga.

The defeat leaves Zaragoza stranded at the bottom, 11 points from safety.

Also on Saturday, the points were shared in 1-1 draws between Real Racing Club de Santander and Sporting de Gijon, and Real Betis Balompie and Getafe.

David Barral gave Sporting the lead with an unstoppable shot from a free-kick in the first period, before Uruguayan forward Christian Stuani hit a second-half penalty to earn the hosts a point.

The result leaves both teams in the bottom three.

Jorge Molina put Betis ahead in the 51st minute, only for an own-goal from Chechu Dorado to even it up three minutes later.

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