With strikers Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema out injured, Cristiano Ronaldo scored for Real Madrid in the 21st minute after receiving a gash above his left eye in a collision with an opposing player.
Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said that Ronaldo was having trouble with his vision by halftime and had to be substituted. Mourinho sent on an extra defender looking to protect his slim lead with the water-logged pitch encumbering almost every attack.
Madrid, even without their three top scorers, almost scored twice more when Pepe and Sergio Ramos both hit the crossbar, but Mourinho’s tactic backfired when Levante substitute Angel Rodriguez held off Pepe to control Obafemi Martins’ pass and slot the ball beyond goalkeeper Iker Casillas in the 62nd minute.
Madrid had another golden opportunity when Jose Callejon was fouled by David Navarro in the area, only for goalkeeper Gustavo Munua to block Xabi Alonso’s resulting spot-kick in the 73rd minute.
As time ticked down, Mourinho sent on Morata in the 83rd minute and a minute later the forward met Alonso’s free-kick to head it past Munua.
“I was very happy to help the team,” 20-year-old Morata said. “Two years ago, Munua saved a clear goal for me. I have had more chances and I knew that one day the goal would arrive, and today was the day.”
Elsewhere on Sunday, Athletic Bilbao beat visiting Sevilla 2-0 for their first back-to-back wins of the season, while 10-man Valencia stayed winless away this season after drawing 1-1 at Real Valladolid.