Levante rally to defeat Elche 2-1, end losing streak


Sun, Dec 15, 2013 - Page 18

David Barral came off the bench to score two headers and give Levante UD a 2-1 victory at home over Elche on Friday, ending los Granotes’ four-game losing streak in La Liga.

Levante, who had lost five straight games, including a Copa del Rey match last weekend, fell behind at their Estadio Ciutat de Valencia when Ionut Sapanura opened the scoring for Elche in the 26th minute.

However, Barral replaced injured striker Baba Diawara in the 38th and three minutes later, leveled the score by expertly nodding in Nabil El Zhar’s cross.

Levante pressed the visitors into their area in the second half and Elche goalkeeper Antonio “Tono” Rodriguez had to push Nikolas Karabelas’ shot onto his crossbar in the 66th.

Yet Tono was helpless to stop Barral from thumping in the 80th-minute winner, when Pedro Rios picked him out charging unmarked through the box with a well-placed cross.

It was Levante’s first victory since Oct. 26. Both sides remain in the middle of the standings.

“This is a huge boost for us considering the negative streak we were on,” Barral said.

The former Sporting de Gijon player added that with 20 points, Levante were halfway to their goal of finishing the season with 40, the minimum they believe necessary to avoid relegation.

In yesterday’s La Liga action, Barcelona were to host Villarreal, while third-placed Real Madrid visited CA Osasuna, Granada took on Rayo Vallecano de Madrid and Malaga welcomed Getafe.

In today’s fixtures, Atletico Madrid — co-leaders with Barcelona, are to host Valencia — while UD Almeria take on RCD Espanyol, Real Sociedad face off against Real Betisn Balompie and Sevilla challenge Athletic Bilbao,

In tomorrow’s play, Real Valladolid are to host RC Celta de Vigo at the Estadio Jose Zorrilla.