Madrid comfortable in Levante win

Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcelo and a Nikos own goal gave Real Madrid a comfortable 3-0 win over Levante.

Madrid went into the game looking for three points to go clear at the top of the table and take advantage of Barcelona’s slip against Real Valladolid.

Victory takes Los Blancos three clear of Atletico Madrid and four ahead of La Blaugrana, Ronaldo’s 11th minute goal putting Madrid on their way early.

Marcelo added a second only a few minutes into the second half with his first Madrid goal since September 2012, when he netted against Manchester City in the Champions League.

Nikos then diverted Marcelo’s cross into his own net at the far post after the delivery evaded everyone else.

Carlo Ancelotti made three changes, all in defence, from the side that drew with Atletico Madrid, bringing in Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane and Marcelo for Alvaro Arbeloa, Pepe and Fabio Coentrao.

Madrid dominated the early going with the best opening coming when Angel Di Maria’s clipped cross was met by a cushioned Ronaldo volley, in turn parried by Keylor Navas.

The Di Maria-Ronaldo connection soon proved fruitful though when the Argentine’s corner was met by the Portuguese’s head on the penalty spot, Ronaldo’s powerful attempt finding the net.

The goal was Ronaldo’s 24th in the League so far this season and 38th in all competitions. Levante, by contrast, went into the game with 26 goals in the League across the entire team.

Andreas Ivanschitz was fortunate not to face further punishment than the concession of a free kick for a late, knee-high challenge on Varane. Juanfran later had a mini-spat with Gareth Bale after shoving the winger off the pitch as the ball ran out of play.

Karim Benzema went close to doubling the advantage on the stroke of half time, the France international’s header striking the foot of the post via a hand from the impressive Navas.

The second half began much as the first ended – Madrid on the attack and an early goal, even earlier this time. Marcelo linked up with Ronaldo, stepped inside and rocketed the ball past Navas.

Sergio Ramos was left in a heap after a collision with Loukas Vyntra and was booked for his part, ruling the centre-back out of the game against Malaga next week but removing any chance of him missing el Clasico at the end of the month.

Navas was almost single-handedly and quite literally keeping the score line respectable, this time making a spectacular one-handed save to deny Benzema.

The game was drifting to a tepid conclusion just past the hour mark when a tackle from behind from David Navarro sent Ronaldo sprawling and saw the defender shown a straight red.

Levante Coach Joaquin Caparros wasn’t happy with the decision and engaged with the Madrid fans behind the away dugout but Navarro could have few complaints.

Madrid started to use the space left by Navarro’s dismissal, Marcelo shooting over after a rapid break, Benzema hitting the bar from Carvajal’s cross and then spurning another chance from close range after more fine goalkeeping from Navas.

Nikos’ own goal wrapped up the scoring but Ronaldo went as close as can be to another goal, hitting the crossbar with a header that had Navas beaten. Bale also sent a shot inches wide with only seconds to play.

The game ended on a sour note for Madrid as Carvajal was stretchered off, having gone down without an opposition player involved.

A three-goal defeat may have been harsh on Levante and Navas especially but Madrid were worthy winners, barely having to get out of second gear.

Real Madrid 3-0 Levante

Scorer: Ronaldo 11, Marcelo 49, Nikos og 82 (RM)

Navarro (LV) s/o 63

Real Madrid: Lopez; Carvajal, Varane (Nacho 69), Ramos, Marcelo; Modric (Isco 74); Alonso; Di Maria; Bale, Benzema (Jese 82), Ronaldo

Levante: Navas; Vyntra, Navarro, Juanfran, Nikos; Pallardo (El Adoua 69), Sissoko, Pinto (Nagore 74); Lopez, Barral (Angel 88), Ivanschitz

Tags Cristiano Ronaldo Marcelo
La Liga - Club News