Levante 2-0 Real Madrid
Football prides itself on giving hope to those with the smallest odds from time to time – as it happened, Saturday the second of April was Levante’s time.
Very few had predicted that Levante could cause an upset against a better rested Villarreal this weekend, with Unai Emery saying their league form was not good enough before the international break. Yet Los Granotas showed an abnormal solidity at the back in this match. Villarreal succeeded in arriving at the box, but whenever Gerard Moreno or Arnaut Danjuma wound up to shoot a Levante defender would be in front of them.
Levante showed perhaps less ambition than in the early days under Alessio Lisci, but it worked in their favour as they attacked more efficiently and lulled Villarreal into favourable counter-attacks. Just as it seemed set for Villarreal to lay siege, Roger Marti held the ball up just long enough for Jose Luis Morales to get on the end of his backheel. El Comandante side-footed past Geronimo Rulli with ease and saluted his audience.
The siege, ultimately, threatened to arrive, but never did. That will surely be Emery’s biggest irritation against the worst defence in the league. To top it off, a late counter-attack left Morales one-on-one with Rulli once more, whom he floored with a stepover, before stepping around him and leaving the ball in the net.
Levante remain five points of safety, but temporarily move into 19th place on the same total as Alaves. There’s just enough proximity to keep Levante fans interested for the final eight games.