La Liga - Frustrated Real held at Levante

Sat, 25 Sep 19:53:00 2010

Real Madrid missed the chance to go back to the top of La Liga after they were held to a 0-0 draw at Levante.

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Newly-promoted Levante, in the bottom three going into the clash at the Cuidad de Valencia stadium, only got their first win of the season in midweek, but they held on to claim their first ever home point against Los Merengues that could prove highly valuable in their bid to stay up this term.

The result means Real are now two points behind leaders Valencia, who beat Sporting Gijon 2-0 earlier on Saturday, and a point behind Barcelona, who beat Athletic Bilbao in the evening's late match. Levante move out of the bottom three.

Once again, just as in the opening day goalless draw at Mallorca, Real struggled to turn their dominance into goals as Levante frustrated with two solid banks of four.

Gonzalo Higauin should have put Real ahead on 11 minutes, but he somehow contrived to send his shot from close range over the bar after Marcelo picked him out with a great ball from wide on the left.

Sergio Ramos and Angel di Maria also fired shots high over the target, while a Cristiano Ronaldo header was pushed away well by goalkeeper Manolo Reina.

In the run-up to half-time Xabi Alonso picked out Ronaldo with an inch-perfect long ball. Defender Nano tried to head the ball back to the keeper, but only succeeded in nodding it into Ronaldo's path, and the Portuguese forward lifted it over the onrushing Reina but saw his effort bounce wide of the far post.

The introduction of Ruben Suarez for Nacho Gonzalez just after the break helped Levante begin the second half brightly.

Real keeper Iker Casillas was barely troubled throughout, but his side also found their chances limited, as Ronaldo hit several poor free-kicks into the wall.

Substitute Pedro Leon had the best chance of the second half when he volleyed Marcelo's cross back across goal and wide of the far post.

Higuain also fired an acrobatic volley wide in stoppage time, but Levante held on for a well-earned point as Real boss Jose Mourinho struggled to hide his frustration.

Tony Mabert / Eurosport

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