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Football

Levante come from behind against Valladolid

Real Zaragoza and Espanyol see red as Levante strengthen their position at the top end of La Liga with victory.
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2013 21:25
Levante boss Juan Ignacio Martinez was impressed with the way his team recovered after 'great goal' [EPA]

Levante edged out visiting Valladolid 2-1 thanks to Antonio Rukavina's own goal in the 90th minute to provisionally rise to fifth place in the Spanish league on Saturday.

Levante forward Jose Barkero curled a free kick over the barrier and just inside the post a minute before halftime to level for the hosts after Javier Baraja struck first for Valladolid in the eighth with a long-range volley.

Levante carried the initiative the rest of the way, and their efforts paid off when Rukavina inadvertently sent the ball into his own net while trying to stop the progress of Obafemi Martins into the area.

Levante coach Juan Ignacio Martinez said he was most pleased with his team's capacity to come from behind to get the win.

"They scored a great goal that weighed heavily on us," said Martinez.

"But the important thing is that we knew how to regain our composure."

Levante defender Sergio Ballesteros left the game in the first half holding the back of his left thigh. Martinez said his captain had a muscle pull and would undergo tests to determine its severity.

Valladolid, who had won two straight, remain in 10th place, just five points behind Levante at the tail end of a pack of teams challenging for a top-six finish and place in European competitions next season.

Rough-and-tumble

Earlier, Real Sociedad were held to 1-1 at 10-man Celta Vigo, while Espanyol drew 0-0 at Real Zaragoza in a rough-and-tumble contest that both teams ended with 10 men.

Celta forward Michael Krohn-Dehli netted after working a one-two combination with Iago Aspas to take the lead in the 32nd minute.

Celta's Augusto Fernandez was sent off with his second yellow card in the 50th, and 10 minutes later defender Gorka Elustondo headed in Sociedad's equaliser from a corner kick.

With an extra man, Sociedad had more possession and scoring chances, but Celta held on to split the points, leaving them two points above the drop zone. 

"Celta defended well with 10 players, but I think we wasted a good occasion to win here"

Sociedad coach Philippe Montanier

Sociedad climbed into eighth place with just one loss in the last 12 rounds.

"Celta defended well with 10 players, but I think we wasted a good occasion to win here," said Sociedad coach Philippe Montanier.

Zaragoza bossed the match at La Romareda stadium but couldn't break through Espanyol's disciplined defence which appeared content to play for the away draw.

Espanyol lost defender Javi Lopez to his second booking for a rash tackle in the 79th, with Zaragoza's Ionut Sapunaru following suit three minutes later.

Espanyol has only lost once in eight games under new coach Javier Aguirre.

Later, Valencia visit last-place Deportivo La Coruna.

League leaders Barcelona play Osasuna on Sunday, while second-place Atletico Madrid visit Athletic Bilbao. Real Madrid host Getafe, Real Betis are at Rayo Vallecano, and Mallorca take on Malaga.

Sevilla face Granada at home on Monday.

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Source:
AP
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