Lowly Levante take Spanish top spot

Unfashionable Levante racked-up a fourth successive victory on Sunday as a Juanlu Gomez goal gave them a 1-0 win over Real Betis and top spot in La Liga.

Updated: October 02, 2011 22:09 IST
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Madrid: Unfashionable Levante racked-up a fourth successive victory on Sunday as a Juanlu Gomez goal gave them a 1-0 win over Real Betis and top spot in La Liga.

Promoted Betis won their first four games on the trot, but on Sunday succumbed to their second straight defeat against a Levante side who had the better openings.

Arouna Kone had a couple of excellent chances to score either side of Juanlu's volley from a Valdo Lopes cross which broke the deadlock after 33 minutes.

Later champions Barcelona travel to bottom of the table Sporting Gijon still looking for their first away win of the season in La Liga after draws against Real Sociedad and Valencia.

"To win the title you need to win a lot of matches away from home. We are now faced with another very difficult game and it is down to us to break this poor run," said Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola whose team can go top with a victory.

Real Madrid responded after picking up just one point from two games with a 6-2 win over Rayo Vallecano and then beat Ajax 3-0 in the Champions League.

They travel to Espanyol with Kaka restored to the starting eleven after a long battle with injury and loss of form.

Malaga, bankrolled by a Qatari billionaire, were the overnight leaders after a superb overhead kick in injury time from Julio Baptista completed a spectacular turnaround as they beat Getafe 3-2.

The Andalusian side, who invested heavily in the summer, moved up to 13 points and clear on goal difference of Valencia who beat Granada 1-0.

Pedro Leon put the visitors ahead with an excellent volley from distance and while Ruud van Nistelrooy headed Malaga level, Nicolas Miku controversially restored Getafe's advantage with a header which also came off his hand.

Malaga appeared to be heading for defeat before Enzo Maresca slotted home and then two minutes into injury time Baptista acrobatically gave them the three points.

"The scoreline was unfair and that made us fight even more for the winner. We did not close down properly for the first goal but the team did not give up and kept looking for the goal and we were able to equalise," said Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini.

"Then after going behind again fortunately the goals came and I am very happy for Ruud van Nistelrooy and Julio Baptista. It was a great game against a strong rival."

An early strike from Sergio Canales saw Valencia beat Granada and claim their first win in three matches.

Canales gave Valencia the perfect start with an angled strike from the edge of the area after just three minutes and Granada keeper Roberto Fernandez continued to be the busier, although after the break his opposite number Vicente Guaita saved well from Hassan Yebda and Inigo Lopez hit the post.

Substitute Hernan Perez snatched a late equaliser for Villarreal whose poor start to the season continued with a 2-2 draw at home to Zaragoza.

With only one victory in all competitions, Villarreal began the stronger but Luis Garcia gave Zaragoza the lead against the run of play.

Giuseppe Rossi brought Villarreal back on level terms from the penalty spot but the visitors went into the break ahead with Pablo Barrera scoring from another counter-attack.

In an open game Villarreal earned a point through Perez nine minutes from the end.

Two penalties from Tomer Hemed gave Mallorca, with caretaker coach Miguel Angel Nadal in charge, a 2-2 draw away to Osasuna. Raul Garcia headed both Osasuna's goals from corners.

Racing Santander drew 1-1 with Rayo Vallecano with Raul Tamudo scoring for the side from Madrid before Adrian Gonzalez equalised on the hour mark.

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