Levante vs. Real Madrid: Final score 2-3, Morata and Ronaldo save Los Blancos late

Denis Doyle

Goals from Álvaro Morata and Cristiano Ronaldo in the final minutes of the match helped Madrid turn certain defeat into a miraculous victory.

Levante twice took the lead and twice surrendered it as Real Madrid scored twice in the final minutes to cruely steal points from Levante.

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Despite being allowed to have the lion share of possession, Madrid were short on ideas to break through the great blue wall they stood between them and a goal in the first half. Their only real chances came on set pieces and there were none better than in the 30th minute after Madrid won a free kick 30 or so yards from the Levante goal. Cristiano Ronaldo posed set-up over the ball and launched a shot that deflected off the Levante wall and towards the far post. Goalkeeper Keylor Navas has to scramble to get a hand on the ball, pushing it wide of the post.

Beyond that the Granotes did a lovely job of frustrating Los Blancos and not giving them much room to operate. It just didn't lend itself to particularly entertaining football.

Levante came out of the locker room looking to pressure Madrid early and try to catch them unawares. It nearly worked in the 47th minute when Pape Diop's missile from outside the Madrid area was fought off by Diego López. In the wake of the ensuing corner, Levante came close again as Hector Rodas just missed with a close range header off a cross from Pedro López.

Madrid countered and had a close call of their own in the 52nd minute when Ronaldo cut inside and dragged his shot just slightly off target, hitting it off the outside of the near post.

Then in the 57th minute a wonderfully executed counter attack have the Frogs the lead.

Jordi Xumetra made a patient run down the right side, allowing his teammates to run into the space in the Madrid area before lifting a half-volley over the head of Raphaël Varane -- who spun confused that there was someone behind him and nearly fell -- right onto the feet ofPapa Diawara who beat López to make it 1-0.

Three minutes later Levante completely feel asleep on a corner kick and allowed Madrid to equalize. Sergio Ramos made a run at the far post that was completely missed and the defender went up and over Xumetra and headed the ball in to pull Madrid back even at 1-1.

Levante held off Madrid's attacking forays and got some luck as well as several good chances from Los Blancos went off target. Finally in the 85th minute, the stalemate was broken thanks to some individual brilliance from Nabil El Zhar.

El Zhar headed down a lofted ball into the box, bouncing off a charging López and regaining control. Ramos stood him up well trying desperately to prevent him from turning towards the open net as his goalkeeper scrambled to get back on his line. El Zhar moved away from goal, made himself some space, and then turned and whipped a shot past López.

Real Madrid weren't done yet though and again pulled even as the clock entered the 90th minute. Some excellent passing allowed Madrid to pick apart Levante and the ball finally ended up with Morata in a small pocket of space in the box. The young striker blasted a low show through traffic and past Navas making it 2-2.

With time nearly gone Cristiano Ronaldo was the hero for Madrid, deflecting a shot off Juanfran that skipped wide of a diving Navas and found the back of the net, giving Madrid a completely undeserved victory.

Levante: Navas; Pedro López, Navarro, Rodas, Juanfran; Mate, Diop; Xumetra (El Zhar 68'), Ivanschitz, García (Pinto 88'); Diawara (Barral 77')

Goals: Diawara (57'), El Zhar (85')

Real Madrid: Diego López, Arbeloa, Ramos, Varane, Coentrão (Marcelo 59'), Khedira, Modric, Isco (Morata 69'), Di María, Ronaldo, Benzema (Jese 79')

Goals: (Ramos 61'), Morata (90'), Ronaldo (94')

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