Real Madrid fell behind but responded quickly with two goals three minutes apart, along with three late goals, to see off Levante 5-1 today at the Bernabéu.
Madrid had all of the possession and all the chances in the opening 30 minutes but as usually happens when Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Özil aren't on the pitch, the attack lacks a certain edge.
Levante took a surprising lead in the 31st minute hitting Real Madrid on the counter attack. Pedro Ríos led the attack and made a great cutback pass into the center of the Madrid area where Michel fumbled his first touch a bit, but still managed to get off a shot thanks to the slow reaction of the Madrid defenders. Michel's short range effort took a deflection and beat Diego Lopez, putting Levante up 1-0.
The lead would be short lived.
In the 36th minute Xabi Alonso picked out Gonzalo Higuain on the left side of the Levante area and the Argentine striker unleashed a wicked volley that Gustavo Munua had no hope of stopping, pulling Madrid even at 1-1.
Less than two minutes later, Christian Lell handled the ball in the box, giving Madrid a penalty kick. Kaká stepped up and beat Munua, putting Madrid in the lead for the first time at 2-1.
What to say about the second half...well, it was a mostly dull with a few interesting moments when Real Madrid came close to scoring. Overall it qualifies as one of those halves of soccer where you can get 45 minutes of your life back.
Cristiano Ronaldo finally scored a third goal for Madrid in the 85th minute after his side spent most of the half coming close but either failing on their own or being denied by Munua. The goal secured the win but Madrid never looked like a team that was going to give up their advantage in the second half.
Mesut Özil finished a lovely assist from Ronaldo in the 88th minute and scored again in stoppage time because Madrid really likes to make people adjust their match reports as much as possible. Jerks.
Levante's slim hopes of climbing back into the European spot fight look to be on life support as they are now seven points behind the contenders.