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  HOME | Sports (Click here for more)

Real Madridís Woes Continue in 2-2 Draw against Levante

VALENCIA, Spain Ė Real Madridís run of up-and-down performances continued on Saturday in a 2-2 draw against Levante, which got the equalizer with just one minute remaining before second-half stoppage time.

The Blancos have had a series of Jekyll and Hyde performances in recent weeks, either routing teams by big margins or losing games that seemed like mismatches on paper.

On Saturday at Ciutat de Valencia Stadium, Real Madrid followed up a strong first half with a miserable final 45 minutes.

Sergio Ramos gave the Spanish-league powerhouse the early lead with a header in the 11th minute off a corner kick that bounced past the home sideís goalkeeper, who appeared to not pick up the ball amid a crowd of players.

The visitors, who had sent out a line-up featuring Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and other superstars, proceeded to control the action the rest of the first half and appeared headed for a comfortable win.

Out of nowhere, however, Levante got the equalizer in the 43rd minute on a counterattack play.

Jose Luis Morales broke clear and received a perfectly placed pass although he was unable to convert against Blancosí net minder Keylor Navas, who rejected his shot from just inside the area.

But the ball then ricocheted to Emmanuel Boateng, who was following up the play and struck a perfectly placed shot just inside the right upright.

In the second half, Levanteís pressure forced Zinedine Zidaneís men into numerous mistakes that led to a series of opportunities on the counterattack.

The visitors, however, finally managed to reassert control with time winding down and were rewarded when Benzema set up Isco for a powerful blast inside the area in the 81st minute.

Down 2-1, Levante still had nine minutes to work with and equalized in the minute 89 when Giampaolo Pazzini scored on a superb pass by Jason. Navas got a hand on the Italianís strike from inside the penalty box, but the ball bounded into the goal.

The draw is the latest disappointing result for Real Madrid, currently in fourth place in La Liga and 18 points behind league-leading FC Barcelona, which takes on Espanyol on Sunday.

Zidaneís squad also was eliminated from the Copa del Rey last month by Leganes.

The Blancos still are alive in the Champions League, but will have to improve their form in a hurry before taking the field against Paris Saint-Germain in round-of-16 action starting Feb. 14.

Levante, meanwhile, picked up a valuable point on Saturday but is still just outside the La Liga relegation zone in the No. 17 spot with 16 games remaining.


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