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Live Commentary: Real Madrid 1-2 Levante

By , European Football Editor | 6mo
Relive Sports Mole's live commentary of the La Liga clash between Real Madrid and Levante from the Spanish capital, which finished 1-2.

Real Madrid's torrid run of form continued with Levante recording a 2-1 victory at the Bernabeu on Saturday afternoon.

Los Blancos entered the La Liga clash having lost three of their last four matches in all competitions, but could not return to form in front of their own fans as the pressure was cranked up on head coach Julen Lopetegui.

The result has left the European champions down in fifth position in La Liga, although they are only three points off the top of the table.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.

Morning all! Sports Mole's live La Liga coverage for the 2018-19 campaign continues from the Bernabeu as Real Madrid welcome Levante. Real Madrid will be looking to win a football match for the first time since September 22 this afternoon. Indeed, Los Blancos are without a victory in their last four matches in all competitions, and face a potentially-tricky clash against a Levante side that has won their last two in La Liga to rise into 11th position in the table. Stay tuned for all of the action right here!
Both La Liga matches between the two teams last season finished level, including a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu in September 2017. Real Madrid's last home success over Levante was a 3-0 win back in October 2015, and they have not actually lost to the Valencia-based outfit since October 2014. Levante's last away league victory over Real Madrid, meanwhile, was a 1-0 success back in February 2007, with Salva Ballesta scoring the only goal of the match. Could that scoreline be repeated?
Right, without further ado, let me bring you up-to-speed with the all-important team news from the Spanish capital. Just how many of Real Madrid's injury concerns have made it? Let's have a look...
TEAMS!

REAL MADRID: Courtois; Odriozola, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Isco; Asensio, Mariano, Lucas

LEVANTE: Oier; Cabaco, Postigo, Rober; Jason, Bardhi, Rochina, Campana, Tono; Morales, Marti

So there we have it. No Karim Benzema and no Gareth Bale in the Real Madrid XI this afternoon, although both are on the bench. Marco Asensio is joined by Mariano Diaz and Lucas Vazquez in the final third, while Isco is back following an appendix operation. Dani Carvajal's continued absence means that there is another start for Alvaro Odriozola, while Marcelo returns to the XI at left-back.
Jose Luis Morales is so often the catalyst for Levante, and the 31-year-old, who has three La Liga goals to his name this term, will start in attack for the visitors this afternoon. Morales is joined by Roger Marti, who has four goals in six La Liga appearances this term. Enis Bardhi has also come into the team, having scored the only goal of the match against Getafe before the international break.
So there we have it. The two teams are in, and we are now just about 40 minutes from kickoff at the Bernabeu. I shall speak about the away side a little bit later, but let's start with Real Madrid. There were always going to be teething problems for Real Madrid in the post-Cristiano Ronaldo era, but the European champions would be in full-blown crisis mode if they did not return to winning ways here.
All was rosy at the Bernabeu after Real Madrid won their first three La Liga matches of the 2018-19 campaign, but just one victory from their last five league fixtures - including two defeats - has led to criticism of new head coach Julen Lopetegui, who is now under real pressure in the capital.
Los Blancos have not actually been victorious in Spain's top flight since a 1-0 win over Espanyol on September 22. Indeed, they have lost at Sevilla and Alaves in their last two away matches, and drew 0-0 with Atletico Madrid in their last league fixture at the Bernabeu at the end of last month.

The fact that Real Madrid have only scored once in their last four matches is perhaps even more worrying, and Lopetegui's side have the small matter of El Clasico away to Barcelona to think about next weekend. Another poor result against Levante would place incredible pressure on Real Madrid ahead of the clash at Camp Nou. Kickoff is now just about 30 minutes away here!
For all of Real Madrid's recent success in Europe, there is no getting away from the fact that the capital giants have only lifted the La Liga trophy once since 2012. They were well off the pace set by Barcelona last season, but fortunately for Real Madrid, the teams around them have also had wobbles this term.
Indeed, Los Blancos might sit fifth in La Liga, but they are only three points off the leaders Alaves, and just one point off third-placed Barcelona. It could and perhaps should have been much worse, but Barcelona host Sevilla this weekend, and Real Madrid will be looking to capatilise at the Bernabeu.
Promoted from the Segunda Division as winners in 2017, Levante secured another season of La Liga football by finishing 15th in the top flight last term. The Frogs have now been present in eight of the last nine La Liga campaigns, and will be looking to secure another season of top-flight action.
Paco Lopez's side opened their 2018-19 La Liga season with an impressive 3-0 win at Real Betis, before losing to Celta Vigo and drawing with Valencia in their next two. At that stage, four points from three matches represented a strong start to the season for the club formed in 1909.
Levante lost three La Liga games on the spin between September 16 and September 27, however, including a 6-2 home defeat to Sevilla. Lopez's team have bounced back in impressive fashion though by overcoming Alaves and Getafe in their last two to move into 11th position in the table.
The Frogs are only two points off the top seven, and as mentioned above, certainly know what it takes to pick up positive results at the Bernabeu. Indeed, they held Real Madrid to a 1-1 in the Spanish capital last term, and also shared the points with Los Blancos on home soil back in February.
Here we go then; both sets of players have joined us on the pitch ahead of kickoff in the Spanish capital. Can Levante pile more misery on Real Madrid this afternoon? Stay tuned to find out!
KICKOFF:  Levante kick things off on home soil...
... there is no question that the Real Madrid fans will be looking for a strong performance from their team. It is a much-changed XI this afternoon, and there will be pressure on the likes of Mariano to produce.
Morales goes to ground inside the Real Madrid box and calls for a spot kick, but the linesman's flag had been raised for offside. Morales got in behind the home side's defence very easily there.
Asensio has been bright for Real Madrid in the early moments, and the Spaniard has just broken into a wide position before looking to cross, but the ball had just gone behind for a goal kick.
REAL MADRID 0-1 LEVANTE (MORALES)
Oh my word! Levante take a shock lead at the Bernabeu as Morales beats Varane to a long ball before rounding Courtois and finding the back of the net. Whistles around the stadium here!
Half-chance for Real Madrid as Asensio collects a loose ball inside the box, but his effort is blocked. It has been a decent response from the home side, who really need to hit back in this one.
PENALTY!  LEVANTE HAVE A SPOT KICK!
The referee, following a VAR review, points for a penalty as Varane handles inside the box. Levante will have an incredible chance to take a 2-0 lead at the Bernabeu, with Marti to take here...
GOAL!  REAL MADRID 0-2 LEVANTE (MARTI, PEN)
Marti sends his penalty past Courtois as Levante take an incredible 2-0 lead here!
GOAL!  REAL MADRID 1-2 LEVANTE (ASENSIO)
DISALLOWED GOAL!  Oh my goodness! Incredible scenes here as the goal is disallowed! Asensio nodded home from close range, but offside seems to have been given. What a ridiculous first 18 minutes here.
Courtois manages to leap on a loose ball as Morales threatens once again. This really has been a crazy, crazy first 20 minutes. I am struggling to keep up to be completely honest!
SAVE!  Two incredible saves from the Levante goalkeeper in quick succession as he keeps out efforts from Lucas and Ramos. You just cannot take your eyes off this one at the moment.
Possession football from Levante as we approach the 30-minute mark at the Bernabeu. Real Madrid find themselves 2-0 behind, but are having lots of the ball as they look to hit back here.
Marcelo now has a strike blocked as Levante defend for their lives at the Bernabeu. The left-back actually looked to find Mariano on second look, but Morales was back to make the clearance.
The referee has been busy in the last couple of minutes as Levante look to break the game up, which is not a bad idea. Lopetegui is desperately trying to get his players going here.
A third for Levante would surely, surely kill off a Real Madrid challenge here. Would Lopetegui be able to survive if Los Blancos lost another match? Just a reminder that the European champions travel to Barcelona in the league next weekend. Still 2-0 with 31 minutes on the clock here.
Excellent defending from Postigo and then Rober as Levante clear a couple of dangerous crosses into their own box. Little over 10 minutes of the first period remaining in the Spanish capital.
OFF THE BAR!  Casemiro hits the crossbar with a header as Real Madrid come close again!
You do get the feeling that Real Madrid need a goal back before the interval, even just for confidence. The home fans might also be kinder if their team is only 2-1 behind at the break.
Just a reminder that Bale and Benzema are both on the bench for Real Madrid this afternoon, but it remains to be seen just how fit they are. Surely both will be introduced in the second period.
Morales continues to cause Real Madrid's defence all sorts of problems. Morales really is a wonderful footballer, and Levante are very fortunate to have him. The home side are down the other end moments later with Odriozola, but the ball just runs away from the full-back.
Morales looks to tickle a low cross into Jason as Levante threaten once again, but the pass is just too strong, and Real Madrid can break once again. Still 2-0 to the away side here.
DISALLOWED GOAL!  Levante thought that they had scored a third, but the offside flag is raised. VAR?!
Rochina's effort is ruled offside following a VAR review.
Mariano just fails to meet a cross from Marcelo as Real Madrid continue to force the issue. The ball then breaks to Mariano inside the box, but the centre-forward wants too long on the ball.
We are into the second of three additional minutes here, and Casemiro has headed over.
Morales continues to run the Real Madrid defence as we approach the break.
HALF TIME:  REAL MADRID 0-2 LEVANTE
So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with Levante leading Real Madrid 2-0. What a first half of football here! Morales sent Levante ahead in the sixth minute, before Marti doubled the away side's lead from the penalty spot in the 13th minute. We have had VAR reviews, disallowed goals, the lot! Real Madrid have serious work to do in the second half of action here.
BENCH WATCH! Real Madrid do have a number of attacking options on their bench this afternoon, and we will surely see Bale, Benzema and Kroos in the second half of action. Levante, meanwhile, have the likes of Boateng, Chema, Simon and Lopez in reserve. What a huge 45 minutes ahead.
STATISTICS! Real Madrid had 68% of the ball in the first period, while they had 17 attempts, five of which were on target. Levante, meanwhile, hit the target with both of their attempts, and managed two goals. The Valencia-based outfit have a huge chance to leave the Bernabeu with three points.
KICKOFF:  Real Madrid resume the action here...
REAL MADRID SUB! Bale has replaced Odriozola at the break.
Real Madrid are very, very attacking at the start of the second period. Indeed, Lucas has gone to right-back, with Bale down the right. The home side need one back as soon as possible here.
Bale looks to collect a little pass from Lucas inside the Levante box, but the ball just bounces away from the Wales international. All Real Madrid in terms of possession at the moment here.
CLOSE!  Modric just misses the Levante post after spinning inside the Levante box.
YELLOW CARD!  Cabaco (Levante) is booked for a poor challenge on Asensio.
Isco stands over the free kick before delivering, but Postigo manages to head behind. Levante have been excellent defensively in this match, and they are keeping out Real Madrid here.
A better first touch from Morales would have seen the Levante captain break into the Real Madrid box, but the Spaniard cannot gather as he was racing away from the tiring Isco here.
Little over 30 minutes of the second period remaining, and Levante still lead 2-0. Surely Lopetegui will be sacked if the score stays as it is! How has it gone so wrong for the European champions?
Not too much happening at the moment. Real Madrid are having lots of the ball, but Levante are pretty comfortable. Mariano really needs to offer more in the final third of the field here.
Rochina strikes high and wide of the Real Madrid crossbar.
REAL MADRID SUBS! Benzema and Ceballos replace Isco and Asensio.
CHANCE!  Ceballos has a strike blocked as Real Madrid just start to raise the tempo a touch here. Bale also has a strike, but Oier is equal to the effort. Levante still lead 2-0 in the Spanish capital.
SAVE!  Oier is on hand to keep out a decent strike from Benzema.
Real Madrid have a free kick in a dangerous area as Ceballos is brought to the deck..
SAVE!  ... wonderful save from Oier to keep out Bale's effort!
LEVANTE SUB! Doukoure replaces Rochina for Levante.
Mariano heads wide of the post as another half-chance comes and goes for the hosts.
CHANCE!  Bale fires a low Marcelo cross wide of the Levante post!
Another corner comes into the Levante box, and it is cleared once again. Time is certainly running out for Real Madrid, and they really have been extremely poor this afternoon.
GOAL!  REAL MADRID 1-2 LEVANTE (MARCELO)
Finally Real Madrid score! The European champions have one back in this match as Marcelo collects a pass from Benzema before finding the back of the net with an excellent strike!
Still a solid 15 minutes of football to play this afternoon, and you have to think that chances will come for the home side. Can Levante find a way of holding out for all three points?
LEVANTE SUB! Chema replaces Postigo for the away side.
OFF THE POST!  Benzema hits the post with a brilliant, curling effort!
It has been much, much better from Real Madrid since Benzema and Bale entered the field, which is not a surprise. Still a solid 10 minutes of normal time for the European champions to score again.
LEVANTE SUB! Boateng replaces Roger for the away side.
CLOSE!  Marcelo strikes over the crossbar as Levante only half-clear once again.
Little over five minutes of normal time remaining for Real Madrid to find a second, and maybe third, goal here. Levante seem to be running on empty as the pressure continues here.
All Real Madrid in terms of possession as the clock continues to tick on in the capital.
SAVE!  Oier is on hand to keep out a strike from Mariano!
DISALLOWED GOAL!  Mariano converts from close range, but the offside flag is raised!
YELLOW CARD!  Jason (Levante) is booked for a late challenge on Varane.
We are into the first of four minutes of additional time here.
Levante clear their lines once again as the ball goes wide before being delivered. Time is running out for Real Madrid, but they might well have one more big chance in this match.
Oier collects a corner from Marcelo, and time is almost up at the Bernabeu.
CLOSE!  Morales just misses the far post as Levante threaten a third here.
YELLOW CARD!  Marcelo (Real Madrid) is booked for a rash challenge.
FULL TIME:  REAL MADRID 1-2 LEVANTE
So there we have it. The referee brings the second period to a close with Levante recording a 2-1 win at the Bernabeu. What a result in the Spanish capital! Thanks for joining Sports Mole for our live coverage once again. See you soon!


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