Levante's first experience of
life at the top of La Liga in their 102-year history ended when
the surprise early pacesetters suffered a first defeat of the
season in a 2-0 loss at 10-man Osasuna on Sunday.
The Valencia-based club, whose annual budget of around 20
million euros is less than a 20th of new leaders
Real Madrid, fell behind to an Alvaro Cejudo strike in the 39th
minute and Nino netted a second for Pamplona-based Osasuna three
Cejudo, who had already been booked for taking his shirt off
in his goal celebration, was shown a second yellow card in the
59th minute but Levante were unable to exploit their numerical
advantage and their astounding seven-match winning streak came
to an end.
"It's true that we have been on a very good run but we knew
this was going to be a tough match," Levante coach Juan Ignacio
Martinez, who is in his debut top-flight campaign, said at a
"When you have won so many games the next defeat is always
closer," he added.
La Liga had a more familiar look to it after Levante were
toppled from the summit, with Real Madrid leading on 25 points from 10
matches thanks to Saturday's 1-0 win at Real Sociedad.
Champions Barcelona, bidding for a club record-equalling
fourth straight title, were a point back in second after a
Lionel Messi-inspired 5-0 demolition of Real Mallorca on
Saturday, with Levante third on 23 points.
In Sunday's late kick-off, big-spending Malaga climbed above
Espanyol into sixth when they beat the Catalan capital's second
club 2-1 at the Rosaleda.
Athletic Bilbao were held to a 1-1 draw at Sporting Gijon,
Croatian substitute Mate Bilic grabbing an equaliser for the
hosts after Markel Susaeta's 63rd-minute effort.
Atletico Madrid secured their first win in six games when
Spain Under-21 striker Adrian scored twice in a 3-1 success at
home to Real Zaragoza, easing pressure on new coach Gregorio
Bilbao and Atletico both have 13 points, with the Basques
ahead on goal difference in ninth and the Madrid side in 10th.
Real Betis won their opening four games of the campaign
after gaining promotion to the top flight at the end of last
season but have now lost six in a row after they were beaten 1-0
at Racing Santander and slipped to 12th on 12 points.
Sevilla can close to within a point of fourth-placed
Valencia, who beat Getafe 3-1 on Saturday, when they play at
home to promoted Andalusian rivals Granada in the Monday
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