Angel and Andreas Ivanschitz grabbed second-half goals as 10-man Levante moved above local rivals Valencia in the Primera Division with a 2-0 win at Ciutat de Valencia.
Rodriguez finally broke the deadlock in the 70th minute having only just come off the bench, with Ivanschitz doubling their lead nine minutes from time to ensure there was no way back for Los Che even though Pedro Lopez was given his marching orders in the closing stages. Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men are now destined for their lowest league finish since 1998, and they may not be able to claim local bragging rights as Levante moved two points ahead of them with just one game remaining.
They were sluggish out of the blocks and Levante should have made them pay but Ruben Garcia missed the target with his header, while David Barral’s effort was blocked by Valencia captain Ricardo Costa. Spain Under-21 international Garcia then saw his strike from point blank range blocked by Valencia defender Juan Bernat as Levante continued to push on without much luck.
The visitors did show some resolve although they were restricted to trying their luck from distance, with both Sofiane Feghouli and Fede Cartabia missing the target from outside the area. The sides could not be separated at the interval although Valencia had the first real sight of goal on the resumption when Costa headed over from Dani Parejo’s free kick from the right.
Chances were at a premium so it seemed crucial when Angel opened the scoring from close range just a minute after coming off the bench. Substitute Oliveira Jonas missed the target and then forced a good save from Levante goalkeeper Keylor Navas as Valencia sought an equalizer.
But it was the hosts who sealed victory in the 81st minute when Ivanschitz latched on to Victor Casadesus’ pass and finishing low past Diego Alves. It was the decisive strike as Levante comfortably held on, despite the 88th-minute dismissal of Lopez, who received a straight red card for his foul on Bernat.