La Liga: Levante holds late Sevilla surge

Levante extended their advantage in fourth place in the Primera Division over Sevilla to five points with a scrappy 1-0 win at the Ciudad de Valencia.

Nano bundled home the only goal 10 minutes into the second half after a terrible mix-up between Emir Spahic and Javi Varas left the defender with the easiest of finishes from a yard.

Sevilla were the better side throughout the game but were guilty of not taking their chances, particularly when Jesus Navas and Spahic failed to hit the target when presented with clear sights of goal.

Substitute Freddie Kanoute should also have guaranteed a point but headed straight at Gustavo Munua with 13 minutes remaining.

The visitors had won back-to-back games for the first time this season coming into this match and they were by far the more threatening side in the first period.

The return of Alvaro Negredo has brought a better balance to the side, allowing Manu del Moral to play in his more favoured wide position, and it was Manu who picked out Navas with a wonderful cut-back after only 13 minutes but the winger sliced his shot wide.

Negredo then came close with a long-range effort before Piotr Trochowski wastefully fired over from Navas’ intelligent pass.

Munua had to be alert eight minutes into the second half as he made a smart double save from Manu and Negredo, but for all their pressing Sevilla fell behind moments later thanks to some woeful defending.

Jose Barkero’s corner was headed goalwards by Sergio Ballesteros but stopped on the line by Spahic.

Instead of clearing the Bosnian tried to leave the ball for Varas to collect and as they hesitated Nano nipped in to force the ball home.

Levante have excelled at defending a lead this season – now winning all eight games in which they have scored first – but they did have a few anxious moments towards the end.

More excellent wing play from Manu created a great chance for Kanoute who just did not direct his header far enough away from Munua.

Spahic rounded off his miserable day when he failed to turn Negredo’s volley across goal in from five yards as Sevilla slipped to their first away defeat of the season.