Sevilla's midfielder Aleix Vidal (C) vies with Levante's defender David Navarro (L).
CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images
Victor Casadesus’ second-half equalizer allowed struggling Levante to deny Sevilla all three points in a bruising encounter at the Sanchez Pizjuan.
Vitolo’s header gave the hosts the lead after half an hour but Levante never let their heads drop and got a deserved equalizer in the 80th minute through Casadesus, although Sevilla passed up a litany of late chances to grab a winner. The game saw almost 15 minutes in total added on to allow injured players to be treated.
Unai Emery’s side have dropped five points in the two games since they went joint top of the Primera Division table and are now four points off leaders Real Madrid, while Levante remain in the relegation zone despite picking up a fourth point in two matches.
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Los Granotes look a much more solid and organized side under Lucas Alcaraz and nearly got off to a dream start.
With fewer than three minutes on the clock a cross from left-back Nikos Karabelas found its way to Casadesus but Sevilla center-back Daniel Carrico cleared the striker’s shot off the line.
Just a minute later the hosts were down the other end to fire their first warning shot, Denis Suarez taking aim on the edge of the area and shooting just a few inches wide of the near post.
Sevilla center-back Alejandro Arribas was the first player to test one of the goalkeepers, Diego Marino stretching to palm away the defender’s header from a corner.
Marino’s opposite number Beto then needed medical attention after clashing heads with team-mate Grzegorz Krychowiak as Sevilla defended a free-kick, halting play for nearly six minutes.
Beto remained on the pitch and Sevilla broke the deadlock almost immediately after play resumed, Gerard Deulofeu finding space down the right and sending a great ball towards the far post, where Vitolo was waiting to nod home from eight yards.
Levante had an opportunity to draw level deep into injury time in the first half through Casadesus but again Carrico came to Sevilla’s rescue, booting the ball clear.
Sevilla could have put the game to bed at the start of the second half, with Coke, Suarez and Carlos Bacca all wasting chances, and then the Colombian striker saw his effort cleared off the line by Levante veteran Juanfran.
Beto picked up another blow to the face in the second half, this time colliding with the boot of Carrico, but again the goalkeeper stayed on the pitch. A few minutes later his team-mate Alejandro Arribas also needed treatment for a head injury.
Levante then began to pile on the pressure in search of an equalizer, pegging Sevilla pack and eventually breaking through.
Perhaps unnerved following his clashes with Krychowiak and Carrico, Beto made a hash of a Levante corner and the ball dropped to Casadesus, who used his strength to outmuscle Sevilla defenders and bundle the ball over the line.
There were eight more minutes of injury time at the end of the match and Sevilla spent most of them in the Levante half in pursuit of a winner.
Substitute Kevin Gameiro squandered two great chances and then Marino made two saves in the final minutes, first from Coke and then Fernando Navarro, to earn his side a vital point.