Levante beats Atletico to go fourth

Published Apr. 8, 2012 1:00 a.m. ET

Levante moved back into the top four after two goals in the first 10 minutes from Valdo and Arouna Kone were enough to hand them a 2-0 victory over a tired looking Atletico Madrid.

The game was barely 60 seconds old when Valdo stole in between the Atleti central defence to head home Jose Barkero's pinpoint cross. Barkero was the creator again nine minutes later when his free-kick was powered home by Kone.

The hosts should have had a third when Barkero blasted over when free inside the area, but despite improving in the second half Atleti never really threatened a comeback.

Their miserable day was complete when Miranda was sent-off for a second yellow card seven minutes from time.

Atleti progressed to the semi-finals of the Europa League in midweek but that run may have scuppered any chance they had of Champions League football next season as they went down to their third consecutive away defeat.

Levante were quick to take advantage of Atleti's lethargy as Barkero swung over a cross from the left and Valdo stole in to place a header in off Thibaut Courtois' left-hand post.

Kone then doubled the home side's advantage as he beat Miranda to Barkero's inswinging free-kick to head in his 14th goal of the season.


Atleti's response came via a Diego shot that was easily held by Gustavo Munua, but the visitors should have been even further behind on the half hour when brilliant wing-play by Valdo laid the ball perfectly across the area for Barkero but he fired his shot high and wide of Courtois' goal.

Diego Simeone's half-time team talk appeared to do some good as Atletico were much improved for a spell after the break but Munua did well to turn away Salvio's cross-come-shot and Arda Turan's fierce drive from the edge of the area.

Francisco Farinos forced Courtois into a fine save on the counter-attack with a low drive as Levante looked to seal the three points.

However, even after the introduction of top-scorer Radamel Falcao, Atleti could not find a way through as the Colombian headed Diego's cross just wide and was then denied by another fine save from Munua.

And there was even more bad news for Simeone as Miranda's red card means he, along with Mario Suarez and Salvio, will miss the derby with Real Madrid on Wednesday night through suspension.