On Sunday, Real Madrid successfully avenged their September 18, 2011 loss to Levante with a convincing 4-2 victory at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. Cristiano Ronaldo led Real Madrid's comeback as he scored a hat-trick in less than 15 minutes into the second half.
While the loss to Real Madrid isn't a surprise, it's astonishing how Levante continues to hold on to the fourth spot in La Liga. The Granotas have not been the same after beginning the season with a 7-2-0 record. At one point, they held La Liga's top spot.
Since their tremendous start, Levante has gone 2-3-8 over their past 13 matches. Not including their Copa del Rey 7-1 two match thumping to Valencia, Levante has been outscored 24-12 and have not won a match in their past seven regular season matches.
Despite their recent setback, Levante did take a 1-0 lead when Gustavo Cabral scored in the fifth minute of the first half. Following the Cabral's score, Levante withstood the ejection of Vicente Iborra de la Fuente in the 43rd minute to take a 1-0 lead into half-time.
Whatever hope of confidence the Granotas had of pulling an upset was extinguished by Cristiano Ronaldo within the first five minutes of the second half. With Levante down a man, Ronaldo leveled the match at 1-1 when he successfully converted his penalty kick in the 45th minute.
Five minutes later, Ronaldo gave Real Madrid their first lead of the match with his second goal of the match. Then in the 57th minute, Ronaldo blasted a beautiful long-range shot which resulted in his third goal of the match to give Real Madrid a 3-1 lead.
With more than 30 minutes remaining in the match, Levante was able to reduce the two-goal deficit to one when Arouna Koné made it 3-2 in the 63rd minute. Unfortunately for Levante, Karim Benzema's goal made it 4-2 for Real Madrid three minutes.
With Levante statistically overwhelmed by Real Madrid, the match finished 4-2. With the win, Real Madrid now owns a 10-point lead over second place Barcelona. In addition, Sunday's win may have well sealed La Liga for Real Madrid.
For Levante, Sunday's loss should come to no one's surprise. Statistically, Real Madrid had a 14-1 corner kick advantage while controlling the ball for 80-percent of the time. Real Madrid further demonstrated their dominance as they had a 26-5 shot advantage with 9-3 shots meant for goal.
With 16 remaining matches, Levante will have the opportunity to give their supporters a winning season and possibly finish in the top ten in La Liga. While every match isn't going to be easy to win, at least they'll potentially be entertaining to watch.
Cesar Diaz is a freelance copywriter & journalist who specializes in soccer coverage. If there’s a soccer topic you believe that needs to be written about, please feel free to contact him. Easily accessible, you may contact him at CoveringSoccer@gmail.com and @CoveringSoccer.