A week after suffering their first loss of the season and failing to reclaim La Liga's top spot from Real Madrid, Levante has been brought down another notch as they painfully experienced their first home loss of the season in a 2-0 defeat against local rival Valencia.
Playing at Ciutat de València against their local rival in the Valencia Derby, Levante was clearly outclassed by Valencia in their lethargic performance.
As a result of Saturday's win, Valencia is now in third place in La Liga, trailing only Real Madrid and Barcelona for the top spot.
For the first time since 1964, Levante entered Saturday's contest with the better record over their rivals. But to restore order to the rivalry, Valencia's first goal came in the 31st minute thanks to Levante's Javi Venta's own goal.
Adding salt to the wounds, Levante was issued four yellow cards in a six-minute span in the first half. By losing their composure, Levante racked up a total of six yellow cards in the entire match against their local rivals.
After leading in the first half, Valencia made it 2-0 in the 50th minute. Midfielder Tino Costa's free-kick was successful as Levante's GK Gustavo Munúa misread the trajectory of the ball and nicked his left hand as it went into the far corner.
Resigned to their eventual defeat, Levante appeared to be going through the motions as they awaited for the final whistle.
During the final 40 minutes, Carlos Aranda may have placed the final nail in the coffin in the 62nd minute when he was rightly given a yellow card for diving in the penalty area.
Despite having a 13-8 shot advantage, Levante sabotaged themselves on Saturday as only three of those shots were intended for goal. As a result of their second consecutive loss, Levante is now in fourth place in La Liga.
Considering that their next match will take place on Sunday, November 20, when they travel to Atlético Madrid, Saturday's horrendous performance could not have come at a better time.
From now until November 20, Levante's manager Juan Ignacio Martinez must make the necessary adjustments in order for the team to return to their winning form—producing goals and playing smart defense.
With La Liga considered a two-team league in the eyes of many supporters, it'll be interesting to see if Levante is able to keep with Real Madrid and Barcelona throughout the season.
Other La Liga Results from the Saturday
Mallorca vs. Sevilla FC resulted in a scoreless draw.
Real Betis vs. Malaga resulted in a scoreless draw.
La Liga Standings as of Saturday, November 5, 2011
1. Real Madrid (8-1-1, 25 pts); 2. Barcelona (7-3-0, 24 pts); 3. Valencia (7-3-1, 24 pts); 4. Levante (7-2-2, 23 pts); 5. Sevilla FC (4-6-1, 18 pts); 6. Malaga (5-2-4, 17 pts); 7. Espanyol (5-0-5, 15 pts); 8. Osasuna (3-5-2, 14 pts); 9. Athletic Bilbao (3-4-3, 13 pts); 10. Atlético Madrid (3-4-3, 13 pts); 11. Real Betis (4-1-6; 13 pts); 12. Rayo Vallecano (3-3-4, 12 pts); 13. Villarreal (2-4-4, 10 pts); 14. Mallorca (2-4-5, 10 pts); 15. Real Zaragoza (2-3-5, 9 pts); 16. Real Sociedad (2-2-6, 8 pts); 17. Sporting Gijon (2-2-6, 8 pts); 18. Racing Santander (1-5-4, 8 pts); 19. Granada (2-2-6, 8 pts); 20. Getafe (1-4-5, 7 pts)
Cesar Diaz is a freelance soccer writer who writes for several online publications. 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.