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March 9, 2014
• Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
Referee: Ignacio Iglesias
• Attendance: 74172
Cristiano Ronaldo 11'
N. Karabelas 81' (own goal)
Full time at Santiago Bernabeu. A first half goal from Cristiano Ronaldo as well as a second half strike from Marcelo and a late own goal from Nikos see Real Madrid on their way to a 3-0 win over Levante. Carlo Ancelotti's men now go three points clear of Atletico and four points clear of Barcelona in the Spanish Primera Division. Los Blancos definitely the team to beat in Spain at the moment! I'm Martin Macdonald, thanks for joining us! See you next time!
90' + 1'
Some very worrying scenes for Carvajal at the moment as the former Leverkusen man goes down completely innocuously on the right wing clutching his knee. Let's hope that's not ligament damage.
Ronaldooooooo! Madrid hit the bar AGAIN! The Portuguese loses his marker at the back post and reverses a header back across goal that bounced off the underside of the woodwork!
Jese takes the ball for a run down the left wing and looks to skip into the box before going down under the challenge of Sissoko. The referee doesn't see anything wrong with it though, and Levante play on.
Five minutes remaining here as Madrid look to see out this match without incident. Jese and Isco and looking hungry in attack as they look to impress from the bench, but for the other players it looks to be job done.
Carlo Ancelotti makes his third and final change as Benzema is replaced by Jese Rodriguez, who earns some rapturous applause from the Santiago Bernabeu crowd. They love him here!
Own Goal Nikos Karabelas
GOOOOOOOAALLLLLLLL FOR REAL MADRID!! A HORROR MISTAKE FROM NIKOS!! Marcelo whips a cross to the back post and the Levante left-back fires the ball into his own net in an attempt to clear the ball! Three-nil!
Ronaldo goes on a bursting run down the right-hand side and takes on Juanfran and Nikos before somehow digging out a cross to the front post. Benzema looks to take it and and get a shot away but Levante manage to scramble clear.
Madrid are certainly in their comfort zone here. Levante have defended bravely at times and have limited Los Blancos to just the two goals so far, but there has been very little to root for in the attacking areas. Diego Lopez has had a quiet night in the Madrid goal.
15 minutes remaining here and Madrid will be wanting to grab another goal or two just to take this game completely beyond Levante. The Santiago Bernabeu crowd will want their team to end the match in style, too!
Sergio da Silva Pinto
It's another simultaneous change from Carlo Ancelotti and Joaquin Caparros as Modric and Sergio Pinto are both withdrawn for Isco and Nagore respectively.
BENZEMA HITS THE WOODWORK...AGAIN! The former Lyon man gets to the head of the queue before three other Madrid players to meet a cross and head at goal, but his attempt comes off the top of the bar! He's had no luck today!
That's extremely poor from Levante's recently introduced substitute, El Adoua. The Moroccan has the opportunity to slide a pass through for Barral but instead opts for a shot from 25 yards out, which trickles through for Diego Lopez to comfortably save.
Issam El Adoua
Both sides make their opening change of the match as Raphael Varane is replaced by Nacho for Real Madrid and Pallardo is replaced by Issam El Adoua for Levante.
You get the feeling that Levante will be there for the taking now. Vyntra has got in at centre half to fill the void left by Navarro and Pedro Lopez will fill in at right-back.
Levante two goals and one man down now! Not looking likely for a comeback at Santiago Bernabeu is it?!
Red Card David Navarro
DAVID NAVARRO IS SENT OFF FOR LEVANTE! The Levante defender comes in right through the back of Ronaldo with no attempt to claim the ball! Probably slightly harsh to be a red, but it was a bad challenge!
Yellow Card Pallardó
Pallardo is the latest player to go into the book as he unceremoniously and cynically trips up Carvajal as the Madrid man was driving down the right flank. A deserved yellow for the Levante midfielder.
Bale looks to latch on to a mistake at the back from Navarro and the ball breaks to Ronaldo. He spreads the ball just a bit too far on the right for Benzema, who does brilliantly to keep the ball in, but the touch just allows Juanfran to come in and make the tackle.
That surely must be a penalty for Real Madrid!! Bale gets to the byline and crosses to the back post, before being sliced down by Juanfran just on the line! The referee waves play on!
Yellow Card Loukas Vyntra
Yellow Card Ángel Di María
Brilliant save again from Navas! Benzema takes on Pedro Lopez before cutting inside and whipping a strike towards the top right corner, but the Levante keeper stretches out a strong hand to divert the shot away!
Pallardo robs Varane of possession in midfield and cleverly nutmegs a Madrid player before unleashing a strike at goal from 25 yards, but the attempt takes a deflection on it's way through, making it easy for Diego Lopez to collect.
Yellow Card Sergio Ramos
Vyntra and Sergio Ramos are currently down after a nasty clash of knees. It's doubly whammy for the Madrid captain, who comes out worst in the tackle and also receives a yellow card. He'll now miss the Malaga game next week with a suspension.
Sergio Pinto looks to latch on to a loose ball down the left wing and Diego Lopez comes out to clear, but his clearance cannons off the Levante man and goes dangerously back inside. Lucky for the Madrid keeper that Sergio Ramos is on hand to clean up.
A quick goal from Levante will change all of that though!
Well, a one-goal deficit was already looking pretty unlikely for Levante to overcome. At 2-0, the points look to be going to Madrid, who'll move clear of Atletico Madrid at the top of the table.
Assist C. Ronaldo
GOOOOOOOOOOOAALLLLLLLL FOR REAL MADRID! WHAT A STRIKE FROM MARCELO!! Ronaldo bursts inside from the left and hits the byline before reversing a pass inside for the Brazilian, who wonderfully whips a right-footed shot into the far corner! His weak foot as well! Two-nil!
Bale receives the ball on the right and typically tries to cut in on that left foot. He does so, and fires a peach of a strike towards goal, but Juanfran bravely puts his head in the way to divert the attempt away from goal.
We are back under way at Santiago Bernabeu! As things stand Real Madrid will go three points clear at the top of the table!
Half time in Santiago Bernabeu. Real Madrid lead Levante 1-0 at the break thanks to a solitary goal from Cristiano Ronaldo. The hosts haven't been at their best by any means, but look to be in control of proceedings as we haven't seen much attacking play from Joaquin Caparros' men. Definitely more goals in this, though!
45' + 1'
BENZEMA HITS THE POST! Marcelo floats a cross to the back post and his team-mate meets it with a bouncing header. The attempt comes off the woodwork but it looks like Navas may have made the save! Terrific work again from the keeper!
Real Madrid get the corner kick down at the left corner flag after Marcelo and Sergio Pinto are involved in a bit of a bust-up. It looks like the Levante man kicked out at the Brazilian not once but twice. Lucky to escape a booking for that one.
That's pretty shocking from Juanfran. The Levante veteran takes a set-piece on the halfway line and, with several team-mates waiting in the box, fires the ball over everyone and straight out of play.
Levante have the opportunity to get a decent delivery into the box through a corner kick. The set-piece comes in but any potential danger to Madrid is curbed when Sergio Ramos is fouled in the air by Vyntra.
Di Maria looks to cleverly flick the ball around the oncoming Vyntra, but the Levante defender doesn't fall for it and manages to claim possession. He passes inside to Sissoko and Levante try and move up the field.
Madrid aren't even playing out of third gear here. Ronaldo, Benzema, Bale; they've barely broke a sweat. If they turn up the heat, you get the feeling the hosts will overrun Levante. Just 1-0 up as it stands, though.
What a sensational pass from Xabi Alonso as he picks up the ball deep in midfield and flights a diagonal ball to the onrushing Carvajal. The right-back looks to turn the ball into the box with a first time volley but Juanfran is on hand to turn it away.
Carvajal gets into an advanced position down the right-hand side and looks to find Benzema at the back post with a whipped cross, but there was just too much on it and the Frenchman can't stretch out his leg to take the ball in.
Madrid have had about two-thirds possession in the opening 30 minutes here at Santiago Bernabeu. On the balance of the play, they may be slightly disappointed to be only 1-0 up, but they are coming up against an in-form Keylor Navas in between the sticks for Levante.
Some excellent link-up play between Sergio Ramos and Ronaldo on the edge of the box sees the Madrid captain beyond the Levante defence, but Navarro recovers well to take the ball off his toe.
Di Mariiiiaaaaa! Unlucky! The Argentine finds a pocket of space 30 yards out and tries his lucky with a long-range attempt, but the strike fizzes a yard or two over the bar.
Ooooohhh that's a horror challenge from Ivanschitz! The Levante man scraped his studs down the knee of Varane, who's just returned after being out with a knee injury! How on Earth did he escape a booking for that?!
On the rare occasions that Levante manage to string a few passes together in the final third, nothing seems to come of it as whoever has the ball is relentlessly hounded by two or three Madrid players.
Navas to the rescue again! Bale glides forward down the right flank and threads a pass between the defenders for Benzema who lashes a strike at goal, but the Levante keeper remains big to make a solid save!
Vyntra languishes in possession on the edge of his own box and gives the ball away to Ronaldo, but recovers well to slide the ball out from the feet of Marcelo after the Brazilian received it from his team-mate on the left.
Levante get their first real shot on target, and it's a decent if ambitious attempt from Ivanschitz. The Austrian meets a cross on the edge of the area and fires a right-footed volley towards goal, but it was always rising and Madrid get the goal kick.
Superb goalkeeping from Navas! Benzema turns sharply 20 yards from goal and drifts forward before sliding a neat pass through for Di Maria, who takes one touch before looking to pull the trigger, but once again the Levante keeper quick off the line to come out and smother the ball at the Argentine's feet.
Almost a lovely finish from Bale as he powers down the right wing before cutting in on his left foot. He looks to guide a curled strike into the bottom corner, but the attempt just goes a yard wide.
BENZEMAAAA! WHAT A MISS! The former Lyon man meets a cross at the edge of the six yard box, but sends a volley about 10 feet over the bar! Lucky for him that the linesman flagged as offside!
Levante look to respond immediately as David Barral attempts to latch on to a pass over the top of the defence, but Diego Lopez was on his toes to rush off his line and claim the ball.
Assist Ángel Di María
Goal C. Ronaldo
GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLL FOR REAL MADRID! THE HOSTS TAKE THE LEAD! As simple as you like! Di Maria whips a cross to back post and Ronaldo leaps like to meet the ball and power a header into the bottom corner! One-nil!
Madrid counterattack at pace through the middle after Benzema dispossesses Sissoko. Di Maria bursts forward and attempts to float a ball over the defence for Ronaldo, but Levante intercept and the move breaks down.
Ancelotti's men are playing with plenty of confidence on the ball here. Xabi Alonso has already began to assert his dominance on the middle of the park, and with Modric and Di Maria, making runs from deep, he's got plenty of options.
Ronaldooooo!! GREAT save from Navas! A cross is floated to the back post and the Madrid man meets the ball with a superb controlled volley, but his attempt is beat away by the Levante goalkeeper!
The tempo of Madrid's play has been excellent in these opening stages. The Levante defence has had the ball on the deck a few times, but they've been forced to go long every time due to the intense pressing of the hosts.
Marcelo collects the ball at left-back and fires a ball up the channel for Benzema, who turns and drives towards goal, only for the play to be brought back for an offside. The Frenchman was never off. Poor decision from the linesman.
Ohhh that could have gone anywhere from Juanfran! Carvajal manages to get to the byline and drill a cross into the box, but the Levante skipper uneasily glances a clearing header just by the post!
We are under way in Madrid!
Since their defeat to Atletico Madrid earlier in the season at home, Madrid have been fantastic at Santiago Bernabeu, and have notched up 15 consecutive wins.
Levante coach Joaquin Caparros has had to shuffle the pack slightly for the trip to the Spanish capital. Pape Diop, Victor Cassadeus and Simao Mate are all suspended, while Christian Lell (stomach) and Issam El Adoua (foot) miss out with injury.
Levante currently sit eighth in the Spanish Primera Division and are unbeaten in eight matches domestically.
The Spanish capital club have the opportunity to go three points clear of Atletico and four points clear of Barcelona in La Liga with a win tonight. With the firepower they have at their disposal, they go into the match at Santiago Bernabeu as massive favourites.
Madrid had to rely on two stoppage time goals to defeat Levante in the reverse fixture earlier in the season at Estadi Ciutat de Valencia. Alvaro Morata and Ronaldo both popped up in the later stages to break the hearts of the home crowd with a 3-2 win.
Los Blancos are unbeaten in 28 matches, and have been on a scintillating run recently, but they will certainly be aware of the threat posed by Levante.
So with the exception of Pepe, it looks like a full strength XI for Carlo Ancelotti's outfit today. Ronaldo, Bale, and Benzema all featuring in attack!
Levante (4-3-3): Keylor Navas; Vyntra, David Navarro, Juanfran, Nikos; Pallardo, Sissoko, Sergio; Ivanschitz, Pedro Lopez, Barral.
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Diego Lopez; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Xabi Alonso, Modric, Di Maria; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo.
I'm Martin Macdonald, and I'll be taking you through the action!
Good evening folks! Welcome to LIVE coverage of the Spanish Primera Division clash between Real Madrid and Levante from Santiago Bernabeu!
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