September 23, 2012
Martins marks debut with winner
Obafemi Martins struck a dramatic late winner on his debut as Levante came from behind to defeat Real Sociedad 2-1 in the Primera Division.
Former Inter Milan and Newcastle striker Martins only formalised his move to Levante on Friday after being allowed to leave Russian outfit Rubin Kazan, and repaid his new employers' faith with a goal just 41 minutes after entering the action as a half-time substitute.
David Zurutuza had earlier handed visiting Sociedad a first-half lead that they held until the 70th minute when Jose Barkero levelled from the penalty spot.
And with the clock ticking down Martins pounced inside the area to lift Levante to their second win of the season and a place inside the top 10.
Levante were impressive in their Europa League victory over Helsingborg in midweek and again looked bright today, just five minutes on the clock when Vicente Iborra took aim with a volley that flew just over.
Four minutes later the hosts were hugely unlucky not to be in front when Barkero unleashed an effort from inside the area that cannoned back of the post.
Sociedad threatened in the 18th minute when Carlos Vela curled an effort over from distance, and five minutes later the visitors were in front when Zurutuza picked up the ball on the edge of the area and powered a low drive into the bottom-right corner.
Juanlu's curling effort forced a good save from Claudio Bravo as Levante went in search of an equaliser, but in truth the hosts looked short of ideas up front and it was no surprise to see coach Juan Ignacio Martinez introduce Martins for Iborra at the break.
But it was Sociedad who threatened first in the second period, with Vela's well-struck shot from the edge of the area in the 57th minute drawing a superb save from Gustavo Munua.
Levante's leveller arrived in the 70th minute after Inigo Martinez fouled Nabil El Zhar in the area, with Barkero confidently stroking home the subsequent spot-kick.
Munua was again on hand to keep out Sociedad in the 80th minute as he saved from Antoine Griezmann's long-range drive, and six minutes later Levante's fightback was complete as Martins announced his arrival by receiving the ball in the area and drilling home a low shot beyond Bravo.