November 22, 2012
Levante loving life after win
Levante ensured their first adventure into European football will continue into the new year as they comfortably saw off Helsingborg 3-1 to progress through to the last-32 of the Europa League.
Angel got the visitors off to the perfect start with a neat finish on eight minutes and there was no way back for the Swedish champions once Pape Diop had bulleted in Pedro Rios' cross at the back post 10 minutes before the break.
The hosts continued to probe after the break but Levante never looked in trouble of throwing away their lead and further extended it 10 minutes from time when Vicente Iborra volleyed in from Jose Barkero's cut-back before Thomas Sorum reduced the deficit for the hosts in the final minute.
However, following Hannover's 0-0 draw with FC Twente in the night's other game, Levante still need to beat the Germans at home in their final game if they are to finish top of the group.
Levante coach Juan Ignacio Martinez continued his policy of rotating certain players for European games as he made eight changes to the side that started Sunday's 2-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna, but it was two of those coming in who combined to give the Spaniards the lead.
Ruben Garcia picked out a lovely ball through the middle that released Angel clear on goal and he made no mistake with a low right-footed shot beyond Par Hansson.
Helsingborg then went on to have the lion's share of possession in the first period but struggled to create much with it and were very lucky not to be 2-0 down on the half-hour as Rios was played in by Diop and after his initial effort came back off the post, Ruben somehow fired over with the goal at his mercy.
Diop spared his team-mate's blushes five minutes later though as he rose highest inside the area to perfectly place his header into the top right-hand corner from Rios' pinpoint cross.
Keylor Navas made a brave stop early in the second half to prevent May Mahlangu giving the home side some hope and they were eventually killed off by a third Levante goal 10 minutes from the end.
Good play between Rios and Barkero down the left saw the latter pick out Iborra perfectly and he fired home into the far corner.
Despite that, the Swedish side continued to attack and after Navas had made his best save of the evening to deny David Accam they did get a consolation goal as Sorum showed great touch to control inside the area before shooting into the roof of the net.
|30 Pär Hansson||13 Keylor Navas|
|24 Erlend Hanstveit||18 Sergio Ballesteros|
|6 May Mahlangu||22 Christian Lell|
|16 Joseph Baffo||15 Nikos Karabelas|
|28 Jere Uronen||5 Hector Rodas|
|7 Mattias Lindstrom||23 Pape Diop|
|21 Christoffer Andersson||16 Pedro Ríos|
|8 Ardian Gashi||21 Michel|
|20 Alejandro Bedoya||29 Rubén García|
|10 Alvaro Marcio Dos Santos||9 Rodriguez Luis Diaz Angel|
|18 Nikola Djurdjic||10 Vicente Iborra de la Fuente|
|1 Daniel Andersson||Gustavo Munua 1|
|14 Erik Edman||Juanfran 12|
|15 Emil Krafth||Pedro López 19|
|5 Daniel Nordmark||Jose Barkero 7|
|29 Jesper Bjorkman||Juanlu 20|
|25 David Accam||Miguel Pallardó 6|
|11 Thomas Sorum||Nabil El Zhar 8|
|Emil Krafth for Christoffer Andersson (25)||Jose Barkero for Rubén García (73)|
|David Accam for Mattias Lindstrom (68)||Miguel Pallardó for Vicente Iborra de la Fuente (83)|
|Thomas Sorum for Alvaro Marcio Dos Santos (77)||Pedro López for Michel (86)|
|Ardian Gashi (27)||Rubén García (17)|
|Pape Diop (75)|
|Sergio Ballesteros (90)|
|· Squads: Helsingborg | Levante|