Levante beat Real Sociedad 3-2 to stay top of Spain's La Liga
Midfielder Ruben Suarez scored deep in to injury time to secure victory
The team, from Valencia, has never finished higher than 10th
In Serie A Udinese missed the chance to go top as AC Milan scored four
Spanish underdogs Levante kept up their remarkable early-season form by beating Real Sociedad 3-2, their seventh successive victory, to stay top of La Liga.
Levante, a team that has played second fiddle to city rivals Valencia during their 102 year history and who have never finished higher than 10th, has remarkably fended off the attentions of Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona with a quarter of the season gone.
But it took an injury time free kick by Ruben Suarez to make sure of all three points after Real Sociedad’s Inigo Martínez had scored a late equalizer.
Sociedad had taken an early lead through Daniel Estrada before Nano Rivas and Valdo Lopes put Levante in front. But despite a late equalizer, Levante came back with Suarez’s stunning free kick, which saw them leapfrog Barcelona into top spot.
Real Madrid did their best to keep up with Levante after blowing Villarreal away in the first half an hour at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Villarreal, perennial UEFA Champions League qualifiers in recent years, have endured a torrid start to the season, made worse when Karim Benzema scored an early goal. Kaka was then set up by Argentine international Angel Di Maria, who capped a fine half by scoring the third. The match petered out in the second half, finishing 3-0 and sending Real Madrid second above Barcelona.
In Italy’s Serie A Udinese missed the chance of returning to the top of the league after losing away to Napoli 2-0. Two first half strikes from Ezequiel Lavezzi and Christian Maggio ended Udinese’s unbeaten start to the season.
But the result of the night saw AC Milan score four goals in successive games after beating Parma 4-1.
Milan found themselves 3-0 down against Lecce last week before mounting a thrilling comeback. A second half Kevin Prince Boetang hat-trick secured an unlikely 4-3 victory and it was another three-goal haul that guaranteed all the points against Parma.
This time Antonio Nocerino was the hero. His first half double put Milan in control before Zlatan Ibrahimovic put the victory beyond Parma, who scored a late consolation before Nocerino completed his hat-trick in the 90th minute.
“Right now the important thing is to return to the top and we can do that,” coach Massimiliano Allegri told AFP.
“This is an important result to give us consistency. The table is starting to get stretched and we must stay amongst the leaders.”