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Real Wins 'War' Against Levante in Driving Rain
ESPN Soccernet, November 12th, 2012 1:35PM

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TAGS:  real madrid, spain


Following Barcelona’s 4-2 win in Mallorca, Real Madrid faced a must-win game at Levante on Sunday night, or else the reigning Spanish champion would find itself 11 points adrift of the Catalans. Add to that torrential rain, a waterlogged field, the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo, and a missed penalty late in the second half, and you probably would have bet against Los Blancos getting the result they needed, yet Real managed to grind out a 2-1 win in the driving rain, thanks to an 84th minute winner from young substitute Alvaro Morata.

"I had not played a game like that in such conditions,” Real coach Jose Mourinho said afterward. “You must adapt. We switched to 4-4-2 as it was not a game to play soccer. When they reacted we had to show our character. Without Cristiano it was more difficult, but [Angel] Di Maria and [Jose] Callejon worked so hard. The crowd did not see a soccer game, but an honest war."

Not everyone was satisfied, however: Levante midfielder Juanlu thought the referee favored Madrid throughout. "The referee was a disgrace," Juanlu said. "The penalty was not a penalty, and the last free kick [from which Morata scored] was not a free-kick.” He added: "La Liga was over if they did not win, so that could not happen.”

Ronaldo, who received an elbow close his eyebrow in the first half from Levante’s David Navarro, left the game at halftime after receiving five stitches. 

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