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Pazzini’s late goal keeps pressure on Zidane as Real Madrid are held by Levante

Sergio Ramos had headed Los Blancos into an early lead.

Giampaolo Pazzini
Giampaolo Pazzini

Veteran Italian forward Giampaolo Pazzini came off the bench to net a dramatic late equaliser as relegation-battlers Levante held Real Madrid to a 2-2 draw.

Fit-again captain Sergio Ramos headed the visitors into an early lead, but Emmanuel Boateng levelled just before half-time.

Levante keeper Olazabal Oier pulled off a brilliant save to deny Ramos a second before substitute Isco eventually made it 2-1 on 81 minutes.

Pazzini, though, had the final say when he slotted past Keylor Navas with just a minute left.

The draw moves Real back up to fourth place ahead of Villarreal, but well adrift of leaders Barcelona, while Levante are three points clear of the dropzone.

Ramos had been struggling with a calf injury, along with Cristiano Ronaldo, but was back in the side at the Ciutat de Valencia.

Real Madrid were dangerous on the early counter attacks.

Marcelo barged his way through to the penalty area, his wild shot took a big deflection and flew behind for a corner on 11 minutes.

The delivery from Toni Kroos was clipped towards the penalty spot, where Ramos got up to nod the ball down, which bounced up and past Oier, who looked to have been put off as Karim Benzema slid in.

Ronaldo – who scored twice against both Deportivo La Coruna and Valencia – had the chance to swiftly double Real’s lead when picked out by the hard-working Benzema, who had won the ball back on the left touchline.

However, the Portugal forward could only lash an angled shot high into the stands.

Casemiro saw a long-range effort float over the bar with Oier backtracking, before Kroos shot was spilled by the Levante goalkeeper, who blocked Ronaldo’s follow-up.

Levante, though, were level three minutes before half-time.

Jose Morales was played behind the high Madrid line and raced clear ahead of Ramos. Navas made a smart save, but the ball dropped out to Boateng, who promptly rolled it back into the bottom right corner for a first LaLiga goal.

Los Blancos regrouped at half-time and almost went ahead again on 55 minutes.

Luka Modric found Ronaldo in the Levante penalty area and his fierce, goal-bound shot was blocked by Cheick Doukoure

Levante, though, broke quickly from the resulting corner down the right through Morales, who charged into the Madrid box before the loose ball dropped for Jefferson Lerma and Navas had to again make another smart save.

Oier saved from Isco before Benzema’s shot was deflected behind.

Ramos met a corner with a flying header, but Oier pulled off a brilliant save low down to his left.

Madrid finally got themselves back in front with just nine minutes left.

Benzema won the ball on the goalline and cut back a pass to Isco, who lashed it into the back of the net.

Levante substitute Marti Roger failed to connect with a free header at the far post, before Pazzini – on loan from Hellas Verona – burst between two defenders to beat Navas, who could not get enough on the ball, which rolled into far corner.

Press Association

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