May 22, 2013
Real stroll past Levante to close on Barcelona
Real Madrid rested players and still eased to a 2-0 win over Levante at the Bernabeu to close to within two points of La Liga leaders Barcelona.
Karim Benzema and Ricardo Carvalho scored first-half goals to put the pressure on Barça, who host Athletic Bilbao on Sunday after suffering a league draw and a Champions League defeat over the past week.
The champions have 62 points and Real are on 60, while third-placed Valencia slipped further behind on 48 after they were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Sporting Gijón earlier in the day.
Angel Di María dribbled between three defenders to set up Benzema for the opener in the sixth minute and Carvalho steered in Cristiano Ronaldo's low free-kick just before the break.
The result meant Real coach Jose Mourinho has now gone nine years since he last suffered a defeat in a home league match, when his Porto side lost to visiting Beira Mar on Feb. 23, 2002.
That unbeaten run from Mourinho's time with Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real extended to 148 matches, and includes a 100 percent 12 wins from 12 since he moved to the Bernabeu.
At Mestalla, Sporting, who had ended Barca's 16-match winning streak with a 1-1 draw last weekend, put in another disciplined display to deny Valencia.
Unai Emery's side, perhaps feeling the effects of a midweek Champions League 1-1 draw at home to Schalke 04, failed to put much pressure on Sporting's goal until the final minutes.
A fierce drive from substitute Jonas was straight at the keeper at the end, sealing a frustrating night for the home side, who had earlier had striker Aritz Aduriz carried off with an ankle injury.