Levante move back up
Last Updated: 16/12/12 1:47pm
Ruben Garcia: Scored Levante's winner
Levante moved back up into fifth in the Primera Division with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Real Zaragoza courtesy of Ruben Garcia's first-half strike.
The visitors had fired an early warning shot when Jose Barkero smashed a shot off the post, but they eventually went in front on 19 minutes when Garcia pounced on a loose ball bouncing around the Zaragoza area to slot home only his second senior goal.
Zaragoza pushed hard for an equaliser after the break but they could not find a way through Levante's resilient defence as efforts from Paco Montanes and Edu Oriol flew just off target, whilst a late penalty claim for a handball by Juanfran was waived away by Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva.
Levante have made a habit of winning in the early Sunday game over the past few weeks, and they again adjusted quicker to the early start as Barkero very nearly put them ahead after just 12 minutes with a trademark long-range effort that came crashing back off the post.
The hosts then had a good appeal for a penalty turned away as David Navarro appeared to catch Cristian Sapanaru with his elbow.
And to add insult to the Romanian's injury they were soon behind as the ball ricocheted off multiple Zaragoza players inside their own area and broke perfectly for Ruben to drill it low past Roberto.
Obafemi Martins was then denied a second by an excellent stop from the Zaragoza keeper, but it was a different story after the break as Manolo Jimenez's side imposed themselves with far greater purpose.
Montanes' cross-shot whistled just past Helder Postiga and the far post 12 minutes after the restart, while at the other end substitute Nabil El-Zhar should have wrapped up the points as he chose to go alone rather than squaring for Martins and pulled his shot just wide.
Zaragoza continued to probe for an equaliser but Oriol's shot that curled just over and another Montanes effort, which Gustavo Munua nearly spilled straight to Postiga, were the closest they came, despite the visitors being reduced to 10-men in stoppage time as Christian Lell picked up a needless second yellow card for time wasting.
Spanish Primera BBVA