Ivanschitz strikes late
Last Updated: 31/08/13 1:07am
Pedro Rios and Anaitz Arbilla tangle.
Andreas Ivanschitz snatched all three points for Levante by scoring with the last kick of an enthralling 2-1 victory at Rayo Vallecano.
The Austrian finished off a counter-attack in the 94th minute of play at the Estadio de Vallecas to deal a crushing blow to the hosts, who had fought their way back into the game despite playing with 10 men for the final half an hour after Lass Bangoura was sent off.
Ruben Garcia had given Levante the lead against the run of play in the first half, but Argentinian striker Joaquin Larrivey headed in the equaliser after 79 minutes to open his account for Rayo.
Paco Jemez's side went out all guns blazing in search of a late winner, but were dealt a sucker punch by substitute Ivanschitz right at the death.
Iago Falque was handed a start just days after completing his loan move from Tottenham, but his debut lasted just five minutes, calling to be substituted after pulling a muscle.
Rayo, who had suffered a 5-0 defeat at Atletico Madrid in their last game, began the game brightly and had several chances to break the deadlock.
Alejandro Galvez drilled a free-kick against the bar after 15 minutes, while Alberto Bueno later missed two opportunities to score.
It took 26 minutes for the visitors to launch their first attack but when they did finally reach the Rayo area, they scored.
Garcia attacked down the right wing, cut inside and skipped his way past two Rayo defenders on the edge of the area to drive his shot into the bottom corner at the near post.
Ruben Martinez, making his first start of the season, should have done better with the effort, which went in off his face.
Rayo took their time to make their mark on the second half, until Alberto Bueno nearly caught Levante goalkeeper Keylor Navas by surprise, shooting from the edge of the area after winning the ball back, but the goalkeeper was able to get down low and scramble the ball away for a corner.
Lass then struck a blow to his side's chances of his side getting back into the game with a moment of madness. The Guinean winger won a free-kick on the right hand side when he was pushed to the floor by Jordi Xumetra, but as he was getting up he kicked out at his opponent, striking him just below the face, and giving the referee little choice but to show him a red card.
Rayo's attacking threat appeared to have gone, and Levante searched for the killer blow. David Barral had a goal-bound shot blocked by Galvez, and then Pedro Rios shot over the bar when he had just Martinez to beat.
The visitors were then made to pay for their wastefulness. Roberto Trashorras swung in a cross from the right hand side and Larrivey rose to head the ball into the back of the net.
Rather than play to preserve the point, Rayo's 10 men pushed on for the winner.
Trashorras tried his luck from the edge of the area, but Navas was well placed to punch the shot wide. Saul Niguez then headed over the bar from the resulting corner, and later David Navarro had to react quick to clear a loose ball after Navas failed to hold onto a deep cross. The goalkeeper was called into action in injury time too, acrobatically punching clear a shot from Nacho.
Rayo kept on pushing for the elusive goal deep into stoppage time but surrendered the ball with most of their players committed, allowing Xumetra to race towards goal and cut the ball back for Ivanschitz to strike the killer blow.
Spanish Primera BBVA