Levante pass Espanyol with win
Last Updated: 26/10/13 11:17pm
Nabil El Zhar: Found the net either side of half-time
Levante leapfrogged opponents Espanyol into seventh in the Primera Division table after recording a 3-0 victory at Ciutat de Valencia.
Nabil El Zhar scored in each half, either side of Papa Baba Diawara's first-half effort, as Joaquin Caparros' side made it three wins from the last four league games.
Christian Stuani came closest to breaking the deadlock for Espanyol, but their fourth defeat from their last five sees them slip down a place into eighth ahead of Sunday's fixtures.
The away side started well and Stuani got his head on the end of Simao Sabrosa's free-kick in the box after seven minutes but fired it just wide of the mark.
Levante responded three minutes later as David Navarro set up Baba Diawara with a cross just outside the box, but his header also amounted to nothing.
The home side then came close with two corners in quick succession.
The first from Papakouli Diop was cleared by Javi Lopez before El Zhar's powerful effort forced Espanyol defender Juan Fuentes into action, but he could not make the ball safe and goalkeeper Francisco Casilla just tipped it over the crossbar.
Stuani had another good chance to put the away side ahead however his close-range effort sailed over the bar and, at the other end of the pitch, Jordi Xumetra forced Casilla into a save minutes before Levante took the lead.
El Zhar was brought down by Victor Sanchez Mata in the area and was awarded a penalty which he struck hard and low into the middle of the goal to put his side ahead.
Levante immediately doubled their lead, El Zhar turning provider to pick out Baba Diawara from the left wing, who headed home from close range.
Javier Aguirre's visitors attempted to get back into the game before the break with efforts from Simao and Stuani but goalkeeper Keylor Navas worked hard to keep them out.
The home side began the second half well and got their third goal on the scoresheet five minutes in.
This time Baba Diawara set up El Zhar with a cross from the right and the 27-year-old Morocco international collected the ball just outside the box and fired it into the back of the net.
Espanyol were not for giving up and Navas was made to work again just after the hour mark as he parried away Jhon Cordoba's close-range effort, minutes after Hector Rodas had kept out a goal-bound corner from Luis Pizzi.
Despite dominating possession in the latter part of the match, which saw Pizzi's last-gasp chance for a consolation go over the bar, the away side failed to turn their efforts into goals and will be disappointed to come away with nothing.
Spanish Primera BBVA