In-form Levante cruise past Betis
Levante maintained their unlikely push towards a UEFA Champions League place with a comfortable 3-1 win over Real Betis at the Estadio Ciudad de Valencia on Monday.
Three goals in a 17-minute period around half-time was enough to ensure a win that moves the unfancied club back up to fourth.
Jose Barkero's 34th-minute free-kick and Xavi Torres' header soon after gave them a lead that was trimmed by Jorge Molina just before half-time.
But striker Arouna Kone scored soon after the break as the hosts' counter-attacking style again proved successful.
Juan Ignacio Martinez's side had dropped out of the Champions League places before the win, which was their second on the spin after an eight-game winless run.
Abdelkader Ghezzal was on the end of the first chance of the game but he directed his fifth-minute header wide. The on-loan Algerian then fizzed a free-kick over soon after before Ruben Castro drew the first save out of Levante goalkeeper Gustavo Munua.
Levante opened the scoring on 34 minutes after Ghezzal was fouled by Nacho. Barkero stepped up to take the 25-yard free-kick and picked his spot perfectly in the bottom-right corner.
It was then 2-0 after 42 minutes when Torres nodded in from the centre of the area after Juanfran's delivery.
But the hosts were unable to carry their two-goal buffer into the break as Betis hit back two minutes later, Molina's low drive beating Munua.
The setback was hardly felt by Levante, though, as they restored their two-goal cushion five minutes after the restart.
Ghezzal was again the architect as he teed up Kone, himself on loan from Sevilla, to score his ninth of the league campaign.
Ghezzal maintained the home side's pressure and saw a lobbed shot go just over. Betis tried in vain to find a way back into the game but Munua did enough to keep out shots from Jonathan Pereira and Roque Santa Cruz late on.