Levante

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Giuseppe Rossi joins Spanish club Levante on loan

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VALENCIA, Spain (AP) Italian striker Giuseppe Rossi has joined struggling Spanish club Levante on loan until the end of the season.

Levante says its agreement with Italian club Fiorentina for the 28-year-old Rossi will be finalized after he passes a medical exam.

[ MORE: Manchester United denies meeting with Pep Guardiola ]

Before several serious injuries in recent years, Rossi had flourished while playing six seasons for Levante’s regional rival Villarreal. Injuries then limited him to 41 appearances since joining Fiorentina from Villarreal in 2013.

Rossi was born in the United States but has played for Italy’s national team.

Levante is in last place and three points from safety after 20 matches.

La Liga wrap: Moyes orchestrates Barca upset; Top tightens as Real falls

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Real Sociedad manager David Moyes has his first signature win as manager of the Spanish club, and it’s come at the expense of a title challenger.

Atletico Madrid accepted a festive gift from Real Madrid, while Barcelona stamped “return to sender” on the end of Real’s 22-match unbeaten streak.

[ MORE: La Liga Saturday wrap ]

It’s all a part of the La Liga weekend wrap.

Valencia 2-1 Real Madrid  – RECAP

A first-half penalty conversion from Cristiano Ronaldo seemed to set the tone for another winning day at the office for Los Galacticos, but it was a false flame.

Valencia more or less controlled the goings-on, with Nicolas Otamendi and Antonio Barraga sending Real to its first loss since a Sept. 13 defeat against Atletico Madrid.

source: Getty ImagesReal Sociedad 1-0 Barcelona

It wasn’t comfortable by any stretch of the imagination, but Real Sociedad manager David Moyes has his biggest win as a La Liga boss.

The hosts went in front on a mistake from the visitors, as a Jordi Alba own goal in the second minute but Barca behind an early eight ball.

And as former Sociedad goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was left to rue the mistake, his replacement starred in denying Barca its equalizer. Twenty-two year-old Argentine keeper Geronimo Rulli had a strong game between the sticks for the Txuriurdin.

Dani Alves and Lionel Messi came off the bench for the Blaugrana, but couldn’t find the finishing touch. Luis Suarez attempted to draw a late penalty, but Rulli got a hand on the ball before catching Suarez’s trailing foot.

Now the Scot turns his attention to Wednesday’s Copa del Ray Round of 16 match at Villarreal.

Atletico Madrid 3-1 Levante

A pair of goals from Antoine Griezmann and an insurance tally from Diego Godin lifted the hosts to all three points, as Atleti is back within shouting distance of their cross-city rivals.

Elsewhere

Deportivo La Coruna 1-0 Athletic Bilbao — Ivan Cavaleiro’s 24th minute goal holds up.
Malaga 1-2 Almeria — Israeli forward Tomer Hemed’s brace leads visitors to three points.
Getafe 1-2 Rayo Vallecano — Raul Baena’s 64th minute goal completes comeback.
Espanyol 1-2 Eibar — A late tally from the hosts’ Felipe Caicedo did not inspire an equalizer.
Elche 2-2 Villarreal — Four first-half goals, nothing in second.
Sevilla 1-0 Celta Vigo — Nicolas Pareja scored the only goal of the match.
Cordoba vs. Granada — 245pm ET Monday

Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Real Madrid 16 13 0 3 56 15 41 6-0-1 7-0-2 39
Barcelona 17 12 2 3 41 8 33 7-0-1 5-2-2 38
Atlético Madrid 17 12 2 3 34 15 19 7-1-1 5-1-2 38
Valencia 17 10 4 3 31 14 17 7-1-1 3-3-2 34
Sevilla 16 10 3 3 26 17 9 6-3-0 4-0-3 33
Villarreal 17 9 4 4 29 16 13 5-0-3 4-4-1 31
Málaga 17 9 3 5 21 17 4 5-2-2 4-1-3 30
Eibar 17 6 5 6 21 23 -2 2-3-3 4-2-3 23
Celta Vigo 17 5 5 7 17 19 -2 3-2-3 2-3-4 20
Espanyol 17 5 5 7 21 26 -5 4-3-2 1-2-5 20
Rayo Vallecano 17 6 2 9 19 32 -13 2-1-5 4-1-4 20
Athletic 17 5 4 8 14 21 -7 3-2-3 2-2-5 19
Real Sociedad 17 4 6 7 18 22 -4 4-2-3 0-4-4 18
Getafe 17 4 5 8 13 22 -9 2-3-4 2-2-4 17
Almería 17 4 4 9 15 25 -10 0-3-5 4-1-4 16
Deportivo 17 4 4 9 14 27 -13 3-2-4 1-2-5 16
Levante 17 3 6 8 13 33 -20 2-2-4 1-4-4 15
Granada 16 2 7 7 10 26 -16 1-4-3 1-3-4 13
Córdoba 16 1 8 7 11 27 -16 0-5-3 1-3-4 11
Elche 17 2 5 10 15 34 -19 1-3-5 1-2-5 11

 

Spanish report: Manchester United’s Herrera implicated in 2011 La Liga match fix

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Marca report raises loads of questions regarding a match between Real Zaragoza and Levante on the final day of the 2011 season, and one of those queries involves a current Manchester United player.

Ander Herrera, the high-profile Red Devils transfer from Athletic Bilbao last season, was 22 at the time and a member of Zaragoza, which entered the final weekend in the drop zone, while Levante was 12th yet by no means safe in a tight battle for La Liga safety.

[ UEFA: Champions League Tuesday preview ]

The claims are that Zaragoza players were given money to pass along to Levante players to throw the match, and Herrera is being dragged into the mix as someone who was paid (but returned the money). Zaragoza rolled in the match.

Some punishments for match-fixing in Spain include jail time, so this is theoretically significant.

From 101greatgoals:

Zaragoza went into the final day in danger of relegation and it is alleged that 12 Levante players were each paid €120,000 to throw the game by their Real Zaragoza counterparts.

Twelve Zaragoza player are alleged to have received €120,000 in their account, which they were to pass on individually to the Levante opposition.

It is suggested in Marca today that Herrera is now under investigation for receiving funds from ex-Real Zaragoza president Agapito Iglesias but not declaring it to the Anti-Corruption unit, despite returning the cash.

Ander Herrera started for Real Zaargoza on May 21, 2011 against Levante and the current Manchester United midfielder played 72 minutes of the match.

And if Herrera was involved in any sort of fix other than “bonus money” to win the game, it’s obviously not a good development. Atletico Madrid captain Gabi admitted to receiving money while then on-loan to Zaragoza.

The game chart says the Aragonian side was dominant in the match. Check this in-game screengrab from Eurosport, specifically the first few lines:

source:

 

Yep, that’s two goals ruled out for offsides before Zaragoza scored one that counted (in the opposite direction of the alleged fix). Without looking at the video, it’s impossible to know whether the players were legit offsides, and there’s no way for officials to fix a free kick goal — once it’s awarded — is there?

It’s not a new story, but Herrera’s name being involved is a development and makes it an interesting story to follow. Still it’s hard to conclusively say anything.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘impossible’ form has astounded Real Madrid boss Ancelotti

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Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo consistently numbers among the best players in the game, and usually contends alongside Lionel Messi for the very top footballer in the world.

His recent form at his club has confirmed the notion of a otherworldly Ronaldo, as the Portuguese megastar has dominated in the goalscoring category. A brace in a Real’s 5-0 win over Levante increased his goal tally to 10 in the past four La Liga games.

Calling the Sporting CP youth product’s form “impossible”, Los Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti was extremely supportive and certainly pleased with the performance of his go-to player.

“What Ronaldo does is impossible,” Ancelotti said at a press conference, according to Goal.com. “He has to continue with his condition and we will help to keep it that way.”

Meanwhile, Ancelotti harped on the team’s mental and physical condition for a cause of their triumphs, with Real winning seven-straight matches following a disappointing loss at the hands of Atletico Madrid on Sep.13.

“We’re on a good run but we have to remember that behind the goals is sacrifice, hard work and concentration. There are no goals without sacrifice and concentration. The best understand that. We’ve come here in good physical and mental condition.”

“The players have shown they are a very competitive squad. Physically they’re all good and they’re motivated.”

Ronaldo has unsurprisingly been a large contributor to his team’s victorious ways, and even though Ancelotti’s crew sits four points behind Barcelona in the league table, Madrid’s competitiveness has nearly matched that of their dynamic counterparts as of late.

Barcelona stays undefeated with 5-0 drubbing of Levante

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FC Barcelona never ceases to amaze spectators, and so far, with a team like Manchester United faltering despite making substantial acquisitions this offseason, Barca has come out of the gate cooking with gas.

Luis Enrique’s side has won all four of its La Liga contests, as well as the first Champions League match of the year.

The latest victory materialized versus Levante, where it was Lionel Messi who proved his stardom once again. He has been involved in more goals (from an assist-goal perspective) than any other player in La Liga this year. He currently has four goals and six assists.

Against the Frogs, Messi had several bright moments, counting a 77th minute goal and two assists, the first one a spectacular pass to set up Neymar, who was carried off the field with an ankle injury. The Argentine spearheaded Sandro Ramirez’s goal with the assist in the 34th minute, but also missed an open penalty shot.

Ivan Rakitic and Pedro, besides Messi, Neymar and Ramirez, propelled the Catalans to the victory, and in classic Barcelona style, Levante was able to muster only 26 percent of possession. Loukas Vyntra was penalized with a red card right before the half due to a foul on Messi, so Barca enjoy a man advantage for a good portion of the game. Nine shots on target compared to their opposition’s recording of two shots on frame additionally signified the caliber of football Barcelona brings to the pitch.