Levante hold on to goalless draw
Levante 0-0 Real Mallorca
La Liga, Jornada #17
Saturday 7th January 2012, 5pm kick off GMT
A much improved performance from Real Mallorca saw them unlucky not to take all three points away at high-flying Valencia outfit Levante. The home goalkeeper Gustavo Munúa was in inspired form to deny Los Bermellones the victory.
Pedro Bigas returned to the starting lineup for Real Mallorca with Pablo Cáceres and Kevin García both out injured. Marvin Ogunjimi hasn’t yet recovered to make his debut for Los Bermellones. Meanwhile, Aki Ienaga and Sergio Tejera were both left out on technical decisions.
Mallorca started the game well with intricate passes. Tomás Pina linked up with Víctor Casadesús well early on to scythe open the Levante defence and allow Emilio Nsue in behind. Munúa managed to beat the U21 international to the ball, however.
They also had good claims for a penalty denied when Michael Pereira was brought down in the area by Juanfran.
Into the second half, Michael Pereira danced through the home defence as he started to show glimpses of the same form which impressed in the first half of last season. He laid the ball back from Emilio Nsue on the edge of the area who could only steer his shot over the bar.
Late on, Fernando Tissone won the ball in midfield and surged forward before playing the ball through to Víctor Casadesús on the edge of the area. His shot was again well saved by Munúa though.
Levante started to build pressure towards the end and lucked as if they could steal it. Koné thought he had when he got an outstretched foot to a wayward shot to turn it into the Mallorca goal. He was ruled offside though.
Veteran Pep Martí was close to winning it for Mallorca when his long range free-kick was turned just wide by Munúa.
Despite the disappointment of not getting all three points, comfort will again be sought from the ever-improving performances of the Caparrós first XI. ‘This is the right attitude to achieve our goals. After the Copa match, the team were enraged. We wanted to prove something, we just lacked luck,’ Caparrós said after the game.
When asked whether it was a positive or negative result, Caparrós said, ‘it is what it is. As coaches, we just have to take conclusions.’
The next game for a full strength Caparrós side is a tougher one. Real Madrid are in Palma next weekend. Before that, Mallorca face Real Sociedad in the second leg of the Copa del Rey Round of 16 tie.
Levante (4-2-3-1): Munúa; López , Ballesteros, del Horno, Juanfran; Torres (Iborra 84′), Farinós ; El Zhar (Higón 77′), Rubén Suárez (Aranda 62′), Barakero; Koné.
Substitutes: Navas (gk); Cabral; Pallardó, Iborra, Higón; Jordá, Aranda.
Real Mallorca (4-2-3-1): Aouate; Cendrós , Chico, Ramis, Bigas; Pina (Martí 58′), Tissone; Pereira , Castro (Alfaro 45′), Nsue; Víctor (Nunes 89′).
Substitutes: Calatayud (gk); Nunes, Zuiverloon, Martí Crespí; Martí, Alfaro; Hemed.
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco (ESP)
Stadium: Estadi Ciutat de Vàlencia, Valencia