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Levante 2-2 Real Madrid: Pazzini strike ensures Zidane’s struggle continues

Substitute striker Giampaolo Pazzini scored late to save a point for Levante who dealt the latest blow to Real Madrid’s disappointing league season in an entertaining draw at the Estadi Ciutat de Valencia.

Sergio Ramos headed the hosts in front but Emmanuel Boateng levelled before the break.

Isco looked to have secured the win after a late second half strike, but Pazzini – substituted on for Iván López Álvarez – stroked in to claim a positive point for his team.

Following convincing wins against Deportivo and then Valencia, Zidane’s side looked to have turned a corner approaching their all-important Champions League clash with Paris St Germain.

The away team made an excellent start, as centre-back Sergio Ramos jumped powerfully to nod in a corner after ten minutes.

Los Blancos continued to trouble the Levante backline, but full-back Marcelo wastefully fired wide after neat and precise build-up from the left.

Levante punished the visitor’s lack of clinical finishing and equalised shortly before the interval when striker Boateng pounced on José Luis Morales’s saved shot, after the winger was played through one-on-one with Real stopper Keylor Navas.

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In the second half, Real threatened the Levante goal with efforts from Cristiano Ronaldo and a glorious chance for Karim Benzema which the striker dragged wide of the post.

Ramos nearly headed in his second of the game, but this time his attempt was brilliant palmed away by Oier.

With ten minutes remaining, Isco created space in the box and fired home to give his team the advantage once again, after Benzema had teed up the midfielder.

Levante were not buried, and they nearly stole an equaliser, but striker Roger inexplicably headed wide after connecting with Morales’ floated cross.

But just before stoppage time, Italian forward Pazzini collected Jason’s pass to sweep a shot beyond Navas, who could not stop the strike despite getting a hand to the ball.

The loss means Real still trail third-placed Valencia in the table, while a point for Levante could be crucial in their bid to stay clear of the relegation zone.

Next for Real is a home clash against Real Sociedad. For Levante, they travel to the Mestalla to play derby rivals Valencia.

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