The pressure was off for both sides as Levante made their first trip to Estadio Municipal de Butarque to face Leganes, receiving the traditional gift of a basket of cucumbers.
Torrential rain and thunderstorms led to many fans vacating their seats early on but the atmosphere didn’t dampen, despite a lack of quality in the first half producing few chances for either the dominant Leganes side or Levante.
It was Jose Luis Morales who opened the scoring, bursting through and firing his effort beyond Nereo Champagne before a bunch of Leganes defenders could slide in to nick the ball away from him.
Things went from bad to worse rapidly and only three minutes later Joseba Zaldua clumsily pulled Morales down on the edge of the box and as the last man was shown a straight red card. Levante’s free-kick specialist Enis Bardhi didn’t need asking twice and his low corner over the ducking Jose Campana caught Champagne out and his weak palm only helped the ball into the back of the net.
Coke added a third, making the evening even worse for second choice ‘keeper Champagne, as he ran into the box and volleyed a cutback beyond the shotstopper.
History was also made in the closing stages as Fahad Al Muwallad became La Liga’s first Saudi Arabian player, being the only winter arrival from the nation to record any gametime as he replaced Enis Bardhi in the 80th minute.
Leganes: Nereo Champagne; Joseba Zaldua, Unai Bustinza, Dimitrios Siovas, Diego Rico; Gerard Gumbau, Ruben Perez (Darko Brasanac, 56), Nabil El Zhar (Martin Mantovani, 83), Javi Eraso, Nordin Amrabat (Omar, 64); Claudio Beauvue.
Levante: Oier; Coke, Sergio Postigo, Chema, Antonio Luna; Jose Luis Morales (Roger Marti, 71), Jose Campana, Jefferson Lerma, Enis Bardhi (Fahad Al Muwallad, 80); Emmanuel Boateng, Jason (Ruben Rochina, 69).