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Levante defeats Zaragoza; climb into fifth in Spanish league

Associated Press

12/16/2012 1:09:59 PM

BARCELONA, Spain -- Levante rose to fifth place in the Spanish league on Sunday after winning 1-0 at Real Zaragoza thanks to young forward Ruben Garcia's first-half goal.

The victory kept Levante unbeaten in three rounds and avenged a loss to Zaragoza in the Copa del Rey just three days earlier.

After Levante's Jose Barkero hit the post, Garcia beat his marker to Miguel "Michel" Alfonso's throughball and poked it past goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez to give the visitors the lead for good in the 19th minute.

"Michel slipped the ball through and I saw I could reach it. It was amazing to see the ball go in," said the 19-year-old Garcia, a member of Levante's B-team. "We have won three points that put us in an enviable position."

Levante is one point behind fourth-place Malaga. Real Betis can reclaim fifth place with a win over Celta Vigo on Monday.

Also, Rayo Vallecano beat Valencia 1-0 for its first ever victory at Mestalla stadium after 13 winless visits.

Forward Alejandro "Chori" Dominguez drove a spot kick into the corner of the net for the 83rd-minute winner after Valencia midfielder Tino Costa had pulled down Roberto Trashorras from behind inside the box.

It was Valencia's second straight home loss and the first defeat in four games under new coach Ernesto Valverde.

League leader Barcelona hosts second-place Atletico Madrid later, while third-place Real Madrid plays Espanyol at home. Also on Monday, Valladolid visits last-place Deportivo La Coruna.

On Saturday, it was: Sevilla 0, Malaga 2; Getafe 1, Osasuna 1; Mallorca 0, Athletic Bilbao 1; and Granada 0, Real Sociedad 0.