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Barral scores two to rally Levante over Elche

The Canadian Press

12/13/2013 5:09:22 PM

VALENCIA, Spain -- David Barral came off the bench to score two headers and give Levante a 2-1 win at home over Elche on Friday, ending its four-game losing streak in the Spanish league.

Levante, which had lost five straight including a Copa del Rey game last weekend, fell behind at its Ciutat de Valencia stadium when Ionut Sapanura opened the scoring for Elche in the 26th minute.

But Barral replaced injured striker Baba Diawara in the 38th and three minutes later levelled by expertly nodding in Nabil El Zhar's cross.

Levante pressed the visitors into their area in the second half, and Elche goalkeeper Antonio "Tono" Rodriguez had to push Nikolas Karabelas' shot onto his crossbar in the 66th.

But Tono was helpless to stop Barral from thumping in the 80th-minute winner when Pedro Rios picked him out charging unmarked through the box with a well-placed cross.

It was Levante's first victory since Oct. 26. Both sides remained in the middle of the standings.

"This is a huge boost for us considering the negative streak we were on," Barral said.

The former Sporting Gijon player added that with 20 points, Levante was halfway to its goal of finishing the season with 40, the minimum it believes necessary to avoid relegation.

Barcelona hosts Villarreal on Saturday while third-place Real Madrid visits Osasuna. Also, Granada visits Rayo Vallecano and Malaga welcomes Getafe.

Atletico Madrid, co-leader with Barcelona, hosts Valencia on Sunday. Elsewhere, it's: Almeria vs. Espanyol, Real Sociedad vs. Real Betis, and Sevilla vs. Athletic Bilbao.

Valladolid hosts Celta Vigo on Monday.