One would think that Atlético would be used to the early kick offs after starting at noon the past few weeks, but it appeared the team was still asleep when referee Iglesias Villaneva set the game in motion.
Within ten minutes we were trailing by two goals after great assists by Barkero and two uncontested headers.
The early strikes decided the game in Levante’s favour: 2-0.
Just 55 seconds had been played when Valdo perfectly headed the ball in off the post to give Levante a dream start.
In the 10th minute Arouna Koné headed in an excellent free kick by Barkero to make it 2-0 to the home side.
Atlético looked to do something back through Eduardo Salvio, but the Argentine’s volley from a corner was blocked.
After half an hour Valdo went on a dazzling run on the right wing and assisted Barkero, but the Basque couldn’t keep his shot down and missed the target.
Early in the second half Arda Turan slid a ball just wide after Munúa spilled a cross from the right side. It was one of few opportunities for Atleti who had only come close to the goalkeeper through set pieces.
A minute later we created our first chance from open play when Arda forced Munúa to a save with a shot from distance.
Radamel Falcao had started the game on the bench and was brought on in the second half as Simeone’s last resort to turn the game around. The striker, who is nursing an injury, twice received the ball from the wing, but on both occasions his angle was too difficult to head on target.
In the meantime Eduardo Salvio and Mario Suárez, among others, picked up bookings which rules them out for our upcoming derby with Real Madrid through suspension.
Shortly before the end Miranda received his second yellow card of the match and was sent off, also making him available for Wednesday’s clash with our city rivals.
In the final minute Munúa held on to his clean sheet by making a fantastic save to deny Falcao, who was on the end of a Diego free kick.
Line-up: Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godín, Filipe; Diego, Mario (“69 Fran Mérida), Gabi, Arda (“79 Pizzi); Adrián and Salvio (“66 Falcao).
Goals: 1-0 Valdo (“1); 2-0 Koné (“10)