First Division - Day 32

Levante 0 - Real Madrid 2

Levante: Mora; Pinillos, Alexis, Jesule, Harte; Juanma (Ettien 68'), Camacho, Rivera, Jofre; Manchev (Congo 58'), Sergio García (Nacho 82'). 4-4-2.
Madrid: Casillas; Michel Salgado, Samuel, Pavón, Roberto Carlos; Beckham, Borja (Celades 88'), Zidane; Raúl (Guti 73'); Owen (Figo 73'), Ronaldo. 4-3-1-2.

Team changes: Levante: No change / Madrid: Samuel, Borja for Iván Helguera, Gravesen.

0-1. 36. Ronaldo. Connected with mis-hit shot from Salgado to shoot past Mora.
0-2. 83. Ronaldo. Ran on to Figo pass and rounded Jesule and Mora to score.

Real Madrid threw down the gauntlet to leaders Barcelona with a 0-2 victory at Levante, temporarily reducing the gap to three points pending the Catalans' game later on Sunday evening. It was not an easy victory though, and Casillas once again made in important contribution to their win with a performance which started early on when he kept out a deflected shot from ex Madrid midfielder Rivera.

Luxemburgo had decided to put out a side similar to the one which beat Barcelona the week before, with Ronaldo, Raúl and Owen all in the starting line up and Figo on the bench. Helguera dropped out at the last minute though with gastric enteritis, and Borja replaced the injured Gravesen in the anchorman position.

Madrid's England pairing were in action midway through the first half, Owen having a couple of chances but getting himself booked for a deliberate hand ball, and an active Beckham seeing a dangerous cross cleared by the defence. It was Ronaldo though who put them in front after Salgado's mis-hit shot fell kindly to him inside the area, Mora standing no chance as the Brazilian striker whipped the ball past him.

Casillas had to be at his best for the rest of the first half though, making vital saves from Pinillos and Manchev. However Raúl poked a shot against the bar soon after the restart, and Owen had an effort cleared off the line a few minutes later. Casillas saved form Congo, and an Ian Harte free kick was cleared by the visiting defence as Bernd Schuster's side came looking for an equaliser. But Ronaldo wrapped things up near the end when he ran on to Figo's through ball to outsprint Jesule and drift past Mora to score. Madrid were back in business!