Real Madrid CF moved within two points of the Liga summit courtesy of a 2-0 home triumph against Levante UD, after Valencia CF's hopes of strengthening their grip on third spot were held up by Real Sporting de Gijón.
Levante might have feared a repeat of the 8-0 Copa del Rey defeat they suffered at the same stadium in December when Karim Benzema – who scored a hat-trick in that match – finished off Ángel Di María's mazy dribble and cross. As it was, there was only one further goal, turned in from close range by Ricardo Carvalho, but it nonetheless rubberstamped a victory which increases the pressure on leaders FC Barcelona ahead of their meeting with Athletic Club on Sunday.
Third-placed Valencia drew 0-0 at home with Sporting – the team who last week ended Barcelona's 16-match winning streak – while Club Atlético de Madrid are up to seventh. The Rojiblancos ended a five-match losing streak in all competitions with a narrow win against luckless Real Zaragoza, who twice hit the woodwork in the last five minutes after Sergio Agüero (66) had put the visitors ahead.
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