On a weekend when neighbours Valencia CF maintained their 100% start to the domestic campaign, Levante UD coach Juan Ignacio Martínez warned his players not to get carried away after inflicting a first Liga defeat of the season on Real Madrid CF.
Reduced to ten men following Sami Khedira's dismissal shortly before half-time, Madrid fell behind to an Arouna Koné strike 68 minutes in at the Ciutat de València. José Mourinho's side failed to respond and slipped to their first Liga loss since a 3-2 reverse against Real Zaragoza on 30 April.
"We've won three points but there is a long way to go yet in the league," said Martínez. "It's nice to be congratulated but I would like to be receiving plaudits next May. It was a difficult game and we tried to make it hard for them. They are a team of winners so we knew we would have to try to take full advantage of our counterattacks. We are going to enjoy this moment but without forgetting we have a game on Wednesday [at Rayo Vallecano]."
Madrid drew 0-0 in last season's corresponding fixture, and despite their latest setback – which left the Merengues trailing leaders Valencia and Real Betis Balompié by three points – Mourinho drew on the positives. "It's hard psychologically when you lose but if we manage to reduce the number of draws and swap them for this defeat we will be in a better situation," he said. "Tonight we dominated but weren't able to take our chances."
Valencia's Roberto Soldado is having no such trouble, scoring his 17th goal in his last 13 games to earn his side a 1-0 win away to Real Sporting de Gijón. That victory saw Unai Emery overtake Rafael Benítez's club record of 25 away league triumphs as coach. "We never gave up in our search for a second goal and we were pushing right until the end," said Emery. "We had enough opportunities to be leaving here with a better scoreline."
Betis coach Pepe Mel, meanwhile, was delighted with the manner in which his team continued their fine start to the campaign by beating Athletic Club 3-2 at the San Mamés. "What people saw tonight was that we are a team who can control a game quite well while not giving the ball away easily," he explained. "Our quick transitional play causes problems for teams."
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