Defender's stunning volley helps Levante win in La Liga
By TALES AZZONI
Sep. 21, 2017
MADRID (AP) — A spectacular volley by defender Jose Manuel "Chema" Rodriguez led Levante over Real Sociedad 3-0 in the Spanish league on Thursday.
Chema struck an incredible scissor-kick left-footed shot from just outside the area. Goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli could only watch as it crossed in front of him.
Chema leaned his body slightly and timed his shot perfectly after a right-side cross by Jose Luis Morales just before halftime at Ciutat de Valencia Stadium.
Levante forward Alex Alegria immediately raised his hands to his head in awe after the ball hit the net.
"I saw the ball coming and just tried to make sure that it hit the goal, and fortunately it went in," Chema said. "It was important because it helped us go into halftime with the advantage."
Morales added Levante's second goal by converting a 75th-minute penalty kick, and Enis Bardhi sealed the victory for the hosts with a well-struck free kick in the 89th.
Real Sociedad played the final minutes with 10 men after Diego Llorente was sent off with a second yellow card for the foul that led to Bardhi's free kick goal.
It was the second loss in a row for Real Sociedad, which started with three straight victories. It was coming off a 3-1 defeat against Real Madrid at home.
"They took advantage of their chances and then relied on counterattacks," Real Sociedad forward Carlos Vela said. "We have to start adding points if we want to make it to the European competitions again."
Levante, in its return to the topflight after a year in the second division, won again after three consecutive draws. The Valencia club remains unbeaten after five matches.
Both teams have six points less than leader Barcelona.
Villarreal's three-game winning run was halted at home by Espanyol 0-0.
Villarreal was coming off three victories in which it scored three goals in each match.
Espanyol was looking for its second straight win after starting with one draw and two losses.
Angel Rodriguez scored an 86th-minute equalizer as Getafe held Celta Vigo to 1-1 that left both teams near the bottom of the standings.
Maxi Gomez put the hosts ahead midway through the first half at Balaidos Stadium.
Celta is 17th in the 20-team standings, while Getafe is 14th.
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