Levante 1 : 1 Atletico de Madrid - Honours even at the Ciutat de Valencia

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Posted Sunday, August 19, 2012 by PA

First-half goals from Nabil El Zhar and Arda Turan ensured the points were shared as Levante and Atletico Madrid kicked off their Primera Division campaign with a 1-1 draw at the Ciutat de Valencia.

The hosts struck first when El Zhar stroked home from the edge of the area after just five minutes but brought Atleti level 15 minutes later with a stunning strike from distance that gave Gustavo Munua no chance.

The visitors then went on to dominate possession but lacked a cutting edge and it was Levante who came closest to a winner when Vicente Iborra's long-range effort came back off the top of the bar.

Levante were last season's surprise package, finishing sixth - their highest placing in Spanish football's top league.

And they started this campaign in enterprising fashion.

Jose Barkero's corner was cleared by Miranda but only as far as El Zhar - and the former Liverpool winger smashed the ball home to register his first goal for Los Granotes.

Atleti though responded well and after a sustained period of possession Arda made space for himself 25 yards from goal and arrowed the ball high into net.

Thereafter Atletico maintained possession for the majority of the half but it was Levante who came closest to scoring again as Iborra's piledriver from fully 30 yards rattled the top of the crossbar.

The pattern remained the same after the break but the lack of chances meant eyes were fixed on referee Clos Gomez as he decided that a yellow card was sufficient as Levante skipper Sergio Ballesteros elbowed Clemente Rodriguez and then turned down Atleti appeals for a penalty when Radamel Falcao went down under Ballesteros' challenge.

Diego Simeone attempted to change things by handing 17-year-old Oliver Torres his Atleti debut but the young playmaker failed to have a major impact as the game fizzled out in the final 10 minutes.

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