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Simeone: No excuses for Levante loss

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By David Redshaw

Sunday 08 April 2012

Atlético Madrid boss Diego Simeone said he had ‘no excuses’ after Los Colchoneros lost 2-0 to Levante at the Ciutat de Valencia in Sunday’s early game.

“No excuses, this is the reality” said Simeone, after two goals in the opening 10 minutes from Valdo and Arouna Koné proved enough to hand Levante victory and see Juan Ignacio Martínez’s side keep alive their hopes of Champions League football next season.

“We must do better, particularly away from home, but they took their chances from the beginning. Although we played better in the second half it wasn’t enough,” added the Argentine.

The home side had got off to a dream start after just 58 seconds when Valdo nodded home via the post from José Barkero’s cross, and it was Barkero who was again the provider nine minutes later when his right-wing free-kick was headed powerfully past Thibaut Courtois by Ivory Coast international Koné. Barkero was once again involved on the half hour mark when he blazed over after Valdo had set him up, with Los Granotas fully deserving to go into the break with a two-goal advantage.

After the interval the visitors showed a bit more purpose and Gustavo Munúa in the Levante goal did well to save Arda Turan’s shot from the edge of the box and an effort from Eduardo Salvio. Top scorer Radamel Falcao - left on the bench as a precaution with one eye on Wednesday’s derby with Real Madrid - was introduced after 65 minutes and the Colombian was twice denied by Munúa as Atleti struggled to find a way through.

It got even worse for Simeone’s men seven minutes from time when defender Miranda was dismissed for a second bookable offence following a foul on Pedro Botelho, meaning the Brazilian will now miss the derby through suspension alongside Salvio (who was booked in the second half) and Mario Suárez.

Rival boss Martínez believed his side were well worth their victory and even thought they could have added to the scoreline as his men leapfrogged Málaga to go fourth in the table.

“Atlético are a team that defends well and can cause you problems at any time,” he admitted. “Yet they were forced to take the initiative after we scored and we made several more chances on the counter-attack. What is certain is that we could even have increased our lead.”

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