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Sevilla-Levante draw as fans protest

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By David Redshaw

Sunday 22 April 2012

Sevilla and Levante drew 1-1 at the Sánchez Pizjuán in a game that was halted immediately after the kick-off by an extraordinary protest from home fans.

Unhappy with the game having been put back half-an-hour to a ridiculously late 10.30pm start due to El Clasico, Sevilla fans launched hundreds of tennis balls onto the pitch behind one goal just five seconds after referee Carlos Velasco Carballo had signalled the start of the match. The balls were a clear allusion to a previous Sevilla game that had been changed to avoid clashing with a tennis tournament taking place in the Andalusian city at the time.

There was even the unfurling of a banner that read “Paren el partido, Mourinho esta hablando” - ‘stop the game, Mourinho is speaking’ - in reference to the Real Madrid boss, although the directive to delay the kick-off had come from the Spanish League (LFP) who considered the post match reaction to the Barca-Real clash ‘of general interest’.

When stewards had cleared the pitch and the action did finally get underway it was Sevilla that took the lead on 21 minutes when Alvaro Negredo got on the end of Fernando Navarro’s cross to fire past Gustavo Munua. However, Levante equalised against the run of play seven minutes later when on-loan Arouna Kone, playing against his parent club, struck an angled shot past Javi Varas after Jose Barkero had put him through.

After both sides wasted further chances the hosts had a golden opportunity to have taken the points just three minutes from time when substitute Jose Antonio Reyes was brought down in the area, but Negredo failed to beat Munua with the resultant spot-kick and honours ended even.

The point took Sevilla into a provisional sixth spot on 46 points with Levante one place above them, two points behind Malaga in the Champions League places.

The post-match Press conference began at 1.13am with Sevilla boss Michel greeting the assembled reporters with an ironic “buenas dias” (good morning).

“It has been a hard season for Sevilla and this match was cruel to us because we deserved to win. Kone scored with their first shot and then we missed a penalty but I can’t be unhappy with my players.” said Michel

Levante boss Juan Ignacio Martinez praised his team on earning a point at what is a notoriously difficult ground to go to and says his players are still living the dream.

“We worked well after conceding an early goal that we weren’t expecting, he explained. “But you have to realise we are living a very nice dream after beginning the season seeking top-flight safety. It was a valuable point before the sprint of the last four games.”

Sevilla 1-1 Levante

Scorers: Negredo 21 (SEV), Kone 28 (LEV)

Sevilla: Javi Varas; Cala (Coke 83), Fazio, Escude (Deivid 45), Fernando Navarro; Jesus Navas, Medel, Trochowski, Luna (Reyes 53); Manu del Moral, Negredo.

Levante: Munua; Javi Venta, Ballesteros, Cabral, Pedro Lopez; Xavi Torres (Farinos 77), Iborra; Valdo (El Zhar 77), Barkero, Botelho (Juanlu 87); Kone.

Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo

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