Rios brace helps down Twente
Levante took a giant stride towards making the Europa League knockout stages as a Michel penalty and two goals from Pedro Rios guided them victory over FC Twente in Group L.
Last Updated: 25/10/12 9:43pm
Levante took a giant stride towards making the Europa League knockout stages as a Michel penalty and two goals from Pedro Rios guided them victory over FC Twente.
The Eredivisie leaders enjoyed the better of the first period and were controversially denied the opening goal when Dusan Tadic's strike was ruled out because Luc Castaignos was in an offside position and adjudged to have been active.
Steven McLaren's men were even less pleased with the officials just before the hour mark when a penalty was harshly awarded for Douglas handling Nikos Karabelas' cross and Michel calmly slotted away the spot-kick.
And, with Twente chasing an equaliser, they were caught out on the break as Rios was twice left with the easiest of finishes to roll the ball home and tighten the Spanish side's grip on second place in Group L.
Victory moved the Spanish side on to six points, one point behind group leaders Hannover but now four clear of Twente in third.
Levante have now won six of their seven home games so far this season, but, after Theofanis Gekas had prodded an excellent early opportunity wide, they did not have it all their own way in the opening 45 minutes.
Nacer Chadli came within inches of giving the visitors the lead after 10 minutes as he smashed a shot off the bar before Tadic's goal probably should have been allowed to stand as Castaignos did not appear to hamper goalkeeper Keylor Navas' forlorn attempt to stop the Serbian's effort.
Navas had to be alert five minutes into the second half to keep his side on level terms as Twente broke rapidly down the right, but Roberto Rosales' fierce effort was turned round the post by the Costa Rican international.
Levante were then gifted the chance to take the lead when Karabelas' cross came off Douglas' hand and referee Vladislav Bezborodov gave a penalty.
Michel stepped up and tucked the penalty low beyond Nikolaj Mihajlov for his fifth goal of the campaign.
And, having got that break, the hosts provided the best move of the match to seal the points 12 minutes from time as Pape Diop broke down the right and his cross to the far post was expertly cushioned across goal by Michel for Rios to tap home from two yards.
The former Getafe midfielder was then presented with an almost carbon copy finish 10 minutes later as this time Mihajlov could only parry Ruben Garcia's shot into Rios' path and again he rolled the ball into an unguarded net.