Levante keep up Champions League push

Madrid: A strong second half performance from unfancied Levante saw them maintain their push for a place in the Champions League with a 3-1 win over Granada.

At the other end of La Liga, Racing Santander were relegated following a 3-0 defeat by Real Sociedad yesterday.

Levante, the modest side from Valencia, who are more accustomed to fighting relegation battles, have shown that their promising start to the campaign was no fluke.

With just three games to play, they are joint-fourth, level on 52 points with big-spending Malaga who face Valencia on Sunday.

Arouna Kone had the first chance of the game for Levante shortly before half-time with a shot which was well saved by keeper Julio Cesar but after the break the Ivory Coast striker did make the breakthrough.

Granada grabbed an equaliser with their first moment of real danger as Odion Ighalo swept the ball home after 66 minutes.

Levante quickly restored their lead through Xavi Torres and then Valdo Lopes made sure of the win seven minutes from the end.

Antoine Griezmann hit a brace and Imanol Agirretxe got the other goal as Sociedad condemned Racing to second division football after a desperate run which has seen them fail to win since mid-January.

Above them Sporting Gijon are still showing plenty of fight with a 3-0 victory away to Espanyol, their third from four games, but Javier Clemente`s side still have a lot of work to do if they are to stay up.

Adrian Colunga, Oscar Trejo and Mate Bilic scored the second half goals for Sporting who are four points adrift of Villarreal, who drew 1-1 with an Osasuna side that could have moved into a European place with a win.

Villarreal have responded well to the arrival of coach Miguel Angel Lotina and saw their unbeaten run extended to four games with Bruno Soriano putting them ahead before the break before Raul Garcia equalised midway through the second half.

Elsewhere Mallorca came out on top 3-1 in the mid-table scrap with Getafe.

Real Madrid`s victory in El Clasico with Barcelona last weekend means that they now need just six points to win the league and can be crowned champions on Sunday if they beat Sevilla and Barca lose against Rayo Vallecano. (AFP)