Dignity and torment: Levante surrenders to the inevitable at the Bernabéu | La Liga

aDrian Cordero-Vega finished it again too soon and not too soon. She said 89.59 when the referee blew but it was almost over from the start, not just last night. Levante Delayed by a goal after 12:42 at the Bernabéu. they were underAlso, they were no longer able to resist the inevitable fate they had fought against. “We’ve been given up a few times but we keep getting up again,” said Alessio Lischi, their third coach this season and the only one to win the match. Now they just wanted it to be over, and they had nothing left. “The players have suffered the untold,” their boss said when it finally happened, confirming the relegation long after he knew.

Six days ago, Alessio said he “almost had a heart attack” when Gonzalo Millero’s last-minute penalty gave Levante a lifeline in their 2-1 win over Real Sociedad. Two weeks ago, captain Jose Luis Morales had a meltdown when he missed one of his goals that would have equalized Sevilla, but both sides drew with Valencia and thrashed Granada 4-1. They also beat Villarreal 2-0. In six games since the beginning of April, they have won three games and lost two games and those were 3-2 against Sevilla and against Barcelona, ​​through Luc de Jong’s goal in the 92nd minute.

All this means that they arrived at the Bernabéu knowing that if they can win real madrid They may still be alive. After all, their next match would be against Alaves, the team right above them, and their last match was against Rayo Vallecano, and they had nothing left to play for. They won twice in three years at the Bernabéu and Real Madrid were really champions. They will hand over a guard of honor, which may soften them. Even Madrid may spin. Even a draw would give Levante little chance, allowing him to fight another day. No, it wasn’t likely, but it was something to cling to – a burnt nail, as the term inspired by the Inquisition came up.

“We knew what Cadiz was [the team they had to catch] Has been accomplished [losing 3-0 at Real Sociedad] And we knew that if we could win here, we could come close, but that wasn’t the case. “Real Madrid flipped over us after the first goal,” Sergio Postigo said afterwards. Ferland Mendy ran freely to score after 12 minutes. “It does a lot of damage to us; you start thinking about things you don’t want to think about… then you give up,” Morales admitted. If that wasn’t bad enough, Karim Benzema scored the second goal six minutes later. This target “killed us,” Lischi said. It’s done, they’re already dead, but Madrid hasn’t stopped. Rodrygo scored the third goal in the 33rd minute, and Vinicius Junior scored the fourth goal before the end of the first half. Three times Real Madrid hit the post as well.

In the northeast corner, about 400 Levante fans continued to sing. At one point, they even chanted “Yes, we can,” but they knew they couldn’t. It was difficult to watch it: a team of players went, but they had to stay there, taking hits, and were hardly able to protect themselves. Goalkeeper Dani Cardenas, seen from close up, had a particularly difficult hour. The ball in his net, is Sit and stare into space, broken. He saved many of them – but he was still a picture of helplessness, kicking upright, reeling standing alone, spasms of anger and frustration. It was as if he was desperately trying to scream everything, flick it off his body, but he wouldn’t let go and couldn’t leave here. In the first half, despite being the furthest, he was the first to go down the tunnel, just wanting to get out and fast.

They all felt the same, this turned into suffering, an act of penance. He would have finished at 12.42, but Real Madrid kept coming, eventually shooting nearly 30 shots. For Levante, it was more than 77 minutes to endure, watching their slow and inevitable relegation to the second division, as they have all season. For Vinicius, it’s time to have fun. Asked if he wanted to go out and rest in the second half, the Brazilian said no: he had a hat-trick to get, which he did. Benzema deceived Cardenas to ascend one of them. The AS headline declared “Madrid dances at Levante’s grave”. “It’s a sad day for Levante. The best way to respect an opponent is to do your best,” Carlos Ancelotti said.

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti patrols the touchline against Levante.
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti patrols the touchline against Levante. Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images

This was painful, and more and more of them followed suit. The score was 6-0 and everyone had seen enough. Judging, a profession not usually known for its sympathy, being early on, is an act of mercy. Five years later, it’s a good time primary, Levante was sluggish and sluggish, two weeks ago. On the bench, Morales hid in the shade with a T-shirt on his face, sobbing. Francisco Son was crying. Robin Fieso came to comfort his colleagues, and a tear of his own appeared on his cheek. “All I can say is sorry,” said the captain when he finally managed to get some words out. “It is very difficult. We were not good enough.”

Perhaps the most successful words were the simplest of all. Presumably, a reporter miscalculated the league table – Levante could in fact still match Cadiz for points, but they lost the record head-to-head – and asked Lisci how he would have motivated his players for the final, near-impossible push. The coach paused for a moment, hesitating, as if not sure what to say, how to spread the news, and then answered calmly: “We’re disappointed, Eugenio.”

There was dignity in the way Lisci responded; Dignity also in the way he led his team and, in emergency situations, took on a young coach in his first job trying to fix a problem not of his own making. This is “cruel, but what it is,” Postigo said, “we weren’t worthy of that split.” “The culmination of mistakes,” president Kuiko Catalan called it, putting his position in the hands of the club’s owning establishment. Financially, they are facing a shortfall of €10m, signings have had almost no impact, the sporting director has been sacked and they have been through three coaches.

The first of them, Paco Lopez, he is Levante: The former player and coach of Team B took over in 2018 and won eight out of 11 saves, then kept them completely comfortable primary for four years. But they only had four points in eight games, a total of 16 wins-free runs, and he was fired. Last night, the Catalan admitted that he did not know whether it was a mistake or not. At that time, there was a feeling that something profound had broken, and things were not getting better. Under Javier Pereira, who is largely unknown and has arrived from China to take his first job in Spain, things have not improved: they have collected three points from seven matches.

When Lisci, who was promoted from the B team and the youngest coach in the first division, led Levante to Victory over Mallorca In January, it was their first win in 273 days. 27 matches were the longest without a win in Spain’s history. The season was 20 weeks later, all these points are now unrecoverable. “In the first half of the season, we didn’t compete,” Lischi said. Under him, Levante amassed 22 points from 21 games: nearly enough extrapolation over an entire season but not half a single point. Levante was always playing catch-up and was never able to survive but not really within reach. “We’re to blame: we’re the ones who went 27 years without a win, and the ones who responded too late,” Morales said.

Levante coach Alessio Lesci.
Levante coach Alessio Lesci. Photo: Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Asked if he could explain the relegation, Postigo replied: “Yes, what we did last season [when Levante didn’t win any of their last eight games] It was contagious. We went weeks without winning and that affected us. We didn’t have the maturity to his heart, that stone was too big. It’s hard to win so many matches in a row primary. We’re at the bottom and we weren’t even close to fighting until these last weeks. The team responded, but too late. We did a good second half but it’s not enough.”

They were not relegated to the First Division at the Bernabéu; Perhaps the surprise is that they are still so resilient, not how quickly and completely how quickly they collapse in front of the best team out there. “This aspect has gone on for a very long time with incredible mental fatigue,” Lischi said. “You’ve been playing life or death all this time, with all that tension, and second goal overpowering everyone else.”

Levante will be missed. It was fun. This is the team that beat Atletico away and drew 2-2 at home, drew 3-3 with Madrid, lost 3-2 against Barcelona and Seville, 4-3 against Valencia and Espanyol, 4-2 against Betis and 5. 3 to Seville; Last year he lost 4-2 to Valencia, drew 3-3 with Barcelona, ​​beat Betis 4-3 and defeated the defending champion twice. This time, when it came to the last chance, they couldn’t. And so it ends, which is almost what happened from the beginning. There are only two games left; It was finally released, maybe now they can just play, and appreciate what they’ve had during these five years. “Let’s not waste a single minute left primary “Who knows if we’ll ever walk this earth again,” Morales said.