Zidane on the Brink after Real slip-up at Levante

The pressure mounts on Zinedine Zidane after former Italy striker Giampaolo Pazzini scored a dramatic late equaliser as Levante held Real Madrid to a 2-2 draw on Saturday.

This leaves Los Blancos 18 points adrift of La Liga leaders Barcelona, who take on city rivals Espanyol on Sunday.

The Champions League is now Real’s only realistic chance of more silverware this season, although they’ll need significant improvement if they’re to challenge Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16, first-leg tie in Madrid on February 14.

Real shot into the lead at Levante as captain Sergio Ramos met a Toni Kroos corner with a downward header which home goalkeeper Oier fumbled into his net under pressure from Karim Benzema.

The hosts hit back in the 42nd minute as 21-year-old Ghanaian Boateng marked his fourth league start for the team with his first La Liga goal, pouncing in on the rebound after Keylor Navas saved Jose Luis Morales’ effort.

Isco came on for Gareth Bale midway through the second half and the Spain playmaker restored Real’s lead with his fifth goal of the season after a cutback from Benzema.

Levante missed a chance to draw level in the 85th minute, as substitute Roger headed wide with the goal gaping from only a couple of yards out.

But they still snatched a point late on, as veteran striker Pazzini scored less than 11 minutes after coming off the bench to pull Levante three points clear of the relegation zone.

Earlier, fifth-placed Villarreal had Daniele Bonera sent off in the first half in a 2-1 defeat by Real Betis, while Alaves pulled five points clear of the bottom three with a 2-1 victory over Celta Vigo.

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