Valencia (Spain), Dec 4 (IANS) Levante snapped a three-match winless streak with a 3-0 victory over Athletic Club, who find themselves in the drop zone more than one-third of the way through the 2018-2019 La Liga season.
The positive result here on Monday lifts the hosts to 21 points from 14 matches and they hold the sixth spot in La Liga. Athletic, with 11 points, are 18th, reports Efe.
Athletic started the match with the urgency appropriate to a team scrambling to avoid relegation and were better than the home side in the first half.
Levante, coming off a loss and two draws in their three previous games, sputtered on the attack and visiting goalkeeper Iago Herrerin easily handled shots from Roger Marti and Jose Luis Morales.
Athletic's best chance came in the 35th minute, when a long pass found Aritz Aduriz in the area, but the forward struggled to bring the ball under control, giving Levante keeper Oier Olazabal the chance to come out and cut down the shooting angle.
The teams looked set to go to the dressing rooms knotted 0-0 until Chema scored for Levante in first-half stoppage time, exploiting confusion in the Athletic defense to score off a corner.
Minutes after the re-start, Athletic's Cristian Ganea was stretchered off the field and the Basque club's efforts on the attack continued to fall short as Levante improved.
The home team doubled their lead in the 59th minute as Jose Campaña knocked in the rebound after Herrerin made an initial stop against Morales.
Forced to take risks, Athletic left themselves vulnerable on the counter and gave up a third goal with 20 minutes left in regulation, conceding to Marti.
Things grew worse for Athletic in the 75th minute with the sending off of Peru Nolaskoain on a straight red card for a pointless foul against Morales.