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29.09.2007 12:05

Struggling at the bottom

Jesús Carrillo

Barça’s rival tonight, Levante, go into their sixth game of the season with no wins to date, the worst goal difference of any of the teams, and are currently bottom of the table.

It looks like FC Barcelona’s best chance of finally getting an away win this season, after goalless draws in Santander and Pamplona. But Levante are not a side to be taken lightly.

Most goal against and least goals for

The side from Valencia have the poorest stats in the first division. They have scored just two goals in three games and have conceded ten. Abel Resino’s side has lost all three of their away games, to Mallorca (3-0), Racing (1-0) and Osasuna (4-1). Only three of the players that started at the Reyno de Navarra are expected to play against Barça. At home, Levante drew 0-0 with newly promoted Múrcia and lost 1-2 against Bilbao.

Many changes

The Levante administrative council, presided by Julio Romero, brought in plenty of fresh faces this season. These included Georgian Arveladze, formerly of Ajax Amsterdam and Glasgow Celtic, who is the side’s main attacking reference, although due to injury he has yet to make his league debut. Much is also expected of Savio Bortolini, Emilio Viqueira and David Castedo.

Second season under Abel Resino

qm3d4110.jpgBrought in midway through last season to replace the sacked Juan Ramón López Caro, Abel Resino is coaching Levante for the second time. Until starting his new job, he was manager at second division Ciudad de Múrcia, a side he almost guided to promotion. He has also been assistant manager of Atlético Madrid under Radomir Antic and César Ferrando, where he was also director of football for three years. As a footballer, Abel Resino was a keeper, and holds the record for going 1,272 minutes without letting a goal in when playing for Atlético Madrid.

Good memories

The municipal owned Ciutat de València always brings back fine memories, for it was here that Frank Rijkaard celebrated his first league victory in 2005. Barça drew 1-1 with Levante to win the title with three games to spare. Rivera put the home side ahead, but Eto’o levelled affairs, which was enough to secure the title. The stadium, as it will be tonight, was full of red and blue, for Levante, of course, wear the same colours as Barcelona.
Struggling at the bottom
The Frogs
Levante are known as the “granotas” meaning frogs, a name that dates back to the 1920s. Their ground used to be alongside the River Túria. Given the dampness of the area, the pitch was renowned for the presence of frogs both in training and for matches. As a result, the amphibian has always been connected with the club and appears in much of its imagery.

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