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Levante beats Valencia 2-1 in Spanish league as turnaround continues

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BARCELONA, Spain — Levante beat visitors Valencia 2-1 in a city derby in the Spanish league on Sunday as it continued its turnaround under new coach Lucas Alcaraz.

Fourth-placed Valencia dropped points for the second straight round and slipped six points adrift of leader Real Madrid.

Valencia's Alvaro Negredo made his first start of the season in place of injured Spain striker Paco Alcacer. The former Manchester City player had the best chances in the first half.

Valencia, however, failed to convert and Levante outplayed its rivals after halftime.

Levante forward Victor Casadesus grabbed the lead in the 58th minute when he headed in a corner kick.

Substitute Dani Parejo worked a one-two passing combination with Alvaro Negredo to level in the 73rd.

But substitute Jose Morales put Levante back in front for good less than a minute later when he dribbled forward before unleashing a left-footed strike from the edge of the area to beat goalkeeper Diego Alves.

Levante extended its unbeaten streak to three games and rose three points clear of the relegation zone.

Also, Rayo Vallecano edged visitors Celta Vigo 1-0 to break a three-game losing streak.

Alberto Bueno headed in Gael Kakuta's lobbed pass for what proved to be the winner in the 20th. It was the forward's sixth goal of the season.

Rayo climbed to 11th place, while Celta was left in seventh after its first loss in six away games this season.

Later, Villarreal hosts Almeria and bottom side Cordoba is at Elche.

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