Slow out of the blocks

Levante’s dismal start to the season continued last night, going down 3-1 away to newly promoted AZ in Holland. This result comes on the back of a 2-0 opening day defeat at home to Internacional, and a 3-0 loss in an all Spanish affair away to Celta Vigo.

Markus Henriksen opened the scoring for the Dutch side, scoring from a free kick in the opening minute after a Jean Beausejour foul.

On 19mins, Dame N’Doye scored the host’s second goal with a great strike into the top corner.

On 33 Levante had their first opportunity. Mate Simao slipped in Clinton N’Jie, but the young striker couldnt beat the keeper.

N’Jie had another chance right on the break. Souza creating the opening, but Benoit Costil in the AZ goal pulled off a teriffic stop.

Javi Guerra came on for the home side on the hour, and 10 minutes later Tyrone Mings, making his Levante debut, took the Spaniard down in the area. Guerra himself got back up and tucked away the resultant spot kick. If it wasn’t game over already, it certainly was after that.

Levante’s first goal of the season finally arrived on 75mins though. After missing a couple of chances in the first half, N’Jie played in Gareth Barry, and the experienced midfielder swept the ball into the bottom corner.

It wasnt enough for the travelling support, a section of which demonstrated outside the ground after the game. Parfitt however urged the supporters to stick with the side, and pointed back to last season as the perfect example. The club flirted with the relegation zone for the vast majority of the season, before eventually finding their stride and finishing 14th.

The lack of goals will be a worry however, and the fact that Ibrahima Balde and Jelle Vossen have both been moved on does leave the club a little short on cover, but for now N’Jie and Angel Romero are set to fight for the number 9 shirt.

On Thursday night it’s another Spanish derby, as unbeaten Malaga face Levante. Parfitt know’s his side are in for yet another stern test, and knows that the club need to pick up some points sooner rather than later.

In an effort to turn things around, the squad has been shaken up. Experienced defenders Sylvain Distin and Manuel Friedrich have joined, along with Mexican full back Israel Jiminez, and young midfielders Anthony Caceres and Bart Ramselaar.

The defenders should be challenging for a first team spot immidiately, with at least one expected to start on Thursday, and the two midfielders have been brought in for their potential, with the club particularly excited to welcome young Dutchman Ramselaar.

All of the incomings cost money though, and with the clubs limied funds, something has to give. As a result, young Czech Vaclav Kadlec will be heading to Spurs for an £8m fee.  

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