VALENCIA (Reuters) – Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale came off the bench and coolly converted a controversial penalty to secure a 2-1 win at Levante in La Liga on Sunday as the European champions rode their luck to stay within nine points of leaders Barcelona. Real came under heavy pressure early on but Karim Benzema gave them the lead towards the end of the first half from the spot after a penalty was correctly awarded for handball by Enis Bardhi following a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review. Levante, who pulled off a shock 2-1 win over Real at the Santiago Bernabeu earlier this season, deservedly drew level on the hour mark with a sliding finish from Roger Marti, who had struck the woodwork twice before the interval. Real, who lost 2-1 at home to Girona in their last outing, struggled to impose themselves and Brazilian teenager Vinicius Jr was again their stand-out performer as more experienced players like Toni Kroos and Luka Modric gave sluggish displays. Real were then awarded a hotly-contested penalty following another VAR review when Casemiro went down theatrically after light contact from Levante substitute Cheick Doukoure. Wales forward Bale, who had only replaced Benzema minutes earlier, deceived… Read full this story
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