The best efforts of Nigerian duo Oghenekaro Etebo and Imoh Ezekiel for UD Las Palmas were not enough to avoid defeat to Levante and sink deeper into relegation and a place in Segunda next season
Las Palmas fell narrowly to Levante 2-1 at Valencia’s Estadio Ciudad de on Sunday with Both Nigerians on for 90 minutes
Etebo returned to the team and starting line up after his recent injury which had sidelined him and the team noticed his presence in the middle, providing greater physical strength and controlling the game from the centre. He was undoubtedly the best player in yellow
But the most pleasant surprise of the morning was the inclusion of Nigerian striker Imoh Ezekiel. The Nigerian attacker put up an excellent performance that invites to question why he has not had more prominence since his arrival.
UD Las Palmas showed a lot of confidence in the early stages, with plenty of possession against their rivals. In the first move of the match (min. 5), Ezekiel ran through in a one on one with the home goalkeeper Oier, only to see his effort rebound off him to safety.
Both sides showed signs of nerves. A draw was sufficient for Levante, and they were less adventurous in their play. Las Palmas lacked the pace and conviction required to win this vital match and keep their hopes of first division survival alive.
Levante however took the lead from a quick break along with a defensive error by the yellows as Coke shot past Chichizola in the 35th minute to make it 1 -0
David García fired home the equalizer in the 50th minute, following a corner and several rebounds. The game was back to square one, with both teams looking shaky in defence and attempting to get forward.
The best move of the match for Las Palmas, as they began to take control of proceedings, saw Calleri shoot high over the bar (min. 65) when he was looking at a gaping goal.
Nigerian Ezekiel, in his best match for the away team, held his head in his hands after his fine shot went inches wide of the post (min. 72).
Levante responded with a header by Roger that was saved by the well placed Chichizola. The Argentine ‘keeper turned a cross-shot by Roger around the post for a corner (min. 82).
With five minutes left on the clock, Las Palmas found themselves with an extra man, following the sending off of Coke, for two bookable offences.
Then at the death Campaña curled a well placed shot into the corner to make the scores 2-1.
With this result Las Palmas are now ten points from safety and have a negative goal average.