Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema's goals secured victory for Real Madrid at Levante but they needed a fine display from Thiago Courtois to ensure they held on for three points.
The Brazilian striker was given an age to control a corner that came to him at the edge of the penalty area, allowing him to turn onto his right foot and curl into the top corner.
Although Real controlled most of the first half, Levante came closest to getting a second goal when Nikola Vukcevic headed against the bar.
Benzema should have done better when Luka Modric’s interception put him one-on-one from the edge of the box just after half-time but he shot against the post.
In the final half-hour it was all Levante and Courtois had to be at his sharpest to deny a number of efforts, particularly those from Enis Bardhi and Carlos Clerc.
But Benzema made amends for his earlier miss when he added a second goal on the break in stoppage time to secure the victory, as Levante threw everyone forward.
The win puts Real top of the table with three wins from four games.
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Talking point: Modric nowhere near the end
At 35 years of age, you’d think we would have to cherish each moment we see Luka Modric on the field.
After all, the midfield la Liga superstar most similar in terms of accomplishments and style, Andres Iniesta, left Barcelona shortly after his 34th birthday,
He may lack a little in endurance now, but with the young, athletic side Zidane has built – without previous superstars - this is hidden pretty well.
What he has not lost, is the zip to beat a man when on the ball or latching onto through-balls and of course his perfect delivery to team-mates in attacking positions.
Playing as far forward as he ever has, he should ensure they do not suffer from the absence of Eden Hazard, so long as the strikers start to put away their chances.
His contract expires in the summer, when he will also play in the European Championships with Croatia, but you have the feeling he can go on a fair bit longer than that at this level if he chooses to.
Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema celebrates his goal during the Spanish League football match between Levante UD and Real Madrid CF at La Ceramica stadium in Vila-real on October 4, 2020. (
Image credit: Getty Images
Man of the Match: Thibaut Courtois
You need a good goalkeeper to win the league to make up for days when the team is not at their best and the Belgian number one certainly showed his worth today.
Levante were camped in the Real half for much of the game but barring Vukcevic's header against the bar, Courtois always seemed in control.
He used every inch of his frame to deny Bardhi when a deflection off Casemiro, seemed to have wrong-footed him, only for his big toe to push the effort away.
Similarly, his lightning quick reactions to come off his line denied Carlos Clerc the opportunity to push the ball past him after Bardhi's superb through-ball.
Levante: Aitor 6, Miramon 6, Vezo 6, Postigo 6, Clerc 7, Campana 6, Vukcevic 6, Malsa 6, Bardhi 8, Roger 5, Morales 7. Subs: De Frutos 7, Melero 6, Gomez 6, Radoja 6.
Real Madrid: Courtois 9*, Fernandez 6, Varane 7, Ramos 7, Mendy 6, Valverde 6, Casemiro 8, Modric 8, Asensio 7, Benzema 7, Vinicius 6. Subs: Vazquez 6, Rodrygo 7.
16' GOAL! So much time. A corner came to Vinicius on the corner of the area and he had second to take his time, bring the ball onto his right foot and curl it into the far corner.
31' So close! A second corner for Levante sees Vukcevic rise at the back post and head against the crossbar with Courtois totally beaten.
51' Off the post! What a chance for Benzema. Modric closes down Vezo's pass out of defence and it falls for the centre forward who curls the ball just too wide.
60' Courtois's outstretched leg keeps Madrid in front. Bardhi's effort is deflected off Casemiro which wrong-foots him and though he had already dived to his left he managed to dangle his long legs out and save the shot.
68' GOAL! NO! Ramos scores from Modric's perfect free kick. But it has been ruled out for a push. The replays show it is the correct decision.
78' Fine save from Courtois. A superb turn and through ball from Bardhi plays in Clerc but the Belgian spreads himself and blocks the great chance.