TWO penalties helped Real Madrid to a healthy 3-0 win in the first leg of their Copa Del Rey tie with second-tier Numancia, while Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw as the La Liga giants rested their stars.
Gareth Bale scored twice to cancel out Daniel Wass' opener and give Madrid the lead before half-time.
Celta drew 1-1 at home to Barca in the Cup and took a 2-2 draw from the Camp Nou earlier this campaign and pacey strikers Iago Aspas and Pione Sisto, as well as the powerful Maxi Gomez will be a handful for a Madrid defense missing the suspended Dani Carvajal and the injured Sergio Ramos.
"We wanted to continue our run of wins and although we were favourites we knew Levante were a strong side that hadn't lost away from home in the league since September", said Barca coach Ernesto Valverde.
'They're key players and seeing that they're ready for these next games makes me happy'. "It's a good result for us". "I am the first one responsible".
"We have to analyse our game in depth".
Grigor Dimitrov's epic display of sportsmanship at Brisbane International
Grigor Dimitrov reached the semi-finals of the Brisbane International while Elina Svitolina advanced to the finals on Friday. At 4-4 in the third set, Edmund suffered a mid-rally injury to his ankle as he fell on the floor writing in pain.
"There's nothing else we can do other than keep our heads up and fight and do our best to start winning again", added Marcelo, who has won four La Liga and three Champions League titles since joining Real in 2007.
"We are not going to go insane".
Ramos will also miss the league game at home to Villarreal on January 13 and the King's Cup last 16 return leg at the Bernabeu three days earlier against Numancia, who they beat 3-0 in the first game, plus a possible quarter-final first leg.
Los Blancos prepare to travel to northern Spain to visit Celta Vigo on Sunday as they seek to bounce back from a disappointing first half to the season that has left them lingering in fourth place.
"We're trying to get out of this mess and we're working to do that, but we don't like this at all".