Levante 1 - 0 Motherwell (3-0 agg): Levante hold firm as Steelmen exit Europe
A Motherwell team featuring four teenagers in the starting line-up held Levante for 72 minutes in Spain before their European campaign ended in another defeat.
Scorers: Levante - Gekas (72)
Bookings: Motherwell - Hetherington
Michael Higdon had a goal disallowed as an injury-hit Motherwell gave as good as they got in the first half, before Greece striker Theofanis Gekas finished off their Europa League hopes as he converted a cross to complete a 3-0 aggregate win and ensure Levante progress to the group stages.
Motherwell had disappointed in the home leg, but they restored pride last night against a Levante side who beat Real Madrid last season and topped La Liga in late October.
Higdon overcame a knock, but the injured Nicky Law, Tom Hateley, Steven Saunders, Simon Ramsden and Shaun Hutchinson, who was sent off in the first leg, were all left at home.
Stuart Carswell came into midfield alongside Steven Hetherington, while Fraser Kerr and Adam Cummins kept their places in defence to complete the quartet of under-20s. Jonathan Page replaced Hutchinson at centre-back with seven players aged 23 or under in Stuart McCall’s team.
Levante named a strong team with Pape Diop included after the Senegal midfielder missed the first leg after failing to secure a visa to enter the UK.
Having suffered in the heat in Athens on their way to a 5-0 Champions League defeat by Panathinaikos, Motherwell were grateful for a windy night at Estadio Ciudad de Valencia, which was witnessing its first European match.
Motherwell had the ball in the net inside three minutes when Higdon escaped his marker and ran round the back of the defence to head home Hetherington’s free-kick. The offside flag was raised instantly, although the linesman’s intervention took some time to register among many of the boisterous 400-strong Motherwell support.
A second Hetherington free-kick two minutes later produced another free header, but Page steered the ball wide from 16 yards. Levante then forced several corners, but the best of the chances saw Gekas and then David Navarro send efforts wide.
A goal for Motherwell would have worried the hosts, but Levante made their second-half possession count. They worked the ball to Juanlu on the left wing and Gekas got in front of Cummins to steer the cross inside Darren Randolph’s near post from six yards.
A fifth teenager, left-back Zaine Francis-Angol, replaced Hammell but the Lanarkshire side rarely forced their way forward in the closing stages.
Levante: Navas, Navarro, Juanfran, Ballesteros (Rodas Hector 76), Pedro Lopez, Barkero (Herrero Michel 61), Gomez Juanlu, Papakouli Diop, El Zhar, Vicente Iborra (Pallardo 79), Gekas. Subs not used: Munua, Lell, Oscar Serrano, Rodriguez Angel.
Motherwell: Randolph, Hammell (Francis-Angol 74), Kerr, Page, Cummins, Lasley, Carswell (Humphrey 68), Hetherington, Ojamaa (McHugh 67), Higdon, Murphy. Subs not used: Hollis, Murray, Daley Asghar.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east