Levante UD provided just enough sparkle on a rainy evening in Piraeus, with Obafemi Martins's header rounding off a 4-0 aggregate success against Olympiacos FC to set up a UEFA Europa League round of 16 meeting with FC Rubin Kazan.
With Juan Ignacio Martínez's tournament debutants showing no sign of their inexperience in European competition, Olympiacos were put off their stride early on when José Barkero's long-range shot clattered the top of the crossbar. Before Olympiacos had a chance to regroup, they went behind on nine minutes, with the unmarked Martins given room in the box to nod Barkero's corner past Roy Carroll.
Left with a vertiginously steep hill to climb, Olympiacos seemed to lack conviction, with their attacks characterised by hurried crosses from the flanks and a lack of creative ideas in midfield. Their best opportunity to equalise came on 18 minutes when Kostas Mitroglou was teed up by Leandro Greco but his left-footed volley flew just wide.
Levante were in control thereafter, switching to a counterattacking strategy that brought them close to a second goal five minutes before the interval, Martins breaking free only to be denied by Carroll.
Olympiacos coach Míchel brought on starlet Giannis Fetfatzidis to provide more imagination in the second half, and the home side squandered two good chances to get on the scoreboard through Rafik Djebbour and José Holebas with 60 minutes on the clock. However, they were rarely given reason to relax, with Levante's Míchel and Martins eager to exploit any open spaces.
Dimitris Siovas's header drew an excellent save from Keylor Navas with time running out, but there was to be no consolation for the Greek champions.
©UEFA.com 1998-2016. All rights reserved.