Bulgarian side PFC Levski Sofia virtually guaranteed safe passage to the first round of the UEFA Cup on Thursday evening thanks to a comprehensive 4-1 qualifying defeat of FK Atyrau in Kazakhstan.
Levski took the lead in the ninth minute when Gueorgui Chilikov found himself unmarked after a cross from Lucio Wagner and easily steered his header past goalkeeper Vadim Deonas.
The home fans suffered further disappointment four minutes later after another cross from Wagner made its way into the box. This time it was gratefully received by Gueorgui Ivanov, who doubled the lead with another firm header.
Chilikov on target
There was no way back for the home side when Chilikov made it 3-0, collecting his second by slotting past Deonas after he was neatly assisted by Omomigho Temile.
Ivanov was not long behind with his second, tucking in after Wagner's lofted ball into the area caused a goalmouth scramble in the 33rd minute. Atyrau, though, created chances and could have reduced the deficit just before the break when Turkmenistan's Redjempurad Agabaev put a cross centimetres wide.
Levski relaxed the pace after the break, but Atyrau had to wait until the 90th minute to get on the scoresheet, Agabaev curling in a shot from just inside the area.
"We lacked some European experience," said Atyrau coach Aleksandr Golokolosov. "We were very nervous in the first half and that was the reason for conceding four goals. Levski won't have it so easy in Sofia in a fortnight's time."