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Slick Levante blow ten-man Olympiacos away

Levante UD 3-0 Olympiacos FC
Pedro Ríos's opener and Djamel Abdoun's dismissal set the tone as the European debutants took a giant leap toward the round of 16.

Slick Levante blow ten-man Olympiacos away
Slick Levante blow ten-man Olympiacos away ©UEFA.com

Levante UD took a significant step towards the UEFA Europa League round of 16 after goals from Pedro Ríos, José Barkero and Obafemi Martins subdued ten-man Olympiacos FC in Valencia.

Ríos showed his composure to hand the Spanish Liga side an early lead before the dismissal of Djamel Abdoun slanted the tie further in their favour. Although Martins missed a penalty for Levante, Barkero made better use of a second spot kick close to half-time, before Martins' strike on 56 minutes put Juan Ignacio Martínez's team firmly on top ahead of their trip to Piraeus.

With Levante defending diligently and breaking fast, Ríos fired a warning shot with a fifth-minute effort before finding the target in earnest five minutes later – collecting a long pass from Barkero and dribbling past two defenders before beating Balázs Megyeri. It should have been 2-0 when Abdoun felled Pedro López in the box, but while the Olympiacos winger was dismissed, Martins wasted his opportunity from the penalty spot.

It proved nothing more than a stay of execution for Olympiacos. José Holebas fouled López in the area again five minutes before the break, and Barkero showed the composure that Martins had lacked to make it 2-0 from the resulting conversion.

The second half would be no less punishing for beleaguered Olympiacos, with their Spanish coach Míchel enduring an unhappy return to his home country. Ríos kept gnawing away at the Greek Super League leaders, though it was Martins who extended the European debutants' advantage, atoning for his earlier error by latching onto Barkero's long ball to lob Megyeri.

Olympiacos might have had some consolation had Kostas Manolas's header not struck the crossbar, with Rafik Djebbour and Giannis Maniatis also having chances to change the tie's complexion before the final whistle – though Valdo could also have made it 4-0.