Levante 1-0 Motherwell (3-0)

Michael Higdon had an early header disallowed for offside

Motherwell's European adventure is over following a brave Europa League play-off defeat to Levante.

Michael Higdon saw an early header ruled offside, while Jonathan Page, Stevie Hammell and Keith Lasley all had first-half efforts on goal.

Levante improved after the interval, with Darren Randolph saving well from Juanlu and Nabil El Zhar.

Theofanis Gekas swept in a half-volley on 72 minutes to give the Spaniards a 3-0 aggregate victory.

The Steelmen arrived in Valencia facing a difficult task to progress, having shipped two goals in Lanarkshire last week.

Stuart McCall's side responded with a mature display against their La Liga opponents, matching the hosts for much of the opening 45 minutes.

And Chris Humphrey missed a golden chance to make it a night to remember when he shot wide from close range in injury time.

Motherwell lost 1-0 to Levante
Gekas struck for Levante on 72 minutes

Motherwell, fielding four teenagers, had the ball in the net inside three minutes when Higdon escaped his marker to head home Steven Hetherington's free-kick but the the offside flag was raised instantly, to cut short the celebrations of the boisterous 400-strong travelling support.

A second Hetherington free-kick two minutes later produced another free header, but Page steered the ball wide from 16 yards.

Keith Lasley got two shots on target, while Levante's Jose Barkero fired a powerful long-range strike wide and Juanlu saw a curling effort just clear the far post.

Motherwell survived a scare on 32 minutes when Hammell overhit a pass at Page along the back line and the centre-back, after initially chesting the ball down, then underhit his attempted header back to Randolph. Juanlu intercepted but shot wide from 18 yards with only the keeper to beat.

Hammell got the error out of his system 60 seconds later with a forward run and 30-yard shot that zipped just wide.

Levante threatened after the break when Juanfran's cross found Juanlu, but Randolph got down brilliantly to stop his header, which deflected off Page.

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Interview - Motherwell manager Stuart McCall

The Irishman made another great stop on the hour, blocking from El Zahr after the Moroccan had run on to Barkero's pass.

Motherwell were finding possession harder to retain but Higdon almost threaded Henrik Ojamaa through on a break, however the Estonian could not quite escape his marker.

El Zahr missed another great chance, shooting over after turning inside Hammell in the penalty box.

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 Adam Cummins to steer the cross inside Randolph's near post from six yards.

A fifth teenager, left-back Zaine Francis-Angol, replaced Hammell but the visitors could not find a leveller, with Humphrey left with his head in his hands after missing the target.

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