Legia Warsaw end Atromitos’ European Adventure
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE - 3rd QUALIFYING ROUND (2nd LEG)
Atromitos were eliminated from the Europa League on Wednesday after being outclassed in a 2-0 home defeat by Legia Warsaw in the second leg of their third qualifying round tie - a result which sent the Polish club through to the playoffs 2-0 on aggregate.
Having claimed a valuable goalless draw in Poland last week, the onus was on Atromitos to win on home soil at the Peristeri Stadium in West Athens, but goals from Pawel Stolarski and Valerian Gvilla gave Legia a comfortable victory.
Yannis Anastasiou’s Atromitos team battled manfully but over both legs they lacked the required quality to topple their superior Polish opponents, who edge closer to the group stage.
Despite earning a vital 0-0 draw in Poland last week against the run of play, Atromitos still began this match on their home turf as underdogs with Legia favorites to go through as the stronger side on paper.
And the Warsaw club made a confident start, pressing high up the pitch as well as dominating the early possession and forcing Atromitos into a flurry of errors.
But after the home side composed themselves, they began to play their way into danger areas and it was Atromitos who fashioned the first clear opening after 17 minutes when Farley found the crossbar with a curling free-kick from the left flank.
Despite that scare for the visitors, it was Legia who then took control of the game again and they finally got a breakthrough after 29 minutes with a superbly-worked goal.
Brazilian midfielder Cafu showed great skill to dance around Tal Kihila and squared the ball to Valerian Gvilla, who then laid it off to the overlapping Stolarski. The legia full-back showed great composure to arrow a low diagonal shot into the bottom corner of Balazs Megyer’s goal, leaving the Hungarian goalkeeper no chance.
Atromitos responded well, however, and they opened up the Legia defence five minutes before half-time with a quick counter-attack led by Farley. The Brazilian picked out the run of Giorgos Manoussos, and the striker turned inside before sending a deflected shot narrowly over the crossbar.
With the teams going in at 0-1 at half-time Atromitos had it all to do in the second half, but things got even worse for the Peristeri side just six minutes after the restart when Legia doubled their advantage.
It was another well worked move which brought the goal, this time down the right flank. Marko Vasovic provided a superb cross which was met by the boot of Gvilla, and the Georgian stylishly steered the ball past Megyeri.
That came as a major blow to the home side, and despite huffing and puffing, Atromitos did not have the quality to unlock the Legia defence and their very brief European adventure ended on a low key note.
Atromitos: 16 Megyeri (GK), 3 Katranis, 4 Goutas, 5 Khila, 6 Charisis, 7 Farley, 9 Manoussos, 15 Madson, 28 Natsos, 39 Vellios, 44 Risvanis ©
Legia: 1 Majecki (GK), 5 Lewczuk, 8 Gvilia, 16 Luís Rocha, 24 André Martins, 26 Cafú, 29 Vešović, 41 Stolarski, 55 Jędrzejczyk ©, 82 Luquinhas, 99 Kulenović