Levante 'dream' win delights Barkero
© EFE

Levante midfielder Jose Barkero hailed a "dream" result for his side after they stunned Olympiacos 3-0 in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League last 32 tie, but has warned it is likely to be a totally different story in the return leg in Greece.

The Spanish side, playing in their maiden European campaign, put aside their poor recent domestic form with a remarkable result against the 39-time Greek champions at the Ciutat de Valencia stadium. Pedro Rios put the hosts ahead in the ninth minute and Barkero doubled the lead from the penalty spot just before half-time.

It might have been even better for Levante at that stage but they also missed a 30th-minute spot-kick through Obafemi Martins in an incident which saw Olympiacos lose Djamel Abdoun to a red card. Martins made amends for that miss though as he added a third Levante goal 11 minutes into the second half, leaving his side within touching distance of a place in the last 16.

Barkero, who helped set up the goals for Rios and Martins, said: "The game was a dream. I think we all enjoyed it and even though there is a very tough match to play, the result that we've got is very important and we hope to get through."

Form-defying result
Levante went into the match having lost five of their last six in league and cup while Olympiacos, who were playing UEFA Champions League football before Christmas, had established a 15-point lead at the top of Super League standings with an away victory over nearest rivals Asteras Tripolis at the weekend.

It was Juan Ignacio Martinez's European novices who took the honours however and they will now be firm favourites to progress. Barkero knows they cannot get too carried away, though. He said on his club's website: "They are going to come out and give it everything at home and they are not going to be anything like what we've seen here.

"We have to be very prepared for that and know that this still isn't over because they are going to make it very difficult for us. We are talking about a team who have played in the Champions League this season and are also the leaders of the Greek league, so they deserve all of our respect."