Motherwell out of Champions League

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MOTHERWELL will parachute into tomorrow’s draw for the final qualifying round of the Europa League after a comprehensive defeat in Athens.

With ’Well already two down from the first leg at Fir Park, Panathanaikos grabbed another three goals at the Olympic Stadium to book their place in the next round.

The visitors survived an survived an onslaught to go in goalless at the interval, but the second half was a different story.

Lazaros Christodoulopoulos and Charalampos Mavrias, who also struck in the first leg, put the tie beyond doubt, before Ibrahim Sissoko sealed an emphatic victory.

Stuart McCall made two changes to the side that drew 0-0 at Ross County in the SPL opener as winger Chris Humphrey’s hamstring injury forced him to miss the trip and was replaced by Adam Cummins while Henrik Ojamaa started as Michael Higdon dropped to the bench.

Panathinaikos fielded an unchanged line-up from the first leg and could have gone further ahead in the opening exchanges as Jose Toche’s 25-yard strike forced Darren Randolph into a save, and then the same player shot wide when through on goal.

In a rare moment of attack from ’Well Nicky Law’s shot had to be pushed away by goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis, but they gradually started to become involved in the match although the Greeks seems happy to allow them possession.

At the start of the second half only Simon Ramsden’s last-gasp clearance prevented Toche from heading home Sissoko’s cross, but the breakthrough came on 51 minutes as Christodoulopoulos fired a free kick into the top corner.

Appeals for a penalty were turned down as the ball appeared to strike Cummins’s arm and Toche’s point blank header was saved by Randolph.

But almost inevitably a second did come on 75 minutes as Mavrias waltzed into the ’Well box and shot past Randolph, then eight minutes later Sissoko put the final nail in the coffin as he slotted in Kostas Katsouranis’s right wing cross.