Linfield's Uefa Europa League adventure came to an abrupt send at Windsor Park as they suffered a 2-1 extra-time defeat to Greek side Xanthi, with Marcelinho scoring twice for the visitors and Michael Gault on target for the Blues.
The hosts took a while to settle into the game, but Xanthi failed to capitalise on Linfield's slow start. The Blues began to assert themselves on the game with Peter Thompson going close after good work from Aaron Burns. Dimitris Kiriakidis stood tall in the visiting goal, and looked comfortable under corners. A quick break at the other end saw Xanthi level the tie on aggregate, with Marcelinho capitalising on a mistake from Jim Ervin to put the ball past Jonathan Tuffy.
Linfield continued to play good football despite the goal, and saw Thompson's header go marginally wide. However, another defensive mistake almost allowed Xanthi to double their lead, but Tuffey did well to react after an underhit backpass. The visitors ended the half with just 10 men after Kostas Fliskas was sent off for a bad tackle on Michael Carvill.
David Jeffrey's side looked much sharper after the break, helped by the man advantage, but despite having plenty of the ball, did not really test Kiriakidis. Sean Ward had a decent chance for the hosts, but saw it deflected out for a corner as Linfield pushed more players forward.
Linfield's best chance came five minutes from the end of normal time as David McAllister was allowed past the goalkeeper, but couldn't get enough power on his shot, and the danger was cleared. At the other end, Thodoris Vasilakakis had a good chance with a header, but couldn't get his shot on target as neither team could find a winner in normal time.
Blues captain Michael Gault looked to hand the tie to the hosts in extra-time but Marcelinho struck again to send the Greeks through on the away goals rule.