Away teams big winners in Europa League

Friday, February 18, 2011

BERLIN - Away teams were the big winners in Thursday’s first-leg matches in the round of the last 32 of the Europa League, with only three out of 15 home teams securing victories.

The only home sides to triumph on the night were Benfica, who came from behind to beat VfB Stuttgart 2-1, Lech Poznan who managed a 1-0 victory against Braga, and Young Boys Berne who beat Zenit St Petersburg 2-1.

In Basel, Alexander Frei and Marco Streller scored twice within five minutes for Basel in the first half against Spartak Moscow, but the Russians came back strongly in the second half.

Dimitry Kombarov pulled one back on the hour before Artyom Dzyuba found the equaliser in the 70th minute.

Worse was to follow for the Swiss side as international midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri was sent off for elbowing an opponent in the 78th minute. Jano Ananidze then grabbed a winner for the visitors in injury time.

In Berne, Zenit St Petersburg ended the game with 10 players after Vladimir Bystrov was sent off against Young Boys, for whom Senad Lulic had equalised a minute after the restart when Nicolas Lombaerts had given the visitors the lead in the first half. Zambian international Emmanuel Mayuka scored the winner for the home side four minutes into injury time.

Former Champions League winners Porto managed to win 2-1 at Sevilla through goals by Rolando and Freddy Guarin. Frederic Kanoute scored for the home side.

In Glasgow, Rangers were the better side against Sporting Lisbon but had to wait until the 66th minute before Steven Whittaker found the back of the net to give his side the lead, but substitute Matias Fernandez equalized a minute from time.

The match between Sparta Prague and Liverpool had to be suspended for a few minutes in the second half after fans ignited a smoke bomb.

Neither side managed to score, and Liverpool will take a valuable goalless draw into the return leg.

OSC Lille threw away a two-goal lead in the space of just one minute as Wilfred Bouma and Ola Toivonen scored in the 83rd and 84th minute to draw 2-2 against PSV Eindhoven.

Idrissa Gueye and Tulio de Melo had given the French side a two-goal lead in the first half.

Tomas Necid scored the only goal for CSKA Moscow at PAOK Saloniki to give the Russian side victory.

In the early matches there were away victories for Dutch champions FC Twente, who won 2-0 at Rubin Kazan, while Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen trounced Metalist Kharkiv 4-0.

Dynamo Kiev secured a 4-1 victory at Beskitas and Ajax Amsterdam triumphed 3-0 at Anderlecht. The matches between BATE Borisov and Paris St Germain (2-2) and Napoli and Villarreal (0-0) ended in draws.

In Lisbon, Benfica came from behind to beat struggling Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart 2-1. Austrian international Martin Harnik gave the visitors the lead midway through the first half, but two second-half goals from Oscar Cardozo saw Benfica secure a deserved win at home.

Artjoms Rudnevs scored the only goal of the match in Poznan as Lech Poznan beat Braga 1-0.

Tuesday, Aris Thessaloniki maintained their astonishing unbeaten run at home in European football when they held Manchester City to a goalless draw.

Since playing their first UEFA-organized European match in the Kleanthis-Vikelidis-Stadium 40 years ago against Chelsea, Aris have remained unbeaten in 24 games.

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