Europe’s second-tier football league, Europa League, returned to viewers’ screen last night with three British clubs in action.
Swansea recorded the best result of the night, winning 3-0 away at ten-man Valencia, last season’s FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic opened their campaign with a goalless draw at Zulte-Waregem and Jermain Defoe scored twice as Tottenham Hotspur beat Tromso.
Brown Ideye and Lukman Haruna were both listed in Dynamo Kyiv side which lost at home, 0-1 to Belgian club Genk at the NSK Olimpijs’kyj.
Nosa Igiebor played full 90 minutes in Real Betis’ 0-0 draw against Olympique Lyonnaise.
Ogenyi Onazi and Dele Adeleye played all 90 minutes for Napoli and Anzhi Makhachkala in their sides’ 1-0 victory and 0-0 draw against Legia Warsaw and FC Sheriff Tiraspol of Moldova respectively.
Valencia 0 vs. Swansea 3
Valencia’s defender Adil Rami was sent off in the ninth minute for a professional foul on Swansea’s new Ivoirian recruit Wilfred Bony as Swansea got off to a perfect start in their Europa League campaign.
Bony opened scoring for the Welsh club Swansea, which dominated much of the first-half play, after a Miguel Michu’s cross found the striker who converted a right-footed shot from the inside of the area.
Michu fired in from eight yard after the break to make it 2-0 before Jonathan de Guzman curled in a 30-yard free-kick to help Michael Laudrop’s men climb to the top of the Group A table.
“It was a fantastic game. Of course the red card was an influence- but we dominated from the first minute to the last,” Laudrup, who recorded success as a player with Spanish sides Barcelona and Real Madrid, said.
“It could have been more than three and I’m very pleased to beat a club like Valencia. It was our fifth game in Europe- and we were facing a big team.”
Tottenham 3 vs. Tromso 0
Defoe proved he deserve regular call-up in coach Andre Villas-Boas line up last night, after scoring his fourth goal in two Europa League games.
The striker’s brace against Norwegian club Tromso moved him two goals within Martin Chivers’ Tottenham European scoring record.
Defoe, 30, scored twice in the space of nine minutes, first; a precise finish after a pass from new signing Eric Lamela and later running onto a Lewis Holtby through ball to guide a shot into a corner.
Christian Eriksen curled in from 25 yards for his first Spurs goal late on to put the White Hart Lane side top of group K.
Zulte-Weregem 0 Wigan 0
Wigan battled to a draw against Belgium side Zulte- Weregem in the first European tie in the English club’s history.
In a match short on chances, a brilliant Chris McCann block on the goal-line late on saved Wigan from losing away from home.
Manager Owen Coyle side defended terrifically in the first-half and goalkeeper Scott Carson did superbly well to deny Ibrahima Conte’s shot in the first-half.
Manchester United forward Nick Powell, on loan to Wigan, made his first-start for the Lactics Thursday night.
Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has said promotion from the Championship was the club’s priority this season and they would be glad to have gotten off to a one-point start away from home.
Other Europa League Results
St Gallen 2- 0 Kuban Krasnodar
Valencia 0- 3 Swansea
Dinamo Zagreb 1- 2 Chornomorets Odessa
PSV Eindhoven 0- 2 Ludogorets Razgrad
SV Salzburg 4- 0 Elfsborg
Standard Liege 1- 2 Esbjerg
NK Maribor 2- 5 Rubin Kazan
Zulte-Weregem 0- 0 Wigan
Fiorentina 3- 0 Pacos Ferreira
Pandurii Targu 0- 1 Dnipro
Eintracht Frankfurt 3- 0 Bordeaux
Macc Tel-Aviv 0- 0 Apoel Nicosia
Dinamo Kiev 0- 1 Genk
Thun 1- 0 Rapid Vienna
Estoril 1- 2 Sevilla
SC Freiburg 2- 2 Liberec
Guimaraes 4- 0 Rijeka
Real Betis 0- 0 Lyon
Apollon Limassol 1- 2 Trabzonspor
Lazio 1- 0 Legia Warsaw
Sheriff Tiraspol 0- 0 Anzhi
Tottenham 3- 0 Tromso
Maccabi Haifa 0- 1 AZ Alkmaar
Paok Salonika 2- 1 Shakter Karagandy