Europa League: Matchday One
|Sporting Lisbon's poor start to the season continued on Thursday, as they could only muster a goalless draw at home to Basel.
Ricardo Sa Pinto's side had an impressive head-to-head record against the Swiss club prior to Thursday, winning all four previous meetings without conceding a single goal, but Xandao's straight red card put another victory out of sight.
Meanwhile in Belgium, Genk got their campaign off to a flyer with a 3-0 victory over Hungarian side Videoton.
The hosts took the lead through Jelle Vossen, who headed in Thomas Buffel's cross on 22 minutes, before the pair reversed their roles with three quarters of the game to spare; Vossen's cut-back was aptly finished by Buffel.
The victory was rounded off by Benjamin de Ceulaer in injury time from the right-hand side, proving there is life after Christian Benteke for the Pro League outfit, who move top of Group G following their emphatic win.
|Inter needed a Yuto Nagatomo goal deep in injury time to snatch a 2-2 draw with Rubin Kazan and avoid defeat on the first matchday (see the full report here).
There was similarly good news for Europa League debutants Neftchi Baku, who put in a superbly resolute performance in the Serbian capital to hold Partizan Belgrade to a stalemate.
The Azeris managed just a solitary shot on target, but coach Boyukagha Haljev will have been delighted to see his team execute the perfect lockdown on their more illustrious opponents and address the proverbial kitchen sink.
|Lyon suffered a late scare but nonetheless went on to record a 2-1 success over Sparta Prague at Stade Gerland on Thursday.
Bafetimbi Gomis' header on the hour mark handed Les Gones the initiative, before Lisandro Lopez struck home from close range three minutes later to seal all three points for his side, despite Ladislav Krejci's stinging drive soon after.
However, a less fortunate outcome was seen in the Basque Country, as Athletic Bilbao were stunned by Europa League new boys Hapoel Irioni Kiryat Shmona in a 1-1 draw at San Mames.
Marcelo Bielsa's charges may have dominated for the most part, but that did not stop Adrian Rochet rifling a shot from range past a wrong-footed Gorka Iraizoz on just 14 minutes.
And while Markel Susaeta may have marked his side's 11th shot of the first half with a direct finish to level the scores, the plaudits must go to the Israeli champions, who showed remarkable discipline throughout.
|Slovenian side Maribor shot to the top of the Group J standings on Thursday after an impressive 3-0 victory over Panathinaikos.
Tavares was the catalyst for his side on the night, setting up Robert Beric for the first goal on 22 minutes, before his cross deflected into the path of Agim Ibraimi, who struck midway through the second half.
It was fitting then that the Brazilian striker won a penalty with moments of normal time to spare and netted from the spot. There was also time for a sending-off, as Nikos Spyropoulos was shown a second yellow card.
Elsewhere in north London, Tottenham were denied three goals by the officials, as they eventually had to settle for a 0-0 draw with Lazio (see full report here).
|Rosenborg had goalkeeper Daniel Orlund to thank, as he saved a penalty to preserve his side's 2-1 win over hosts Rapid Vienna.
A defensive lapse saw Tarik Elyounoussi take full advantage to put the Norwegians in front early on, and Mikael Dorsin sealed the result with a header on 60 minutes exactly.
Markus Katzer's similar finish on 66 minutes cut the Austrians' deficit, but Alar failed to convert from the spot after he was fouled in the box.
Such a spectacle was not viewed in Germany, however, as Metalist Kharkiv produced a steely defensive display to leave Leverkusen with a 0-0 draw.
Eight minutes from time, visitors' goalkeeper Olexandr Goryainov produced a world-class double save to deny both Karim Bellarbi and Andre Schurrle, which proved to be the only noteworthy action in the match.
|Levante marked their maiden European voyage with a well-deserved 1-0 victory over Champions League play-off contenders Helsingborgs.
The winner was found by veteran left-back Juanfran, who drilled in his first-ever goal for the Liga outfit in the 40th minute since rejoining his hometown club two years ago.
And last but not least, Hannover put in a spirited performance after overcoming a two-goal deficit on Thursday to register a 2-2 draw with Twente.
Willem Janssen and a deflected Nacer Chadli free kick put the Enschede side in the driving seat, with a 10th win in 11 matches in sight.
However, the comeback was on as Artur Sobiech led his team towards a share of the spoils midway through the second half, before Peter Wisgerhof's own goal deflated Steve McClaren's men.