Europa League round-up

Reds edge past Hearts

August 23, 2012
By ESPN staff

Liverpool came away with a 1-0 victory in their Europa League play-off first leg at Hearts courtesy of a late own goal from Andy Webster.

Martin Kelly, Jordan Henderson
GettyImagesMartin Kelly and Jordan Henderson celebrate after Liverpool's goal at Hearts

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Brendan Rodgers rested the likes of Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel for the trip to Tynecastle, and his second-string side struggled to create clear opportunities.

However, they claimed a valuable away goal in the 78th minute as Martin Kelly crossed from the right, Fabio Borini failed to make a connection and Webster turned the ball into his own net.

Inter Milan had no problems seeing off Vaslui 2-0 in Romania, a goal in each half from Esteban Cambiasso and Rodrigo Palacio giving them a comfortable advantage ahead of the return in the San Siro.

Last year's losing finalists Athletic Bilbao delivered an emphatic statement of intent as they hammered Finnish side HJK 6-0 at the Estadio San Mames.

Aritz Aduriz opened the scoring in the 25th minute and the tie was effectively over before half-time after further goals from Markel Susaeta and Inigo Perez. Aduriz added his second six minutes into the second half before next week's second leg was rendered a formality by further strikes from Susaeta and Andoni Iraola.

Ryan Taylor spared Newcastle's blushes with a fine free-kick as a 1-1 draw gives them a slight advantage in their clash at Atromitos.

A year and three days after he fired the Magpies to derby victory at Sunderland, he produced a set-piece of similar quality in first-half injury time to cancel out Denis Epstein's 24th-minute opener and ensure that his side returned to Tyneside knowing a victory of any description, or even a 0-0 draw, will send them through to the group stage.

That may have been less than manager Alan Pardew's ambitions before kick-off, but having made nine changes to the side which beat Tottenham 2-1 at the weekend, he saw his side put in a distinctly ordinary opening 45 minutes after which a draw was not the worst result.

Former Champions League winners Marseille suffered a scare in Moldova but a Jordan Ayew double helped them see off Sheriff 2-1 in their Europa League play-off first leg.

The Moldovan league leaders had stunned their illustrious opponents when Tomislav Pajovic struck a 27th-minute equaliser in Tiraspol to cancel out Ayew's 18th-minute opener, but the French side battled back and Ayew grabbed his second eight minutes into the second half to give Elie Baup's men a slender advantage heading back to the Stade Velodrome next week.

Shaun Hutchinson was sent off as Motherwell suffered a 2-0 defeat to Europa League debutants Levante.

Levante, who finished sixth in La Liga last season after briefly topping the table in late October, pushed Motherwell back in the first half and they were gifted a 42nd-minute opener as Juanlu ran from deep to net as the home defence waited for an offside flag.

Motherwell improved significantly and Henrik Ojamaa had two good chances, but the visitors carved out a second for substitute Nabil El Zhar in the 62nd minute and killed the game off before Hutchinson was dismissed for a last-man challenge.

Anzhi Makhachkala recorded a 1-0 home victory over Eredivisie side AZ.

Anzhi, playing in Moscow due to UEFA concerns over security in Dagestan, scored the only goal of the game on 51 minutes, with Ivorian striker Lacina Traore netting from Mbark Boussoufa's cross.

Anzhi had to contend with Moscow fans protesting at Anzhi's use of Lokomotiv Moscow's ground by loudly supporting AZ. There also were reports of racist chanting.

FC Twente face an uphill battle to reach the group stage after succumbing to a 3-1 defeat away to Bursaspor.

Steve McClaren's men had taken the lead through Nacer Chadli, but two goals from Pablo Batalla either side of Stanislav Sestak's effort leaves the Eredivisie side with plenty of work to do.

CSKA Moscow secured a 1-0 victory over AIK in Stockholm. Keisuke Honda got the goal on 62 minutes after good work from Nigerian winger Ahmed Musa.

The match was marred by trouble in the stands, with reports of clashes between the two sets of fans before the kick-off and proceedings having to be delayed after the goal.

Heerenveen slumped 2-0 to Molde in Norway and Feyenoord had to stage a great escape to salvage a 2-2 home draw with Sparta Prague, but PSV Eindhoven made up for a generally dismal night for their Dutch rivals as they thrashed Montenegro's Zeta 5-0 in Podgorica.

Ola Toivonen opened the scoring after two minutes but the Dutch giants had to wait until the 74th minute for the floodgates to open with further goals from Tim Matavz, Kevin Strootman, Jeremain Lens and Mark van Bommel.

Lazio are heavy favourites to progress in their tie after goals from Hernanes and Miroslav Klose gave them a 2-0 win at Mura 05, who are still winless after six games of the new Slovenian season.

Hannover 96 had to bank on a pair of late goals from Leon Andreasen and Manuel Schmiedebach to emerge as the victors in a 5-3 thriller at Slask Wroclaw.

Sporting needed a late equaliser from Andre Carrillo to salvage a 1-1 draw with Horsens in Denmark, while Bordeaux take the momentum into the second leg after a goalless draw with Red Star in Belgrade.