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Thursday, October 25, 2012
Inter leave it late

Inter Milan finally broke the resistance of stubborn Partizan Belgrade two minutes from time to win their Europa League clash at the San Siro 1-0.

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Inter looked on course for a frustrating goalless draw in the Group H match as they failed to find a way past their Serbian opponents. But, having lived dangerously at times, substitute Rodrigo Palacio's header at the death won it for Andrea Stramaccioni's side.

Victory kept them level on seven points with Rubin Kazan as Alan Kasaev's first-half goal proved enough to give Rubin a 1-0 win at home to Neftchi.

Kasaev's 16th-minute drilled shot from a Gokdeniz Karadeniz through-ball maintained the Russian side's unbeaten start, while Neftchi remain without a win.

A superb strike from Stewart Downing saw Liverpool claim a 1-0 victory over Anzhi Makhachkala.

Downing cracked home an unstoppable effort from outside the box in the 53rd minute after coming in from the left flank. The win was no less than the Reds deserved having been the better side for much of the contest, and they now lead the group with six points from three games.

Raul Bobadilla continued his recent hot streak as he fired a hat-trick to revive Young Boys' Europa League hopes with a stunning 3-1 home win over Udinese.

Bobadilla had the Swiss side cruising with goals after four and 72 minutes but Udinese, second-best throughout, threatened a comeback when Andrea Coda headed in moments later. But Bobadilla eased any home concerns when he coolly converted an 82nd-minute penalty to grab his hat-trick and an eighth goal in his past nine games.

Gylfi Sigurdsson helped Tottenham Hotspur rescue a point in Slovenia after an inept performance at NK Maribor saw them slump to a third successive Europa League draw, this time 1-1.

The former Swansea midfielder has yet to find his feet since his summer arrival, but went some way to repaying the north Londoners' faith by lashing home to ensure his side did not leave the Stadion Ljudski vrt empty-handed.

It was a goal that saved Spurs' blushes in what was a frustrating night against a Maribor side that came into the match with a record of just two wins their previous 15 European games on home soil.

The Vijolicasti lost home and away to the Championship side Birmingham in last season's competition yet took the lead three minutes from half-time when Robert Beric prodded home.

Toche was Panathinaikos' hero again as his last-minute goal earned a 1-1 draw with Lazio.

Giorgos Seitaridis' farcical own goal gave Lazio a half-time lead but Toche poached a late equaliser, having also scored the goal which earned his side a point against Tottenham last time out.

Ukrainian side Dnipro earned a third win in as many Europa League games to top Group F at the midway stage with a 3-1 victory over Napoli.

Artem Fedetskiy's early goal and Matheus' header shortly before half-time gave the hosts a comfortable interval lead. It was extended by Victor Giuliano before Napoli substitute Edinson Cavani netted a consolation goal from the penalty spot.

Jeremain Lens' 80th-minute equaliser earned PSV Eindhoven a 1-1 draw at home to AIK.

The Eredivisie outfit looked to be heading to a surprise home defeat as they trailed to a Kwame Karikari effort after 60 minutes and struggled to create any clear-cut chances to level. But Lens spared their blushes with a sharp finish and even sent them up to second in the Group F table.

Gabriel Obertan's first goal of the season maintained Newcastle's challenge as the Ameobi brothers joined forces to see off Club Brugge 1-0.

Shola, 31, and 20-year-old Sammy combined in breathtaking style three minutes into the second half to set up the Frenchman to secure the narrowest of victories.

It was a far from comfortable evening for a much-changed Newcastle side, although they might have been in control of the game long before Obertan struck had Papiss Cisse managed to convert any of the chances which came his way.

Maritimo and Bordeaux shared the points in a closely-fought clash which ended 1-1 at the Estadio dos Barreiros in Funchal.

Ligue 1 Bordeaux took a first-half lead through Yoan Gouffran, but Maritimo hit back soon after thanks to Frenchman Valentin Roberge and neither side could fashion a winning goal in the remainder of the match.

The draw leaves Bordeaux on four points in Group D, now three behind leaders Newcastle, while Portuguese outfit Maritimo moved on to two points as they continue to prop up the standings.

Atletico Madrid extended their winning run in UEFA competitions to 16 games with a comfortable 2-1 win over Academica thanks to goals from Diego Costa and Emre Belozoglu.

Adrian Lopez had spurned the best chance of a largely uneventful first half but the holders went in front just two minutes after the restart when Costa hooked in Tiago's flick-on from Gabi's corner.

The goal brought the Portuguese side out of their shell a little but any hope they had of heading back across the Iberian border with a point were extinguished 23 minutes from time when Emre curled a sumptuous free-kick into the top corner and, despite a late consolation goal from Salim Cisse, Atleti saw out the final few minutes with relative ease.

Viktoria Plzen moved five points clear in second place in Group B with a tight 2-1 win over 10-man Hapoel Tel Aviv in Israel.

The Czech side had to fight back from behind after Hanan Maman's early opener, with Pavel Horvath and Frantisek Rajtoral putting the visitors in front before Hapoel's Iyad Khutaba was sent off late on.

Jimmy Briand scored four minutes from time to hand Lyon a 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao in a pulsating finale at the Stade Gerland.

Lisandro Lopez had headed the French side ahead against the run of play eight minutes into the second half but Athletic deservedly equalised with 11 minutes remaining as substitutes Fernando Llorente and Ibai Gomez combined for the latter to smack home a glorious volley.

Lyon keeper Remi Vercoutre then made a world-class save to deny Markel Susaeta and within seconds the hosts snatched the three points when Gorka Iraizoz failed to hold onto Gueida Fofana's powerful effort and Briand tucked away the rebound.

Three first-half goals were enough to propel Sparta Prague to a routine 3-1 victory over Hapoel Kiryat Shmona at the Generali Arena.

Ladislav Krejci and Vaclav Kadlec scored within the first 10 minutes to give Sparta a flying start in the Group I fixture. Ondrej Svejdik added the third on the stroke of half-time and, although their beleaguered Israeli opponents pulled one back through Shimon Abuhatzira in the 76th minute, it mattered little.

Bayer Leverkusen retained top spot in Group K with a convincing 4-0 victory over struggling Rapid Vienna at the Ernst Happel Stadion.

Philipp Wollscheid gave the German outfit a half-time lead and then two goals in three minutes just before the hour mark from Gonzalo Castro and Karim Bellarabi ended the match as a contest.

Castro then notched his second in stoppage time to put the icing on a victory that lifts Leverkusen on to seven points and keeps them narrowly ahead of Metalist Kharkiv.

Late goals from Bonfim Marlos and Cleiton Xavier maintained Metalist's hopes of progressing as they came from behind to win 2-1 in Rosenborg.

Rosenborg grabbed a deserved lead one minute into the second half when John Chibuike crossed for Tarik Elyounoussi to fire home low from 12 yards.

Metalist grabbed their equaliser with 10 minutes to go, Marlos firing home low from the edge of the six-yard box after a cross from Cristian Villagra.

And Metalist grabbed victory in the 89th minute after Taison was fouled by Mikkel Diskerud and Cleiton blasted the resulting free-kick past Orlund from 20 yards.

Borussia Monchengladbach remain in the race for qualification from Group C after inflicting a first Europa League defeat of the season on Marseille.

It was a lacklustre encounter in Westphalia, with Filip Daems' first-half penalty failing to prompt a meaningful response from Elie Baup's side.

If anything, the French outfit retreated further into themselves and a first loss in seven European outings was confirmed by Peniel Mlapa's long-range effort.

Egeman Korkmaz's second-half header gifted Fenerbahce a hard-fought 1-0 win as Jorge Costa's first match in charge of AEL Limassol ended in defeat.

Former SC Braga and CFR 1907 Cluj boss Costa was given little time to prepare for this fixture after only being announced as the Cypriot side's new coach on Wednesday. And although the hosts performed admirably for the Portuguese it was all in vain as Korkmaz headed home from Cristian Baroni's corner to send the Turkish outfit top of Group C.

It could prove to be a priceless victory for Fenerbahce, who are three points clear of German side Borussia Monchengladbach and French outfit Marseille.

Didier Konan struck a stoppage-time winner to give Hannover a dramatic 2-1 win over Helsingborg that just moments earlier looked to have been snatched away from them.

Hannover were on course for a win for much of the match thanks to Mame Biram Diouf's early goal but hosts Helsingborg appeared to have snatched a point right at the death when substitute Alvaro Dos Santos equalised a minute into injury time.

However, there was still another twist in the tale as, with three of minutes of added time up, Konan fired in from close range to earn Hannover the points and keep them a point clear of Levante at the top of Group L.

Levante took a giant stride towards the knockout stages as a Michel penalty and two goals from Pedro Rios guided them to a 3-0 victory over FC Twente.

The Eredivisie leaders enjoyed the better of the first period and were controversially denied the opening goal when Dusan Tadic's strike was ruled out because Luc Castaignos was in an offside position and adjudged to have been active.

Steven McClaren's men were even less pleased with the officials just before the hour mark when a penalty was harshly awarded for Douglas handling Nikos Karabelas' cross and Michel calmly slotted away the spot-kick.

And, with Twente chasing an equaliser, they were caught out on the break as Rios was twice left with the easiest of finishes to roll the ball home and tighten the Spanish side's grip on second place in Group L.

Sporting Lisbon's campaign was left in tatters as their 10 men succumbed 2-1 to Genk in Belgium.

Sporting led through Stijn Schaars' deflected opener on seven minutes, but there was little else for new boss Franky Vercauteren, who watched on in the stands, to be enthused by.

Benjamin De Ceulaer brought Genk level on 24 minutes and after Khalid Boulahrouz saw red. The ailing visitors then conceded an 87th-minute winner to Elyaniv Barda.

The result means Sporting are rock bottom of Group G with just a draw from three games, leaving them six points adrift of leaders Genk.

An own goal from Fabian Schar and Marco Caneira's strike helped Videoton claim another upset victory as Basle were left to rue a woeful start in a 2-1 defeat in Szekesfehervar.

The Hungarians caused a major upset by sweeping aside Group G favourites Sporting Lisbon three weeks ago and they went ahead as early as the third minute here when Schar diverted Alvaro Brachi's cross into his own net.

Caneira's close-range strike half an hour later put the hosts, managed by Paulo Sousa, further in the ascendancy and it was enough for victory, although Schar made slight amends for his earlier mistake with a header that halved the deficit in injury-time.

Stuttgart's home woes continued as they were held to a 0-0 draw by FC Copenhagen.

Reds boss Bruno Labbadia has come under fire for his side's poor home form that has now seen them fail to record a win in their past six games in all competitions at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

Two quickfire first-half goals gave Steaua Bucharest a richly deserved 2-0 win in a game they thoroughly dominated against Molde.

Vlad Chiriches' spectacular opener was swiftly added to by Raul Rusescu as the Romanian side got the reward for their early dominance.

There was no let-up after the break but Molde keeper Ole Soderberg fought a lone vigil to keep the scoreline respectable for the outclassed Norwegians.




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