Swansea City, Tottenham and Fiorentina were among the winners in an action-packed opening round of UEFA Europa League group stage fixtures.
Premier League outfit Swansea produced a superb display to defeat three-time winners of European club football’s secondary tournament Valencia 3-0 in the Group A fixture at Mestalla on Thursday, and in doing so secured their first away victory in Europe for 31 years.
Michael Laudrup’s side were handed an early bonus when Adil Rami received his marching orders for bringing down Ivorian Wilfried Bony, and four minutes later the striker piled further misery on the La Liga side with the opening goal.
Michu doubled their advantage in the 58th minute, before Jonathan de Guzman sealed a comfortable victory with a wonderful 30-yard free-kick.
A first-half brace from Jermain Defoe helped Tottenham secure a 3-0 triumph over Norwegian outfit Tromso in Group K at White Hart Lane.
The England international grabbed his first by dinking over Marcus Sahlman from Erik Lamela’s pass, before adding a second with a left-foot strike across the goalkeeper when he met Lewis Holtby’s intricate throughball.
Christian Eriksen notched his first goal for Tottenham in the dying stages to complete a comprehensive win for the home side.
At the Stadio Artemio Franchi, Fiorentina got their campaign off to a winning start with an easy 3-0 success over Portugal’s Pacos de Ferreira.
Strikes from Gonzalo Rodriguez, Ryder Matos and Giuseppe Rossi were enough to hand the Serie A outfit a winning start in Group E.
Elsewhere, Maribor were thrashed 5-2 at home by Rubin Kazan, while Salzburg secured a 4-0 rout at home to Elfsborg.
Wigan Athletic’s first ever European fixture ended in a 0-0 draw away to Zulte-Waregem, while the fixtures featuring Maccabi Tel Aviv and APOEL and Real Betis and Lyon also produced the same scoreline.
Goals from Vitolo and Kevin Gameiro sandwiched Bruno Miguel’s effort as Sevilla were 2-1 victors away to Estoril.
Vaclav Kadlec, Marco Russ and Constant Djakpa all notched as Frankfurt swept aside Bordeaux 3-0 at the Commerzbank-Arena.
Meanwhile, Chornomorets and Esbjerg were both 2-1 victors on their travels, the former defeated Dinamo Zagreb while the latter overcame Standard Liege.
Romanian side Pandurii Târgu Jiu fell to a 1-0 defeat at home to Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, while the same fate befell Dynamo Kiev and Maccabi Haifa who were beaten by a single goal at their own grounds by Genk and AZ Alkmaar respectively.
PSV Eindhoven suffered a shock 2-0 home loss by Ludogorets, while St Gallen won by the same scoreline at home to Russian side Kuban Krasnodar.
Bundesliga side Freiburg surrendered a two-goal advantage as they were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Slovan Liberec, and Anzhi Makhachkala gained a creditable point with a 0-0 stalemate at Sheriff.
Lazio and Thun were both 1-0 victors over Legia Warsaw and Rapid Vienna, while Greek side PAOK secured a 2-1 home triumph over Shakhter Karagandy.
Elsewere, Vitoria Guimaraes thrashed Rijeka 4-0, while Trabzonspor won 2-1 on their visit to Apollon.
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