Europa League: Ngog gives Liverpool slim lead after another disappointing European display; Fulham beat Shakhtar; Amauri’s brace puts Juventus in control against Ajax

Liverpool 1 – Unirea Urziceni 0 (Europa League final-32 first-leg, February 18, 2010) Another disappointing performance from Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool in Europe this season was rescued in the 81st minute with a goal from David Ngog after substitutes Babel and Pacheco had combined.

Fulham 2 – Shakhtar Donetsk 1 (Europa League final-32 first-leg, February 18, 2010) Zoltan Gera profited from some Fabianski-esque goalkeeping to put Fulham in front after only three minutes. Luiz Adriano equalised just after the half hour with a smooth finish after rounding Schwarzer. Bobby Zamora smashed home the winner on 63 and the Cottagers can now travel to the Ukraine in good heart.

Panathinaikos 3 – Roma 2 (Europa League final-32 first-leg, February 18, 2010) Mirko Vucinic scored one of the goals of the week – a classic right foot curler from the edge of the box – to put Roma ahead at Panathinaikos. Dimitris Salpigidis equalised midway through the second half and Roma then looked on course for victory after David Pizarro scored from the spot with ten minutes to go. Late goals from Christodoulopoulos and Djobril Cisse gave the Greek giants hope for the return in Italy.

Atletico Madrid 1 – Galatasaray 1 (Europa League final-32 first-leg, February 18, 2010) Atletico Madrid continued where they left off against Barcelona, Jose Antonio Reyes scoring a stunning left footed free-kick against Galatasaray. Kader Keita equalised with thirteen minutes remaining.

Hertha Berlin 1 – Benfica 1 (Europa League final-32 first-leg, February 18, 2010) Angel Di Maria added to his growing reputation with Benfica’s opener at Hertha Berlin, a Javi Garcia og levelled things up for the struggling Bundesliga side.

Hamburg 1 – PSV 0 (Europa League final-32 first-leg, February 18, 2010) A penalty from Marcell Jansen saw Hamburg edge in front of PSV in the first half.

FC Copenhagen 1 – Marseille 3 (Europa League final-32 first-leg, February 18, 2010) Mamadou Niang gave OM the lead with 18 minutes remaining. Jesper Gronkjaer equalised from the penalty spot but late goals from Hatem Ben Arfa and Charles Kabore put the French side almost certainly through to the next round.

Athletic Bilbao 1 – Anderlecht 1 (Europa League final-32 first-leg, February 18, 2010) A strong run from Romelu Lukaku and shot led to Lucas Biglia putting Anderlecht in front. Mikel San Jose equalised on 58.

Ajax 1 – Juventus 2 (Europa League final-32 first-leg, February 18, 2010) Miralem Sulejmani powered down the left hand side and fired Ajax in front on 16 minutes, just after the half hour Amauri equalised with a powerful header. Amauri grabbed his third goal in two games with another header just before the hour to put Juve seemingly in control of the tie.

Lille 2 – Fenerbahce 1 (Europa League final-32 first-leg, February 18, 2010) Florent Balmont fired Lille into the lead from a tight angle at home to Fenerbahce after just three minutes. Wederson equalised just two minutes later with a long-range effort that looped over the keeper. Lille retook the lead seven minutes into the second half when Pierre-Alain Frau nipped in to punish a poor defensive header.

FC Twente 1 – Werder Bremen 0 (Europa League final-32 first-leg, February 18, 2010) A cracking rocket of a left footed strike from Theo Janssen gave FC Twente the lead against Werder Bremen.

Villarreal 2 – Wolfsburg 2 (Europa League final-32 first-leg, February 18, 2010) Two minutes before the break Marcus Senna put the “Yellow Submarine” one-up at home to Wolfsburg with a beautifully placed free-kick. The German champions responded with an equaliser on 66 minutes from Brazilian striker Grafite. Late drama saw Ivan Marcano sent off for the home side for pulling down Grafite who claimed Wolfsburg’s second from the penalty spot only for Marco Ruben to equalise.

Club Brugge 1 – Valencia 0 (Europa League final-32 first-leg, February 18, 2010) After David Silva had been sent off for two bookable offences, Dorge Kouemaha saw his tame effort put Clube Brugge in front at home to Valencia.

Standard Liege 3 – RB Salzburg 2 (Europa League final-32 first-leg, February 18, 2010) Serial goal scorer Marc Janko gave the Austrian side a two-goal lead with a brace in the first half. The home side hit back in the second half with two goals from Axel Witsel, the first a penalty and a 30-yard stunner from Igor De Camargo.

Rubin Kazan 3 – Hapoel Tel Aviv 0 (Europa League final-32 first-leg, February 18, 2010) After struggling from the off on a freezing night in Kazan (early Rubin chances here and here), the Israelis fell behind to the reigning Russian champs Rubin after 14 minutes when a ball over the top was brilliantly controlled by Aleksandr Bukharov, his first touch lifting the ball majestically over Walid Badir, before the forward rounded the keeper and finished into an empty net. Hapoel continued to struggle in the ice-cold temperatures, Bukharov had a goal chalked off while Semak tested keeper Enyeama. And it was no surprise when Kazan doubled their lead in the 23rd minute when a mistake in the visitors backline was exploited by Aleksandr Bukharov volleying in his second of the game. (First half highlights here.) Hapoel failed to play much better after the break, and it was no surprise when Rubin added a third in the 69th minute as Sergey Semak claimed a goal his performance richly deserved.


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