Friday, 23 August 2013

UEFA Europa League Wrap: Tottenham, Swansea cruise to wins

Tottenham and Swansea City both hit five goals to all but secure qualification to the group stages of the UEFA Europa League on Thursday. Andros Townsend was particularly impressive for Tottenham, who ran riot in a 5-0 away victory to Georgian outfit Dinamo Tbilisi.
The winger scored one and provided assists for Paulinho and Roberto Soldado as Andre Villas-Boas' side eased into a 3-0 lead. Danny Rose added a stunning curling effort from long range before Soldado notched his second to complete the rout. Tottenham's fellow Premier League club Swansea were equally dominant in their 5-1 demolition of Petrolul Ploiesti at the Liberty Stadium. A Wayne Routledge double sandwiched Michu's effort as Swansea raced into a 3-0 lead at half-time. Close-season signings Wilfried Bony and Alejandro Pozuelo added to the tally after the break, before the Romanian side pulled one back three minutes short of the full-time whistle through Gheorghe Grozav's superb overhead kick. Salzburg were also 5-0 victors, as they dominated Zalgiris in their home leg at the Red Bull Arena. Serie A outfit Udinese face an uphill battle to save their Europa League campaign though, as they suffered a shock 3-1 defeat at home to Slovan Liberec. Gabriel Silva had cancelled out Sergiy Rybalka's opener, but the Czech outfit scored twice against the run of play in the second half through Dzon Delarge and Ondrej Kusnir to take control of the tie. Elsewhere, Sevilla recovered from an early setback to defeat Slask Wroclaw 4-1 at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Marco Paixao put the away side ahead, but Ivan Rakitic, a double from Marko Marin and a strike from Kevin Gameiro ensured a comfortable win for the La Liga outfit. Fiorentina will be confident of progression, as Juan Cuadrado and Mario Gomez helped Vincenzo Montella's side to a 2-1 win over Grasshopper Zurich at the Stadion Letzigrund.  Real Betis were also 2-1 winners away to Jablonec, while Rijeka and Tromso won by the same scoreline at home to Stuttgart and Besiktas respectively.  Meanwhile, Frankfurt, Standard Liege and Rubin Kazan all take 2-0 leads back to their home grounds, as they overcame Qarabag, Minsk and Molde. The matches involving Kuban' Krasnodar and Feyenoord, Partizan Belgrade and Thun, Chornomorets and Skenderbeu Korce and Rapid Vienna and Dila all ended 1-0 to the home teams, while Braga won by the same result away at Pandurii Targu Jiu.  Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and AZ Alkmaar earned 3-1 triumphs away to Kalju and Atromitos respectively, and there was also away success for Dynamo Kiev, who earned a 3-2 victory over Aktobe.  Ligue 1 side Saint-Etienne took the lead  three times away to Esbjerg, but it was not enough to stop them falling to a 4-3 defeat courtesy of late strikes from Hans Henrik Andreasen and Peter Ankersen. Maccabi Haifa, Apollon and Estoril all produced 2-0 victories at home to Astra Giurgiu, Nice and Pasching respectively.  And there was also 2-0 wins for Trabzonspor and Genk in their away matches with Kukesi and FH.  The fixtures between St Gallen and Spartak Moscow, Elfsborg and Nordsjaelland, Vojvodina and Sheriff and Zulte-Waregem and APOEL all finished 1-1.

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