(GSM) - Liverpool have enough left to work for in the UEFA Europa League after losing their round of sixteen first leg game at Sporting Braga. Porto, Villarreal and FC Twente got important wins.
Underdogs Sporting Braga hosted Liverpool in Portugal and opened the scoring after 18 minutes. Sotiros Kyrgiakos fouled Marcio Mossoro in the penalty area and Alan made no mistake from the spot, 1-0.
Liverpool failed to get an equaliser or even convince in the remainder of the game, which was later dubbed "terrible" by Reds manager Kenny Dalglish.
On a generally disappointing game for English teams, Manchester City suffered a 2-0 defeat at Dynamo Kyiv in Ukraine.
Former AC Milan and Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko scored the opener for Dynamo in the 25 minutes, and Oleg Gusev made it 2-0 in the 77th.
Three Russian teams featured in Thursday's Europa League fixtures, with only Spartak Moskva managing a win.
The Muscovites played away to Ajax and needed only one real chance to make the difference, as Alex found the target from the edge of the area in the 57th minute.
Ajax were dominant throughout most of the game but the Dutch hosts failed to convert their chances. This was also due to an excellent performance from Spartak goalkeeper Dikan.
In another Dutch-Russian clash, Eredivisie champions FC Twente earned a highly convincing 3-0 win over 2008 UEFA Cup winners Zenit St. Petersburg.
Luuk de Jong put the home side in the lead after 25 minutes, slightly against the run of play. Denny Landzaat then doubled the lead four minutes before the hour, and De Jong added a third in the second minute of added time.
FC Porto got an important 1-0 away win at CSKA Moskva meanwhile, with Colombian Fredy Guarin scoring the only goal after 70 minutes.
PSV Eindhoven hosted Scotland's Rangers, a match which was mostly dominated by the home side. Nevertheless, the visitors kept their sheet clean as PSV missed several big chances to break the deadlock. Rangers played on defense throughout most of the game, clearly aiming to leave the Netherlands without having conceded a goal.
One of the most entertaining games of the day was the match between Bayer Leverkusen and Villarreal, in Germany.
Michal Kadlec opened the scoring for Leverkusen after 33 minutes, but things were turned around as Giuseppe Rossi equalised shortly before the break and Nilmar put Villarreal ahead in the 70th minute.
Bayer reacted well with Gonzalo Castro restoring the balance two minutes later, but a last-gasp strike from Nilmar handed Villarreal a spectacular 3-2 win.
In the day's remaining game, Benfica earned a hard-fought 2-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in Portugal. The French initially took the lead with Peguy Luyindula finding the target in the 15th minute, but Maximiliano Pereira leveled three minutes before the break and Franco Jara completed Benfica's turn-around with eight minutes left to play.
The return legs in the Europa League round of sixteen are scheduled for Thursday, March 17th.
|Coach: Domingos Paciência|
for Marcio Mossoró 69'
for Lima 77'
for Paulo César 90+3'
|Suarez glad to be back despite Clasico defeat|
|Primeira Liga Review: Porto thrash Arouca, Pacos continue unbeaten run|
|Eredivisie Review: Ajax avoid slip-up, Vitesse denied by late equaliser|
|Real heart pleases Ancelotti|
|Ligue 1 Review: Sagnol hurting after PSG loss as Nantes extend unbeaten run|
|Luis Enrique acknowledges Real´s Clasico supremacy|
|Ramos delight as Real romp past Barca|
|Red card motivated PSG - Blanc|
|Leicester below par - Pearson|
|Bundesliga Review: Dortmund woes continue, Stuttgart edge thriller|
|Pique puzzled by penalty call|
|Indian Super League Preview: Lopez ban presents test for Atletico|
|Monk pleased to end winless run|
|Klopp vows to fight through rotten run|
|League Two Review: Murray beaten in Hartlepool bow, Luton go top|
|Swansea City 2 Leicester City 0: Bony brace seals important win|
|Warnock fumes at Dawson ´assault´|
|Hughes unhappy with first-half display|
|League One Review: Garner inspires Preston, Peterborough slip up|
|Real Madrid 3 Barcelona 1: Suarez denied in pulsating Clasico|
|Irvine thrilled with Anichebe impact|
|Bruce happy for Jakupovic|
|Milanic departs Leeds|
|Koeman pleased with ´difficult´ win|
|Rodgers content with Balotelli performance|
|Championship Review: Magic eight for Bournemouth, Wolves on the climb|
|Poyet left to rue more mistakes|
|PSG 3 Bordeaux 0: Lucas double helps champions close on Marseille|
|Wenger salutes ´focused´ Arsenal|
|Scottish Premiership Review: Hamilton beaten at Dundee, Inverness close gap|
|Indian Super League Review: Chennaiyin drubbed by Dynamos|
|Sunderland 0 Arsenal 2: Sanchez double the difference|
|West Brom 2 Crystal Palace 2: Berahino´s last-gasp penalty saves hosts|
|Liverpool 0 Hull City 0: Rodgers´ men frustrated in goalless draw|
|Southampton 1 Stoke City 0: Mane puts Saints second|
|Allardyce hopeful on Sakho injury|
|Borussia Dortmund 0 Hannover 1: Kiyotake increases pressure on Klopp|
|We did not deserve to lose - Pellegrini|
|Bremen dismiss Dutt after poor start|
|West Ham 2 Manchester City 1: Amalfitano and Sakho give hosts deserved win|
|QPR v Aston Villa: Redknapp wants Loftus Road to roar|
|Inzaghi warns against Milan complacency|
|Benitez shrugs off criticism|
|Pires, Lopez punished after spat|
|Mazzarri shrugs off sack rumours|
|Dyche not underestimating Everton|
|Melbourne Victory 5 Melbourne City 2: Berisha treble inspires derby win|
|Allegri hits back at Juve critics|
|Western Sydney Wanderers 1 Al Hilal 0: Juric earns slender lead|
|Redknapp denies Taarabt´s training accusations|
|United are in a fantastic position - Mourinho|
|Allardyce hails ´loyal´ West Ham owners|
|Scrap AFCON to stop Ebola - Song|
|Dutt: Werder deserved to lose|
|Wenger laments lack of confidence|
|Pardew urges Newcastle to ´challenge´ Champions League hopefuls|
|Chicago Fire 2 Houston Dynamo 1: Hosts give Pause fitting farewell|
|Falcao better at United - Filipe Luis|
|Blanc: I told you so|
|Crystal Palace to be sold - reports|
|Van Gaal backs ´unlucky´ Van Persie|
|Vitoria Setubal 0 Vitoria Guimaraes 1: Afonso´s goal enough|
|Delph sidelined for 2014|
|Carrick: I want to give Van Gaal selection headache|
|Aberdeen 1 Motherwell 0: Hayes strike enough to sink lowly visitors|
|Fulham 3 Charlton Athletic 0: Parker and Rodallega move Fulham out of drop zone|
|Celta Vigo 3 Levante 0: Alcaraz defeated in first game in charge|
|Toulouse 0 Lens 2: Visitors escape drop zone|
|Werder Bremen 0 Cologne 1: Ujah adds to bottom club´s woes|
|ADO Den Haag 2 Dordrecht 0: Kramer on target again|
|Possession key for Luis Enrique|
|FA charge Gillingham with ´race victimisation´|
|Poyet issues Sunderland rallying cry|
|Ancelotti ready to spring Clasico surprise|
|Suarez receiving help for biting ´impulse´|
|Tottenham v Newcastle United: Confident visitors look for White Hart Lane repeat|
|Manchester United v Chelsea: Van Gaal expecting Costa to play|
|Guardiola: Upcoming run crucial|
|UEFA investigate Daugavpils over match-fixing after arrests|
|Pires ´hit in face´ by opposition coach - Zico|
|Di Maria declared fit for Chelsea test|
|Burnley v Everton: Dyche relying on mental toughness|
|Milan v Fiorentina: Poli awaits crucial test|
|Serbia to appeal UEFA decision|
|Cesena v Inter: Milan club out to end tumultuous week|
|Bayern mauling changes nothing, says Garcia|
|Getafe v Atletico Madrid: Griezmann hopes to kick on|
|Cisse a doubt for Tottenham clash|
|Ferdinand plans to retire at end of season|
|Martinez pleased with stronger defensive displays|
|League One Preview: Crewe out to exit bottom four|
|Aguero not yet at his best, warns Pellegrini|
|AS Vita v ES Setif: Ibenge´s men seek to end 41-year wait|
|Juventus v Palermo: Buffon expecting response|
|League Two Preview: Life under Murray begins for Hartlepool|
|Villa have Cleverley option - Lambert|
|Costa has a ´little chance´ for United clash, says Mourinho|
|Brisbane Roar 0 Sydney 2: Janko scores wonder goal|
|Borussia Monchengladbach v Bayern Munich: Benatia calls for focus|
|Busquets available for El Clasico|
|Jones calls on United to attack|
|Coutinho vows to improve|
|Suarez not a factor - Ancelotti|
|Bruce wary of Balotelli backlash|
|Pogba extends Juve deal|
|Serbia awarded Albania walkover but deducted three points|
|Walcott to make comeback against Burnley|
|Robben lauds ´perfect´ life at Bayern|
|Vieira: Chelsea can better Arsenal´s ´Invincibles´ mark|
|No fracture for Bender - Klopp|
|Pepe a doubt for El Clasico|
|Allardyce: Carroll two or three weeks from return|
|Defoe unsure of future|
|CONCACAF Champions League Review: Saprissa overhaul Kansas City|
|Liga del Futbol Profesional Boliviano Review: Comeback win sends Oriente Petrolero second|
|Deportivo Capiata 0 Boca Juniors 1 (agg 1-1, 4-3 on penalties): Argentines reach quarters|
|Herediano 5 Perez Zeledon 1: Hosts cruise to victory|
|Liga MX Preview: Queretaro desperate to keep play-off hopes alive|
|First-half profligacy could have cost us - Favre|
|Lille will beat Everton next time - Enyeama|
|Montella pleased with Fiorentina response|
|Benitez blames lack of ´desire´|
|Dunga plays down captaincy controversy|