They may have been without Falcao, but Club Atlético de Madrid got their UEFA Europa League title defence off to a successful start while Liverpool FC also opened with victory on Thursday.
Diego Simeone opted to rest his star forward, who has been the top scorer in this competition for the past two seasons. It did nothing to knock Atlético out of their stride, though, as they sauntered to a 3-0 win at Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC in Group B.
Liverpool also took three points away from home to kick off their campaign, although the manner of their success was in stark contrast to Atlético's. After establishing a 2-1 lead, they found themselves behind to BSC Young Boys midway through the second half only to run out 5-3 winners.
Substitute Jonjo Shelvey scored the fourth and fifth goals, while in Group A's other game, Antonio Di Natale also came off the bench to make an impact, striking Udinese Calcio's added-time equaliser at home to FC Anzhi Makhachkala.
Like Liverpool, FC Internazionale Milano have lifted three UEFA Cups, yet they needed an added-time goal from Yuto Nagatomo to rescue a point at home to FC Rubin Kazan. Another team to force a draw at the death were Olympique de Marseille, who came from two down to deny hosts Fenerbahçe SK an opening-day triumph in Group H.
FC Girondins de Bordeaux and SSC Napoli both won 4-0 at home, with Eduardo Vargas grabbing a hat-trick for the Serie A side. Perennial UEFA Champions League contestants Olympique Lyonnais also prevailed on home turf, defeating AC Sparta Praha 2-1.
In probably the big surprise of the night, NK Maribor beat Panathinaikos FC 3-0, while FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk may have raised a few eyebrows by scoring two without reply against former European champions PSV Eindhoven.
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