AEK Larnaca FC, KR Reykjavík and Llanelli AFC were among the less celebrated names to shine as Fulham FC, FK Austria Wien and FC Salzburg made comfortable UEFA Europa League progress.
Larnaca's Gonzalo García – who once played alongside Andrés Iniesta and Fernando Torres in Spain's Under-17 side – scored the first hat-trick of the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League campaign as his side won 8-0 against Floriana FC in Malta, while two Jordan Follows goals helped Welsh outfit Llanelli win 2-1 at home against the winners of the 1980/81 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, FC Dinamo Tbilisi. "The lads can be proud of what they achieved tonight," said Llanelli manager Andy Legg.
KR can be prouder still having produced perhaps the biggest shock of the night by overcoming MŠK Žilina 3-0 in the Icelandic capital. Their Slovakian visitors played in the UEFA Champions League group stage last season, but with Bjarni Gudjónsson and Kjartan Henry Finnbogason striking for KR before Viktor Bjarki Arnarsson made it 3-0 from the spot, Pavel Hapal's side, who had midfielder Peter Šulek sent off early in the second half, face an uphill task to reach the third qualifying round this time around.
Iceland had further reason to celebrate as FH Hafnarfjördur struck back to earn an unexpected 1-1 draw against Portuguese visitors CD Nacional.
There were to be no surprises for Austria's two group stage regulars on a night of 40 fixtures – the biggest single round in any UEFA club competition; Austria Wien won 3-0 at FK Rudar Pljevlja, while Salzburg prevailed 4-1 against Latvian side FHK Liepājas Metalurgs. Fulham, meanwhile, were briefly pegged back to 1-1 at Crusaders FC, but a Bobby Zamora header and a Danny Murphy penalty netted Martin Jol's men a 3-1 win in Belfast.
ADO Den Haag did not have it quite so easy in Lithuania; a man down at FK Tauras, they looked to be headed for a 2-1 defeat when a cross from Regilio Seedorf – a second cousin of one-time Oranje star Clarence Seedorf – snuck under their crossbar on 73 minutes. However, Lex Immers equalised with a penalty before Kazimieras Gnedojus planted the ball into his own net four minutes into added time to give the Dutch side a 3-2 win.
The last kick of the game brought misery for Finland's TPS Turku, with substitute Geoffrey Cabeke slamming home to give Belgium's first European contenders of the season, KVC Westerlo, a 1-0 win. Romania's earliest risers, CS Gaz Metan Mediaş, were not so fortunate, going down 1-0 to Ilja Venäläinen's goal for another Finnish side, KuPS Kuopio.
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