Tottenham Hotspur FC, Swansea City AFC and FC Salzburg registered emphatic wins while HNK Rijeka and FC Slovan Liberec caused upsets as the UEFA Europa League play-offs kicked off.
Tottenham Hotspur FC, Swansea City AFC and FC Salzburg led the way with sizeable victories as HNK Rijeka and FC Slovan Liberec caused shocks in their UEFA Europa League play-off openers.
Two-time UEFA Cup winners Spurs hit five without reply at FC Dinamo Tbilisi, summer signing Roberto Soldado scoring twice, while Salzburg followed suit as Jonathan Soriano's hat-trick helped them to a 5-0 win of their own against Lithuania's VMFD Žalgiris. Tottenham's Premier League counterparts Swansea overwhelmed visitors FC Petrolul Ploieşti 5-1, substitute Alejandro Pozuelo registering the Welsh side's fifth.
Pozuelo's former employers, Real Betis Balompié, earned an advantage ahead of next Thursday's return with a 2-1 win at FK Jablonec. The game of the evening, meanwhile, occurred in Denmark, where Esbjerg fB fell behind three times but still managed to post a 4-3 triumph over AS Saint-Étienne.
Liberec have given themselves an outstanding chance of progress after a momentous defensive performance helped secure a surprise 3-1 win at Udinese Calcio, while late heroics from goalkeeper Ivan Vargić helped Rijeka earn a 2-1 lead to take to VfB Stuttgart.
Ibrahima Baldé's goal sealed a 1-0 home win for FC Kuban Krasnodar against Feyenoord. Fellow first-timers FC Astra, FK Kukësi and CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu were not so successful, all suffering defeats, but Estoril Praia came out on top in the battle of the debutants as they beat Austrian third-tier side FC Pasching 2-0.
Finding themselves in the play-offs following defeats in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, Molde FK and FH Hafnarfjördur succumbed 2-0 at home to FC Rubin Kazan and KRC Genk respectively, the same scoreline by which Eintracht Frankfurt overcame Qarabağ FK.
FC Spartak Moskva and ACF Fiorentina both travelled to Switzerland, with the latter securing a 2-1 win at Grasshopper Club and Spartak drawing 1-1 against FC St Gallen. Sevilla FC fell behind, but two goals from Marko Marin helped them defeat WKS Śląsk Wrocław 4-1.