Romanian champions FC Steaua Bucuresti and FC Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine both began their UEFA Cup campaigns in emphatic fashion this evening. uefa.com rounds up some the action.
Vålerenga IF 0-3 FC Steaua Bucuresti
Mirel Radoi, Victoras Iacob and Dorin Goian were all on target for Steaua as they built an imposing advantage ahead of their home leg in Romania. Vålerenga struggled to control the pace and inventive movement of the visiting attack, and while Tore André Flo went close to scoring at the other end, the Norwegian outfit never looked like threatening Steaua's superiority.
FC Shakhtar Donetsk 4-1 Debreceni VSC
Brazilian striker Brandão struck two first-half goals as Shakhtar completed a comprehensive victory against Hungarian hopefuls Debrecen. Brandão was instrumental in a fine home performance with the Ukrainian side largely untroubled throughout. Blumer Elano put the home side ahead after three minutes, and after Brandão's double strike, Andrei Vorobey completed the scoring for Shakhtar before substitute Ibrahim Sidibe gave Debrecen a glimmer of hope with an 89th-minute effort.
SK Brann 1-2 FC Lokomotiv Moskva
Russian Premier League leaders FC Lokomotiv Moskva recovered from a goal down in Norway with strikes by Francesco Ruopolo and Igor Lebedenko rescuing Vladimir Eshtrekov's team in the second half and giving them a vital lead ahead of the second leg. Scottish striker Robbie Winters had put Brann ahead late in the first half after he had tested Sergei Ovchinnikov early on.
FC Zenit St. Petersburg 0-0 AEK Athens FC
AEK produced a battling defensive display at the Petrovski Stadium in St. Petersburg with goalkeeper Stefano Soretino in inspired form. Soretino pulled off a string of saves to deny the home team in front of an enthusiastic crowd, while Olexandr Gorshkov and Andrei Arshavin both missed good chances. Zenit will face a tough task in the second leg having failed to convert their possession into goals.
Hibernian FC 0-0 FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
Hibernian were denied by the woodwork twice as their tie against Dnipro at Easter Road finished goalless. Midfielder Scott Brown drove a shot against the post after 45 minutes while substitute Ivan Sproule did the same late in the second half. Goalkeeper Zbigniew Malkowski also repelled two fine efforts from Sergei Kornilenko, however.
PAOK FC 1-1 FC Metalurh Donetsk
Serhiy Shyschenko's second-half equaliser earned Metalurh a draw after Dimitrios Salpingidis put PAOK ahead on 23 minutes in Salonika. Shyschenko proved a threat throughout despite Rolf Fringer's PAOK being on top for long periods, with midfield player Lampros Vangelis nearly doubling the lead with a long-range effort. Olexandr Kosyrin wasted a chance to win it for the visitors in the closing stages.
Maccabi Petach-Tikva FC 0-2 FK Partizan
Goals from Simon Vukčević and Srdjan Radonjić gave Partizan a deserved away win in Petach-Tivka. Partizan goalkeeper Ivica Kralj had a busy time early on as the home side pressed and Andre Caldeira went close. But Partizan took control in the second half. Striker Omer Golan missed a late penalty for the home side who now have a mountain to climb in the return leg.
FK Crvena Zvezda 0-0 SC Braga
Crvena Zvezda had to settle for a goalless draw in the first leg of their UEFA Cup first-round encounter following a brilliant performance from Braga goalkeeper Jorge Paulo Santos. Santos produced a series of superb saves, especially in the second half, as Braga were forced to hang on for a draw. Henrique Joao Tomas, Vandinho and Fernando Abel all missed chances to score for the visitors.
PFC Litex Lovech 2-2 KRC Genk
Second-half goals by Bob Peeters and Nenad Stojanović handed Genk a comfortable-looking two-goal cushion in this absorbing first-leg encounter after Litex had dominated proceedings in the first half. Mihail Venkov then struck to give the home side late hope, and after an indifferent individual performance, Milivoje Novakovič was on hand to score the equaliser in the dying seconds to complete a spirited comeback by the home side.
Vitória SC 3-0 Wisla Kraków
Guimarães overwhelmed their Polish visitors, with goals from Cléber, Mário Sérgio and Selim Benachour handing them a seemingly unassailable lead in the tie. Cléber converted a penalty on 24 minutes, and with 20 minutes left Mário Sérgio doubled the home side's advantage. Benachour completed the scoring two minutes later and the Portuguese side will be confident of progressing to the second round.
FC Baník Ostrava 2-0 SC Heerenveen
First-half goals from Maroš Klimpl and Lukáš Magera gave the side from the Czech Republic a 2-0 lead and they held on despite a strong finish by their Dutch visitors. Petter Hansson had the best chance to seize a goal back for the visitors, heading a Ugur Yildirim cross goalwards, but goalkeeper Martin Raška pulled off a superb save to protect the two-goal cushion for Baník.
SK Slavia Praha 2-0 Cork City FC
Tomáš Hrdlička and Karel Piták both struck in the second half of an entertaining game as Slavia converted just two of the numerous chances they created. Cork also had their moments, striking the woodwork no less than three times, but the Irish contenders left empty-handed and face a big test to overturn the two-goal deficit at Turner's Cross.
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