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Big guns make fast Europa League start

Published: Thursday 2 July 2009, 23.42CET
Anorthosis Famagusta FC and Rosenborg BK both made impressive starts as the opening 23 fixtures in the inaugural UEFA Europa League were played across Europe in the first qualifying round.
Big guns make fast Europa League start
Olimpi's Giorgi Megreladze scored the first goal of the inaugural UEFA Europa League ©Badri Ketiladze
 
 
Published: Thursday 2 July 2009, 23.42CET

Big guns make fast Europa League start

Anorthosis Famagusta FC and Rosenborg BK both made impressive starts as the opening 23 fixtures in the inaugural UEFA Europa League were played across Europe in the first qualifying round.

Anorthosis Famagusta FC and Rosenborg BK both made impressive starts as the opening 23 fixtures in the inaugural UEFA Europa League were played across Europe in the first qualifying round.

Comfortable wins
Cypriot side Anorthosis, who took part in last season's UEFA Champions League group stage, ran out 5-0 winners against Luxembourg's UN Käerjéng 97. The hosts were two up after 25 minutes thanks to an own goal and a Nicos Katsavakis strike. A second-half Nikolaos Frousos double and another from Cafú secured a comfortable win ahead of next Thursday's deciding leg. Norwegian league leaders Rosenborg travelled to the Faroe Islands and a meeting with NSÍ Runavík. Two goals from Dario Zahora and a late Mikael Lustig penalty sealed a 3-0 win and means they should have little to worry about in the home return next week.

Veteran stars
Helsingborgs BK's Olympia Stadium was last used for the Italy-Germany semi-final in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship and tonight it was the home side who found it a happy hunting ground as they completed a 3-1 win over Armenian visitors FC MIKA with two goals from 37-year-old striker Henrik Larsson. Elsewhere, former AFC Ajax and Liverpool FC star Jari Litmanen rolled back the years as he provided three assists in FC Lahti's 4-1 win over KS Dinamo Tirana. Other big winners on the night included Georgian outfit FC Zestafoni who swept aside their hosts Lisburn Distillery FC 5-1. Randers FC completed a bad night for Northern Irish sides with a comprehensive 4-0 success over Linfield FC and a Jordi Cruyff-inspired Valletta FC strode to a 3-0 victory against Icelandic representatives Keflavík.

Looking forward
As the second qualifying draw has already been made, many teams are fighting for the chance of gaining a plum tie. JK Trans Narva welcomed Slovenian side NK Rudar Velenje to Estonia with both sides knowing a good result could put them a long way towards two legs against 1991 European Champion Clubs' Cup winners FK Crvena Zvezda. It was the visiting players who put themselves in the box seat with a comfortable 3-0 win.

Maiden goal
FC Olimpi Rustavi player Giorgi Megreladze had the honour of scoring the first goal in the competition's history when he gave his side the lead against B36 Tórshavn. The Georgian club ran out 2-0 winners and Megreladze told uefa.com: "I'm happy that my goal was the first one. It is really important to me and I hope to score more." One of the shocks of the night came in Scotland where Welsh side Llanelli AFC won 1-0 at Motherwell FC to give Jim Gannon an inauspicious start to his reign with the Steelmen. A full set of all the night's results can be seen by clicking here.

Last updated: 03/07/09 13.43CET

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