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Big names stride to sizeable first-leg triumphs

FC Twente, KKS Lech Poznań, Rosenborg BK and IF Elfsborg all won their opening legs in the UEFA Europa League first qualifying round as the cream rose to the top on Thursday.

Metalurg Skopje celebrate one of two vital away goals in Malta
Metalurg Skopje celebrate one of two vital away goals in Malta ©Domenic Aquilina

FC Twente, KKS Lech Poznań, Rosenborg BK and IF Elfsborg were among the night's big winners as 70 teams contested their opening legs of a UEFA Europa League first qualifying round, though there were also a few surprises.

Twente, who reached last season's round of 16, took a steady first step on their long road towards next May's Amsterdam final, beating Andorran outfit UE Santa Coloma 6-0 in Enschede. The likes of Luuk de Jong and Douglas were absent, but not missed, as doubles for new defensive addition Robbert Schilder and forward Glynor Plet bookended a fine win for Steve McClaren's side, which also brought debut goals for Dušan Tadić and Joshua John.

Six-time Polish champions Lech need no introduction to this competition, having reached the last 32 in 2008/09 and 2010/11 – qualifying from a group containing Manchester City FC, Juventus and Salzburg FC in the latter. After a slow start they put their best foot forward at home against FC Zhetysu Taldykorgan of Kazakhstan, two goals in five minutes after the hour from Rafał Murawski and Gergő Lovrencsics earning a 2-0 win.

Rosenborg have impressive European pedigree, having featured in the UEFA Champions League group stage 11 times since 1995. The 22-time Norwegian champions fell to AEK Larnaca FC in the play-offs of this competition last season, but started this year's edition positively. Two goals from Mikael Dorsin and a Bořek Dočkal strike saw off Northern Ireland's Crusaders FC 3-0 in Belfast. 

Five-time Swedish champions IF Elfsborg, meanwhile, showed their quality with the night's biggest win – an 8-0 rout of Maltese outfit Floriana FC – thanks to a Niklas Hult hat-trick.

Elsewhere, Azeri side İnter Bakı PİK romped to a 5-0 win at JK Trans Narva thanks to two Bachana Tskhadadze goals, Fair Play qualifiers Stabæk Fotball lost 2-0 at Finland's JJK Jyväskylä and Franklin Vicente's double helped Slovenian league runners-up NK Olimpija Ljubljana to a 3-0 home win against Luxembourg's AS Jeunesse Esch.

The 23-time Hungarian champions MTK Budapest – runners-up in the 1964 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup – were held 1-1 at home by FK Senica, FK Sarajevo came from 2-1 down to beat Malta's Hibernians FC 5-2 and it was good night for clubs from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. League runners-up FK Metalurg Skopje bagged two away goals in a draw with Birkirkara FC, and Muarem Bajrami hit a hat-trick (including two penalties) as FK Renova beat Sanmarinese outfit AC Libertas 4-0.

The full list of results can be found here.