Swansea City AFC and AS Saint-Étienne recorded convincing wins in their respective third qualifying round first-leg matches, while there was also joy for Udinese Calcio and Sevilla FC.
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Swansea City AFC, Udinese Calcio, AS Saint-Étienne and Sevilla FC all took significant steps towards the UEFA Europa League play-offs after registering first-leg wins in the third qualifying round.
The four clubs entered the competition at this stage and take sizeable leads into next Thursday's deciders, a place in the 9 August play-off draw the prize.
Michael Laudrup's Swansea marked their return to European football after a 22-year absence by registering the biggest triumph of the night, debutant Wilfried Bony scoring twice in an impressive 4-0 home success against Malmö FF. St-Étienne almost matched them, beginning their campaign with a 3-0 victory against Moldovan visitors FC Milsami Orhei.
Udinese recorded a 3-1 win at NK Široki Brijeg as the Zebrette aim to make the group stage for the third year running. Antonio Di Natale's strike and a Luis Muriel double gave them the upper hand in the tie. Two-time UEFA Cup victors Sevilla, meanwhile, were made to work hard, but goals from Carlos Bacca, Diego Perotti and Daniel Carriço earned the Andalusian side a 3-0 advantage to take to FK Mladost Podgorica.
After making it to the quarter-finals last season, FC Rubin Kazan remain on course to qualify for the group stage of a UEFA competition for the fifth successive campaign after a 2-1 win at Randers FC. VfB Stuttgart, though, have work to do after drawing 1-1 with Bulgarian hosts PFC Botev Plovdiv.
Fallers in the play-offs last season, Trabzonspor AŞ will be confident of having another crack at that stage after Paulo Henrique's fourth goal in 2013/14 qualifying secured a 1-0 win at FC Dinamo Minsk.
FC Minsk succumbed at home by the same scoreline to Scotland's Saint Johnstone FC, while FC Chornomorets Odesa gave themselves an excellent chance to progress with a 3-1 home success against Serbia's former European champions FK Crvena zvezda.
FC Kuban Krasnodar made their European bow in style, prevailing 2-0 at Motherwell FC, and there were also victories for unfancied HNK Rijeka, VMFD Žalgiris, FK Kukësi and FC Dila Gori.