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UEFA Europa League wrap: Liverpool stunned by Udinese, Tottenham held & Newcastle cruise

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Two nights of scintillating Champions League football gave way to the Europa League on Thursday in what was a night of mixed fortunes for the English clubs. Liverpool were stunned 3-2 by Udinese at Anfield while Tottenham Hotspur were held to yet another draw, with Panathinaikos conjuring up a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw at Athens. Newcastle United were the only victorious English side on the night as they cruised to a comfortable 3-0 triumph over Bordeaux. Defending Champions Atletico Madrid also emerged victorious from their home game against Viktoria Plzen thanks to a dramatic injury-time winner from Cristian Rodriguez. Elsewhere, PSV Eindhoven, Inter Milan, Lyon and Marseille picked up wins, while Athletic Bilbao succumbed to yet another defeat.

Liverpool 2-3 Udinese

Liverpool’s resurgence under Brendan Rodgers was cut short last night as Udinese ran riot at Anfield. Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling started on the bench for the home side but they still took a deserved lead in the 23rd minute through Jonjo Shelvey, who headed down Stewart Downing’s cross from the right. The game then turned on its head after the restart as Udinese’s star poacher - Antonio Di Natale equalized a minute into the 2nd half. The 34 year old exchanged a sublime give-and-go with Andrea Lazzari on the left after Glen Johnson lost possession before firing an expert strike into the far corner past Pepe Reina.

The home side then found themselves two goals down after a devastating spell around the 70th minute as Sebastian Coates first turned the ball into his own net from Lazzari’s free-kick before Giovanni Pasquale sealed the points with a thunderous strike from the edge of the box in the 72nd minute after great hold up play by Di Natale. Liverpool gave the scoreline a semblance of respectability thanks to a fine free-kick from Suarez 15 minutes from time. Liverpool drop to 3rd place in Group A after that defeat, with Anzhi and Udinese holding the top two positions respectively.

Panathinaikos 1-1 Tottenham

Andre Villas-Boas remained true to his word and started all his stars for the trip to the Olympic Stadium in Athens. But the opener on 35 minutes came from an unlikely source as Michael Dawson headed in Tom Huddlestone’s in-swinging free-kick from the left. Spurs were full value for the lead as they created the better chances and dominated possession for large periods. But Dawson, who was captain for the day, ruined his goal-scoring evening by allowing Jose Toche to race past him and net the equalizer 13 minutes from time. Giourkas Seitaridis played a speculative through ball behind the defence on the right channel and Dawson failed to track his man as Toche took full advantage by poking the ball past the approaching Hugo Lloris. 3rd placed Spurs remain winless in Group J, two points behind Lazio at the top while the Greeks remain rooted to the bottom despite the draw.

Newcastle 3-0 Bordeaux

Alan Pardew put out a fairly strong side for the visit of the French outfit as Yohan Cabaye, Cheik Tiote and Papiss Demba Cisse featured for the Magpies. Shola Ameobi got the ball rolling for the home side by netting the opener on 16 minutes, putting the finishing touch on a move started by Cabaye and fashioned by Gabriel Obertan’s wing-play. Newcastle went into the break two goals to the good thanks to a disastrous own goal from Carlos Souza Henrique on 40 minutes as he inadvertently diverted Danny Simpson’s cross from the right past his own keeper. A vital spell at the start of the 2nd half secured Newcastle’s first victory in Group D as Henri Saivet hit the woodwork on 48 minutes and then saw Cisse seal the game a few seconds later with a typically sublime finish. The Magpies now lead the table with four points, with Bordeaux a point and a place behind.

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Viktoria Plzen

Atletico Madrid made it 14 consecutive victories in the competition with a dramatic victory over Czech outfit Plzen as Rodriguez picked a great time to open his account for the club, volleying in the winner three minutes into stoppage time. Atletico sit pretty atop Group B with six points while Plzen are in 2nd spot.

Selected Results:

Liverpool 2-3 Udinese
Anzhi 2-0 Young Boys
Atletico Madrid 1-0 Viktoria Plzen
Marseille 5-1 AEL Limassol
Borussia Monchegladbach 2-4 Fenerbahce
Newcastle 3-0 Bordeaux
PSV Eindhoven 3-0 Napoli
Neftchi 1-3 Inter Milan
Panathinaikos 1-1 Tottenham
Lazio 1-0 NK Maribor