Liverpool and Newcastle register Europa League success
A goal from Liverpool's forgotten man Stewart Downing helped Brendan Rodgers' side beat Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League and go top of Group A.
The winger, who signed for a reputed $32 million back in 2011, grabbed only his fourth goal for the club to see off Anzhi, led by veteran Dutch coach Guus Hiddink.
It could have been a more comfortable margin for Liverpool but Daniel Agger had a goal ruled out when he headed the ball out of Anzhi keeper Vladimir Gabulov's hands and fired home. The defender was yellow carded for his efforts.
The Russian side, who boasted four time African Player of the Year Samuel Eto'o among their ranks, failed to threaten regularly.
Victory represented perfect preparation for Liverpool as they head into one of their biggest games of the season, against Merseyside neighbors Everton on Sunday.
"Great credit to the players after that," Rodgers told match broadcaster ITV. "I haven't even thought about the derby, with our squad it's one game at a time.
"We had good control of the game and when we had to dig deep they put their bodies on the line for us.
"Stewart Downing scored a brilliant goal. He is a wonderful technician off either foot. He has had a rough ride here, it's been a tough time but he is a good guy and an important member of our team and he got a good reception from the Kop."
The other game in Liverpool's group saw Young Boys beat Italian side Udinese 3-1 thanks to a hat-trick from Argentinean striker Raul Marcelo Bobadilla.
Liverpool's fellow Premier League side Newcastle also won 1-0 as French winger Gabriel Obertan scored the only goal of the game against Belgian outfit Club Brugge in Group D.
The other match saw French club Bordeaux draw 1-1 with Maritimo in Portugal.
Slovenian minnows NK Maribor grabbed an impressive point against the third Premier League side in the competition -- Tottenham -- in Group J, Gylfi Sigurdsson saving Spurs' blushes by canceling out Robert Beric's opener.
Italian club Lazio are top of the group from Maribor despite an injury time goal from Jose Toche rescuing a 1-1 draw for Greek outfit Panathinaikos.
Italian giants Inter had to rely on an 88th minute goal from Rodrigo Palacio to help them beat Serbian team Partizan Belgrade 1-0 at the San Siro.
Inter are joint top of Group H with Russian side Rubin Kazan after Alan Kasaev's early goal helped them past Neftchi, from Azerbaijan.
Holders Atletico Madrid made it three wins out of three to maintain their position at the top of Group B. Goals from Diego Costa and Emre helped the Spaniards beat Portuguese side Academica de Coimbra 2-1.
In the group's other game a goal from Frantisek Rajtoral saw Czech club Viktoria Plzen beat Hapoel Tel-Aviv 2-1 in Israel.
Turks Fenerbahce moved to the summit of Group C after Egeman Korkmaz's winner saw them edge past AEL in Cyprus.
German side Borussia Monchengladbach comfortably beat Marseille, from France, in the other match, after goals from Filip Daems and Peniel Kokou Mlapa.
Romanians Steaua Bucuresti made it seven points from their three matches to consolidate top spot in Group E after a 2-0 victory over Molde, from Norway. VfB Stuttgart drew 0-0 with Danish side FC Copenhagen in Germany.
In Group F, Ukrainian team Dnipro claimed the scalp of Italian side Napoli to go top with a 3-0 win. Dutch club PSV Eindhoven drew 1-1 with AIK of Sweden.
Racing Genk surged to the top of Group G with a 2-1 triumph over Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon, who went down to ten men after Khalid Boulahrouz was sent off.
And Hungarian minnows Videoton FC Fehervar recorded a 2-1 victory over Swiss club Basel thanks to Caneira's winner.
In Group I a late Jimmy Briand goal maintained Lyon's 100% record as the French side beat Spain's Athletic Bilbao 2-1.
Sparta Prague eased to a 3-0 win over Israeli side Hapoel Kiryat Shmona in the group's other match in the Czech Republic.
In Group K German outfit Bayer Leverkusen romped to a 4-0 victory over Rapid Vienna in the Austrian capital, Gonzalo Rondon Castro grabbing two goals.
Two late goals from Bonfim Marlos and Ribeiro Cleiton Xavier saw Ukrainian club Metalist Kharkiv triumph 2-1 over Rosenborg in Norway.
In Group L two goals from Maestre Pedro Rios helped Spanish side Levante to a comfortable 3-0 win over Dutch club Twente, managed by former England manager Steve McClaren.
In the other game an injury time goal from Didier Ya Konan helped Germany's Hannover win 2-1 against Helsingborg in Sweden.
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