PSV Eindhoven, Werder Bremen and Everton moved closer to the next round of the UEFA Cup on Wednesday with victories in their first-leg matches.
With Europe's second-tier competition resuming at the round-of-32 stage after a two month break, PSV beat Helsingborg 2-0, Werder Bremen defeated Braga 3-0 and Everton won 2-0 at SK Brann.
Also among the 10 matches on Wednesday, former UEFA Cup winners Galatasaray drew 0-0 with Bayer Leverkusen in Istanbul, Marseille beat Spartak Moscow 3-0 and Anderlecht downed visiting Bordeaux 2-1.
Zenit St. Petersburg beat Villarreal 1-0, and Panathinaikos drew 0-0 with Rangers in Glasgow.
Werder Bremen goalkeeper Tim Wiese saved two first half penalties by Braga to help his team to victory.
Werder took a fifth-minute lead with a 20m free kick by central defender Naldo and Wiese preserved the advantage in the 10th minute when he dived to his right to deny Roland Linz.
"It wasn't really a penalty," Linz said. "I wasn't touched, but the referee gave it. You should score if you are awarded a penalty in an away game."
Daniel Jensen made it 2-0 in the 27th minute and Wiese saved his second penalty nine minutes later, this time diving to his left to slap away a shot by Jorginho.
Wiese had conceded the penalty by appearing to trip Matheus, but the goalkeeper questioned that decision as well.
"There was contact, but I don't think it was a penalty," he said.
It was Wiese's third penalty save in four days after he stopped a shot from Toni in a 1-1 draw at Bayern in the Bundesliga on Sunday.
Hugo Almeida completed Bremen's win in injury time by converting another penalty.
PSV Eindhoven were making their first appearance of the season in the UEFA Cup against Helsingborg, having dropped into the tournament after being eliminated from the European Champions League along with seven other sides. They scored twice in the first 33 minutes to set up the victory.
Timmy Simons put the home side ahead with a seventh-minute penalty awarded for Daniel Andersson's foul on Danko Lazovic.
PSV goalkeeper Gomes twice saved shots by Razak Omotoyossi, who is tied at the top of the tournament scoring charts with teammate Henrik Larsson and Bayern Munich's Luca Toni with six goals. He also thwarted Martin Kolar before Lazovic made it 2-0.
The Serbia striker hit a right-footed shot from about 12m into the top right corner of goal after a cross from Ibrahim Afellay.
Everton, who are a surprising fourth in the English Premier League, won their sixth straight UEFA Cup match with goals by Leon Osman and substitute Victor Anichebe.
SK Brann had been training in southern Spain for several weeks to prepare for the UEFA Cup during the Nordic offseason and dominated early, with Azar Karadas heading just over the bar.
The Norwegian side had a goal disallowed just before halftime for a foul on goalkeeper Tim Howard, who had fumbled the ball over the line, and Everton took the lead in the 57th minute when Osman scored with a low shot into the far corner.
Anichebe replaced Andy Johnson for the last 15 minutes, and after Howard saved shots by Njogu Demba-Nyren and Thorstein Helstad, added the insurance goal in the 88th minute from a cross by Joleon Lescott.
"We knew we had to be patient," Osman said. "European football is a lot different to Premier League football. We've learned that."
Marseille will also take a strong lead into next week's second-leg match against Spartak Moscow after goals by Bruno Cheyrou, Taye Taiwo and Mamadou Niang, while Serbia midfielder Simon Vukcevic scored twice to give Sporting Lisbon a 2-0 win over FC Basel.
Ismael Blanco scored in injury time to salvage a 1-1 draw for AEK Athens against visiting Getafe when he backheeled the ball past keeper Roberto Abbondanzieri.
Substitute Ruben De la Red had put the Spanish club ahead in the 86th minute following a fumbled clearance in the goalmouth by Canadian midfielder Tam Nsaliwa.
The Greek team dominated after a shaky start, but missed several chances.
It was AEK's first game under caretaker coach Nikos Kostenoglou, after two successive league losses prompted Lorenzo Serra Ferrer to resign.
APPROPRIATE RESPONSE: The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan expressed ‘sincere regret’ for publishing the image on its in-house magazine and Web site A satirical mock-up depicting the Tokyo Games logo as the novel coronavirus has been pulled from online after Olympic organizers branded it “insensitive” and said that it infringed copyright. The design combines the distinctive, spiky image of the coronavirus cell with the blue-and-white Tokyo Games logo. It appeared on the cover of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan’s magazine. The Tokyo Games have been postponed until next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left hundreds of thousands of people dead and halted sport worldwide. Club president Khaldon Azhari yesterday said that the club had decided to withdraw the image and remove
Uncertainty grips next year’s postponed Tokyo Olympic Games: Will there be fans or empty stadiums in 14 months? How will thousands of athletes, staff members and technical officials travel, be housed and stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic? And the Tokyo Games are not the only event. China, where COVID-19 was first detected, is to hold three mega-sports events in the year after the Tokyo Olympics are set to close. The World University Games in Chengdu, China, are to open, with up to 8,000 athletes, only 10 days after the Tokyo Games close. Next come the Beijing Winter Olympics beginning on Feb. 4, 2022,
When South Korea’s domestic women’s golf tour held its premier event last week — without spectators because of the COVID-19 pandemic — no fewer than three of the world’s top 10 players took part. The country of 52 million people has a disproportionate share of the women’s world golf rankings, providing eight of the current top 20. In a demonstration of their prominence, South Korean women have won at least one major every season since 2010, with coronavirus cancellations perhaps the biggest threat to their run this year. The phenomenon, players and commentators have said, results from driven parents, intense training, a highly
The COVID-19 pandemic has stalled young Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas’ burgeoning career, but he remains philosophical about the tennis shutdown. The world No. 6 would have been preparing for the French Open that was originally scheduled to start this weekend, but was postponed to September. While he is missing life on the ATP Tour, Tsitsipas believes that the lockdown has given the planet a breather. “I actually think they should put us in lockdown once a year — it’s good for nature, it’s good for our planet,” Tsitsipas said in an Instagram Live conversation for At Home With Babsi on Eurosport’s Instagram page. “I