Sat, Aug 04, 2012 - Page 17 News List

Reds, Marseille, Inter on the march

AFP and Reuters, PARIS and BERNE

Stewart Downing of Liverpool, right, scores past Sergei Kazeka of Gomel, second right, on Thursday in Gomel, Belarus, during their Europa League third qualifying round, first-leg match.

Photo: AFP

Stewart Downing ensured that Brendan Rodgers’ first match in charge of Liverpool ended in victory as he scored the only goal against Gomel in a Europa League third qualifying round, first-leg tie in Belarus on Thursday.

Downing’s 25m effort midway through the second half was enough to give the Reds the edge going into the second-leg match at Anfield on Thursday next week.

Gomel dominated most of the game and the Merseysiders were lucky to leave with the win after the hosts missed a string of chances.

Also playing under new coaches, French side Olympique de Marseille, under Elie Baup, were held 1-1 at Turkish club Eskisehirspor, while Guus Hiddink’s big-spending Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala won 2-0 at home against Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem.

Andre-Pierre Gignac had put Baup’s side ahead four minutes after the break when he picked up a Morgan Amalfitano cross, but the hosts pulled level after 62 minutes through Austrian striker Atdhe Nuhiu.

Nuhiu almost claimed a second 10 minutes later, but the injury-depleted visitors held on for a draw, with a home leg in their Velodrome Stadium to look forward to on Thursday next week.

“There are lessons to be learnt, but everything remains to be played for,” Baup said. “We have to get to work and refocus. This Turkish team has quality, they are very dangerous. We made too many mistakes for my liking.”

Elsewhere, Romanian side Rapid Bucharest have an uphill task in their home leg after falling 4-0 at Dutch club Heerenveen, as Dynamo Moscow were held 2-2 at Dundee United, with the Scottish club denied a famous win by a deflected injury-time strike.

Keith Watson looked to have earned United the advantage after he bundled home from close range following a 75th-minute corner, but Alexander Kokorin silenced Tannadice with a 25m strike that looped home off a United defender for a 2-2 draw.

Irish side St Patrick’s were staring at Europa League elimination after suffering a 3-0 defeat at home in Dublin to Hannover 96.

Meanwhile, Wesley Sneijder set Inter on their way to a comfortable 3-0 win away at Hajduk Split on Thursday, giving the Serie A side a successful start in their first competitive game of the season.

Dutchman Sneijder rifled Inter ahead after 18 minutes and Japan’s Yuto Nagatomo put them 2-0 up against the Croatian side just before the break.

Brazilian Philippe Coutinho completed the scoring in the second half of the tie.

“It’s a good result but what I liked was the fact that we never stopped trying to play football and we gave very little away,” Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni said.

Inter are hoping to recover from a difficult last season when Stramaccioni, initially given the job on an interim basis, became the third coach to be employed by club president Massimo Moratti.

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