Liverpool, Inter, Athletic Win Europa League Soccer Openers

Liverpool, Inter Milan and Athletic Bilbao started their Europa League soccer campaigns with victories in the opening games of the third-qualifying round.

Stewart Downing’s long-range strike in the second half gave Liverpool a 1-0 win at Gomel of Belarus last night in Brendan Rodgers’s first competitive match as manager.

Also playing under new coaches, Marseille began Elie Baup’s tenure with a 1-1 draw at Turkey’s Eskisehirspor, while Guus Hiddink’s Anzhi Makhachkala beat Vitesse Arnhem 2-0 in Russia.

Inter won 3-0 at Hajduk Split on goals by Wesley Sneijder, Yuto Nagatomo and Philippe Coutinho. Athletic Bilbao, the runner-up in last season’s all-Spanish final against Atletico Madrid, defeated NK Slaven Koprivnica 3-1 at home.

The return matches will be played Aug. 9, with the winners of the two-game series advancing to the playoffs for a place in the group stage of Europe’s second-tier club competition.

THURSDAY’S EUOPA LEAGUE THIRD-QUALIFYING ROUND RESULTS
======================================================
     Anzhi Makhachkala   2-0    Vitesse 
     KuPS Kuopio         1-0    Bursaspor
     Arsenal Kiev        3-0    Mura
     Dila Gori           0-1    Anorthosis Famagusta 
     Bnei Yehuda         0-2    PAOK 
     Ruch Chorzow        0-2    Viktoria Plzen
     APOEL               2-1    Aalesunds
     Tromso              1-1    Metalurg Donetsk
     Kalmar              1-0    Young Boys Berne
     AIK Solna           3-0    Lech Poznan
     Ried                2-1    Legia Warsaw
     Heerenveen          4-0    Rapid Bucharest
     Twente              2-0    Mlada Boleslav
     Steaua Bucharest    0-1    Spartak Trnava
     Servette            1-1    Rosenborg
     Asteras Tripolis    1-1    Maritimo
     Gomel               0-1    Liverpool
     Genk                2-1    Aktobe
     Horsens             1-1    Elfsborg
     Hajduk Split        0-3    Inter Milan
     Red Star Belgrade   0-0    Omonia
     Videoton            1-0    Ghent
     Dundee United       2-2    Dynamo Moscou
     Eskisehirspor       1-1    Marseille
     St Patrick’s        0-3    Hanover
     Athletic Bilbao     3-1    Slaven Koprivnica
     FK Vojvodina        2-1    Rapid Vienna
     FK Sarajevo         2-1    Zeta
     Admira Wacker       0-0    Sparta Prague

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Baynes at dbaynes@bloomberg.net

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