Liverpool rallied to beat Young Boys 5-3 in soccer’s Europa League, as Atletico Madrid opened its title defense with a 3-0 win at Hapoel Tel-Aviv.
Napoli was a 4-0 winner on the opening night of group play in Europe’s second-tier club competition, while Tottenham, Newcastle and Inter Milan all tied.
Jonjo Shelvy came off the bench to score twice in the final 14 minutes last night as Liverpool came from behind to win the Group A game in Berne, Switzerland.
With one eye on the Sept. 23 Premier League game against Manchester United, Reds manager Brendan Rodgers fielded a second-string team after leaving regular starters including captain Steven Gerrard, goalkeeper Pepe Reina, striker Luis Suarez and defender Martin Skrtel back in England.
“We’ve got a lot of young players within the group but to come from behind away from home in a European game makes me proud,” Rodgers said on Liverpool’s website. “The biggest thing we showed, alongside our quality, was our character.”
Liverpool led 2-1 at halftime before Juhani Ojala tied it for Young Boys in the 53rd minute. The Swiss club went in front on Gonzalo Zarate’s goal in the 63rd minute, before Liverpool drew even on a header from Sebastian Coates.
Shelvy put the Reds in front in the 76th minute and clinched the victory with two minutes remaining.
Antonio Di Natale scored in stoppage time to earn Udinese a 1-1 draw at home against Anzhi Makhachkala in the other Group A match.
Atletico Madrid, seeking its third Europa League title in four seasons, got goals from Cristian Rodriguez, Diego Costa and Raul Garcia to win its Group B game in Israel. Viktoria Plzen beat Academia 3-1 in the group’s other match.
In Group F, Dnipro beat PSV Eindhoven 2-0 and Eduardo Vargas scored a hat trick in Napoli’s rout of AIK.
Tottenham put the ball into the net twice against Lazio, only to have each disallowed as the teams finished scoreless in a Group J game in London.
Clint Dempsey was ruled to be offside when he scored in the first half and Steven Caulker was called for a foul as he headed in a corner in the second. Alvaro Gonzalez hit the crossbar for Lazio. Maribor beat Panathinaikos 3-0 in the other Group J game.
In Group D, Shola Ameobi hit the post and crossbar with shots as Newcastle drew 0-0 at Maritimo and Bordeaux routed Bruges 4-0.
Group C opened with a pair of draws as Marseille and Fenerbahce finished 2-2 and AEL and Borussia Moenchengladbach were goalless. Copenhagen beat Molde 2-1 in Group E and Stuttgart tied 2-2 with Steaua Bucharest.
Yuto Nagatomo’s goal in stoppage time gave Inter Milan a 2-2 draw with Rubin Kazan in Group H, while Partizan Belgrade and Neftchi of Azerbaijan tied 0-0. Lyon beat Sparta Prague 2-1 and Athletic Bilbao, last season’s runner-up, tied 1-1 with Hapoel Kiryat Shmona in Group I.
In Group G, Genk beat Videoton 3-0 and Sporting Lisbon finished 0-0 with Basel, while Rosenborg beat Rapid Vienna 2-1 and Bayer Leverkusen tied Metalist Kharkiv 0-0 in Group K. Levante beat Helsingborgs 1-0 in Group L and FC Twente drew 2-2 with Hannover.
The top two teams in each of the 12 groups advance to the round of 32 alongside the eight third-place finishers from the elite Champions League group stage.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at firstname.lastname@example.org.