Wigan Athletic’s first ever European fixture ended in a 0-0 draw away to Zulte-Waregem, while Swansea City, Tottenham and Fiorentina were among the winners in an action-packed opening round of UEFA Europa League group stage fixtures.
Premier League outfit Swansea produced a superb display to defeat three-time winners of European club football’s secondary tournament Valencia 3-0 in the Group A fixture at Mestalla on Thursday, and in doing so secured their first away victory in Europe for 31 years.
Also did Anele Ngcongca helped to make history on Thursday night as his Genk side defeated Dinamo Kiev 1-0 in their UEFA Europa League pool match in the Ukraine.
Prior to this game, Dinamo had never lost a home match in the Europa League competition, or its predecessor the UEFA Cup, a run of 32 matches that included recent wins over Paris St Germain, Manchester City and top Turkish side Besiktas (twice).
But a goal just past the hour-mark from Frenchman Julien Gorius gave Genk the win, and a massive step towards the knockout stages, even if only one round of group games has been played.
Bafana Bafana regular Ngcongca turned out in his usual right-back position and had a solid enough outing.
It was not such a good night for his comatriot Dino Ndlovu, though, as he came on for the final 20 minutes or so of Maccabi Haifa’s 1-0 home loss to Dutch side AZ Alkmaar.
Home points are crucial in the Europa League competition and this will be a real set-back for the Israelis.
FC Thun, the Swiss side of South African-born defender Lukas Schenkel, got their pool campaign off to a positive start with a 1-0 victory over Austrian outfit Rapid Vienna.
Schenkel remains sidelined through injury having played in the earlier rounds of the Europa League and is only expected to be back for the second half of the group stages.
All of Thursday’s results:
Valencia 0-3 Swansea City
St Gallen 2-0 Kuban
Dinamo Zagreb 1-2 C’morets
PSV Eindhoven 0-2 Ludogorets
Salzburg 4-0 IF Elfsborg
Standard Liege 1-2 Esbjerg
Maribor 2-5 Rubin Kazan
Zulte-Waregem 0-0 Wigan Athletic
Fiorentina 3-0 Pacos Ferreira
P Targu-Jiu 0-1 Dnipro
Frankfurt 3-0 Bordeaux
Maccabi Tel Aviv 0-0 Apoel Nicosia
FC Thun 1-0 Rapid Vienna
Dynamo Kiev 0-1 Genk
SC Freiburg 2-2 Slovan Liberec
Estoril 1-2 Sevilla
Real Betis 0-0 Lyon
Vitoria S.C 4-0 Rijeka
A Limassol 1-2 Trabzonspor
Lazio 1-0 Legia Warsaw
Tottenham 3-0 Tromso
Sh Tiraspol 0-0 A Mak’kala
Maccabi Haifa 0-1 AZ Alkmaar
PAOK Salonika 2-1 S Karaganda