Europa League round-up: Juventus set fair for last 16, but other big names stumble
Ajax, Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk and Sevilla all struggle in first-leg ties
Juventus looked good while Ajax looked woeful in the Europa League on Thursday on a night when other former winners Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk and Sevilla also stumbled.
Juventus enjoyed a 2-0 home win against Trabzonspor, but four-time European champions Ajax fell to a stunning 3-0 home loss to SV Salzburg in the first leg of the round of 32.
Forward Pablo Osvaldo, starting his first game for Juventus following a loan move from Southampton, scored early on and the highly rated midfielder Paul Pogba put them in control for the return leg with an injury-time effort.
Ajax, the Netherlands’ most successful side, failed to make an impression as Spanish striker Jonathan scored twice for the Austrian side to take his season’s tally to 30 in all competitions. Senegalese striker Sadio Mane added the other goal.
Two-time winners Porto raced into a 2-0 lead against Eintracht Frankfurt thanks to goals from winger Ricardo Quaresma and midfielder Silvestre Varela, but the German side struck twice in the second half to force a draw.
Sevilla, who have also won the competition twice, conceded a late goal in a 2-2 draw at Slovenian side Maribor.
Shakhtar, the 2009 winners, needed a goal from Brazilian striker Luiz Adriano to scrape a 1-1 draw away at Czech side Viktoria Plzen.
Also, Napoli drew 0-0 away to Swansea and English Premier League side Tottenham go back to White Hart Lane with a defeat after winger Yevhen Konoplyanka scored with a late penalty to give Dnipro a 1-0 win.
Both teams in Dnipropetrovsk wore black armbands, as they did elsewhere in Ukraine, where Chornomorets Odessa drew 0-0 with French side Lyon, who fielded mainly inexperienced home-grown players.
Because of the protests, Dynamo Kiev’s home match against Valencia was moved to Nicosia, Cyprus, where the Spanish side won with late goals from striker Eduardo Vargas and midfielder Sofiane Feghouli.
Elsewhere, Fiorentina were in a strong position after winning 3-1 at Danish side Esbjerg.
Striker Alessandro Matri, who is on loan from AC Milan, gave the Italian team an early lead. Forward Martin Pusic replied soon after for Esbjerg, but midfielders Josip Ilicic and Alberto Aquilani added further goals for Fiorentina before halftime.
Portuguese side Benfica, last year’s runners-up to Chelsea, secured a 1-0 win at Greek side PAOK thanks to a goal from Brazilian forward Lima.
Also, Lazio lost 1-0 at home against Bulgarian side Ludogorets Razgrad, with both teams missing a penalty, and Swiss side Basel drew 0-0 at Maccabi Tel Aviv.