Europa League Roundup: Liverpool Win, Spurs, Newcastle Only Able to Manage Draws

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2012

BERN, SWITZERLAND - SEPTEMBER 20:  Liverpool FC celebrate after scoring against BSC Young Boys during the UEFA Europa League Group A match between BSC Young Boys and Liverpool FC at Stade de Suisse on September 20, 2012 in Bern, Switzerland.  (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)
Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

On Thursday, the Europa League group stage got underway with 24 matches.

Although the competition could not rival the excitement from the first set of matches from the Champions League, there were still plenty of quality matches across the continent.

In what may have been the most eye-catching scoreline of the day, Liverpool rallied back from one goal down in the second half to beat Swiss club Young Boys in Group A, 5-3.

After giving up two goals to start the second half, the Reds started their comeback with a 67th minute goal from defender Sebastian Coates, before Jonjo Shelvey scored two late goals in the 76th and 88th minute to clinch the win for the English club.

Liverpool sit on top of the group with three points, as Udinese and Anzhi played to a 1-1 draw in the other Group A match.

The other two English clubs in action on Thursday were not as successful, as both Newcastle and Tottenham were held to 0-0 draws.

Newcastle fell short in Portugal against Maritimo in Group D, while Tottenham failed to score at home in Group J versus Lazio.

At White Hart Lane, Spurs had two goals disallowed, one from a wrong offside call in the first half on a Clint Dempsey header, and the other coming on a foul called on Steven Caulker after he found the back of the net in the second half.

Defending champions Atletico Madrid started their 2012-13 campaign with a strong 3-0 away win in Israel against Hapoel Tel Aviv.

The Spaniards received goals from Cristian Rodriguez, Diego Costa and Raul Garcia in the win.

The runner-up to Atletico last season, Athletic Bilbao also took on an Israeli side in their first Group I match.

Bilbao were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Ironi Kiryat Shmona in their opener, while Lyon jumped to the top of the group standings as they took care of Sparta Prague, 2-1, at home.

The biggest win of the day came in Group F, as Napoli defeated Sweden's AIK 4-0 at the Stadio San Paolo.

Chilean forward Eduardo Vargas was the star on the day for the Italian club, as he scored a hat trick.

Inter Milan continued the poor form from Milan clubs in Europe this week, as the Nerazzurri could only manage a 2-2 draw with Rubin Kazan in Group H, two days after AC Milan drew at home with Anderlecht in the Champions League.

In other matches on Thursday, Fenerbahce and Marseille played to a 2-2 draw in Group C, as the Mathieu Valbuena and Andre Ayew scored late goals to win a point back for the French club.

Hannover also came back from two goals down to earn a draw on the road, as they ended in a 2-2 deadlock with FC Twente in Group L.

Other winners on the day included Bordeaux, Copenhagen, Rosenborg and Levante, as those clubs jumped to the top of their respective groups with three points.

The second match for all the clubs involved in the Europa League will occur two weeks from today on October 4th.