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Rediff.com  » Sports » Europa League: Schalke trump Haifa, easy win for Spurs

Europa League: Schalke trump Haifa, easy win for Spurs

September 30, 2011 11:27 IST

New Schalke 04 coach Huub Stevens rekindled memories of leading the Germans to 1997 UEFA Cup glory with an easy 3-1 win over Maccabi Haifa in the second round of Europa League group matches on Thursday but favourites Paris St Germain lost.

Christian Fuchs scored twice to hand Dutchman Stevens a winning start to his second spell in charge in Gelsenkirchen having been appointed on Tuesday following Ralf Rangnick's resignation due to exhaustion.

Schalke 04's Christian Fuchs and teammate Lewis Holtby (right) break into a jig as they celebrate after the former scored against Maccabi Haifa during their Europa League match on Thursday"That was a good performance by us against a strong team. Haifa were technically accomplished and had quick movement," Stevens, whose side reached the Champions League semi-finals last term, said.

French co-leaders PSG, who spent millions in the close season after a Qatari takeover and have again been linked in the media with a move for David Beckham, slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Athletic Bilbao.

First-half goals from Markel Susaeta and Igor Gabilondo following crosses to the far post helped the hosts go top of Group F with maximum points from two games.

Spanish compatriots Atletico Madrid, who lifted the trophy in 2010, grabbed a late 1-1 draw at Stade Rennes through Juanfran after Victor Montano's 30-metre shot took a wicked deflection to fly in on 56 minutes.

Atletico beat Celtic in their first outing with Radamel Falcao following up his heroics for last season's winners Porto with a goal for his new club but he failed to shine in Brittany.

Ki Sung-yong's penalty handed hosts Celtic an early lead but Udinese's Almen Abdi hit back also from the spot on 88 minutes for a 1-1 draw to leave the four-team Group I wide open.

Tottenham Hotspur went one down to Irish debutants Shamrock Rovers but three goals in five minutes after the hour mark sealed a 3-1 win in Group A and led to huge sighs of relief inside White Hart Lane.

BRAGA BEATEN

Group D pacesetters Sporting beat Lazio 2-1 at home after scoring either side of Miroslav Klose's 40th minute strike.

Also in Portugal, last season's runners-up Braga fell to a 2-1 defeat by in-form Club Bruges on a balmy evening.

Birmingham, beaten at home by Braga last time out, came from behind to edge out Maribor 2-1 in Slovenia to keep Group H looking lively.

Andy Johnson's brace gave fellow English club and 2010 runners-up Fulham a 2-0 win at Denmark's Odense after his 36th minute shot went under the body of goalkeeper Stefan Wessels.

He added a second late on as Fulham belied the fact they are the only team without a Premier League victory this term.

Striker Baye Djiby Fall had two good chances for the hosts but Mark Schwarzer made a superb save to stop a toe-poke and another acrobatic effort just went wide.

The Group K honours remain with Twente Enschede, however, after their 4-1 thumping of Wisla Krakow.

A contrast of styles made for an entertaining Group E game where Besiktas scored a well-worked goal by Roberto Hilbert only for physical hosts Stoke City to soon level through Peter Crouch and win 2-1 after Jonathan Walters' 78th minute penalty.

Maccabi Tel Aviv and Dynamo Kiev managed a 1-1 draw in the other group game while PSV Eindhoven scored twice late on for a 3-1 victory at Rapid Bucharest in Group C.

Among other results, Russian duo Lokomotiv Moscow and Rubin Kazan slipped up at home with a 2-0 reverse against Anderlecht and a 2-2 draw with PAOK respectively.

Source:
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