Sevilla striker Frederic Kanoute continued his prolific season with another goal as the UEFA Cup holders underlined their class with a 2-0 victory over Steau Bucharest in Romania on Thursday.
Mali international Kanoute, whose 16 goals make him the top scorer in Spain and have fired Sevilla's challenge for the domestic title, came off the bench to net a 77th minute penalty.
Newcastle United and Racing Lens also secured first leg wins in their UEFA Cup first knockout round ties while Claudio Ranieri made a losing start as Parma coach with a 1-0 defeat at Braga.
Sevilla's well-organised defence was in resolute form against a Steaua side without leading scorer Nicolae Dica for the rest of the season and rusty after a two-month break in their domestic championship which resumes later this month.
Denmark midfielder Christian Poulsen had swept the ball home after 41 minutes before Kanoute gave the Spaniards a two-goal cushion for the return when fired home a spot kick after Dorin Goian's foul on Russian striker Alexander Kerzhakov.
"Our defence was perfect this evening," Sevilla coach Juande Ramos said.
Steaua will not need motivating for the second leg at the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium, the scene of their greatest triumph in 1986 when they beat Barcelona on penalties to win the European Cup.
Newcastle, who have not won a major trophy since lifting the Fairs Cup -- the forerunner to the UEFA Cup -- in 1969, secured a 3-1 victory at Belgian Cup winners Zulte Waregem.
All the goals came in the second half at the Jules Otten Stadion in Gent, Zulte defender Frederic Dindeleux gifting the Premier League side the lead when he turned in Kieron Dyer's cross 90seconds after the break.
Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins stroked in a penalty to make it 2-0 just before the hour and although Karel D'Haene's glancing header gave the Belgians hope, Antoine Sibierski jinked his way into the area and rounded keeper Pieter Merlier to score Newcastle's third.
"Overall, it was a relatively comfortable win," Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder told Channel Five television.
"It's nice to be going back to St James' Park 3-1 in front but we have to be thoroughly professional next Thursday and put on a good performance in front of our own fans."
Claudio Ranieri's first game in charge of Serie A strugglers Parma ended in a 1-0 defeat by Braga in Portugal, the twice UEFA Cup winners holding out until the 81st minute when Brazilian forward Ze Carlos scored with a powerful shot.
Parma will host the return leg next week at their Tardini stadium after the Italian government gave the green light on Thursday for the ground to reopen for Sunday's Serie A match against Sampdoria.
The Tardini is the fifth Serie A stadium to come into line with new security regulations imposed after a policeman was killed during rioting at a match between Catania and Palermo.
Tunisia forward Issam Jemaa scored twice in the second half and Ivorian Aruna Dindane added a last minute penalty for Racing Lens in a 3-1 home win over Greece's Panathinaikos.
Ukraine midfielder Maxim Kalinichenko's deflected freekick midway through the second half earned Spartak Moscow a 1-1 draw at home to Celta Vigo.
The Spaniards led at a freezing Luzhniki stadium when Antonio Nunez controlled a low cross from Gustavo Lopez to fire home four minutes before halftime.