Werder Bremen goalkeeper Tim Wiese saved two first-half penalties as the Bundesliga side began their UEFA Cup campaign with a 3-0 win over Braga on Wednesday.
Werder, parachuted into the last 32 of the competition from the Champions League, profited from Braga's wasteful finishing at the Weserstadion to take full command of the first knockout round tie.
Olympique Marseille, PSV Eindhoven and Sporting, also entering the competition after finishing third in their Champions League groups, also eased to first-leg wins at home.
Wiese kept out Roland Linz's 10th-minute spot kick to maintain Werder's early lead given to them by Brazilian centre-back Naldo, back after missing Sunday's Bundesliga draw with title rivals Bayern Munich through suspension.
Daniel Jensen increased Werder's advantage before Wiese again came to the rescue, keeping out Jorginho's penalty nine minutes before halftime.
Werder's Portuguese striker Hugo Almeida rubbed salt into Braga's wounds in second-half stoppage time when he showed his compatriots how to score from the spot.
"He [Wiese] kept us in the game spectacularly. It was a really special day for him," Werder sporting director Klaus Allofs told reporters.
Marseille took 62 minutes to break down Spartak Moscow before Benoit Cheyrou's opener was quickly followed by goals from Taye Taiwo and Mamadou Niang in a 3-0 win.
Timmy Simons and Danko Lazovic got the goals as PSV overcame Helsingborg 2-0 while Sporting midfielder Simon Vukcevic scored twice as the Portuguese side beat Basel 2-0.
Anderlecht substitute Mbo Mpenza scored a last-gasp winner just seconds after coming on in stoppage time to hand the Belgians a 2-1 win over Girondins Bordeaux in Brussels.
There was also late drama in Athens where AEK, who dismissed Spanish coach Lorenzo Serra Ferrer on Tuesday after slipping to third in the Greek Super League, salvaged a 1-1 draw with Getafe.
Midfielder Ruben de la Red looked to have won it for the Spanish side with the opening goal after 86 minutes but deep into added time Argentine striker Ismael Blanco grabbed an equaliser from close range.
Pavel Pogrebnyak's second-half goal handed Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg a 1-0 win at home to Villarreal.
Russia striker Pogrebnyak struck in the 63rd minute after Villarreal goalkeeper Diego Lopez failed to clear Andrei Arshavin's through ball.
Zenit are now unbeaten in their last 22 home games in European competition, their last defeat on Russian soil coming against Bologna in the UEFA Cup in 1999.
Everton took control of their tie with Norwegian champions Brann Bergen after second-half goals from Leon Osman and Victor Anichebe secured a 2-0 away win.
Osman scored with a superb strike from outside the penalty area 13 minutes into the second half and Anichebe's close-range finish two minutes from time sealed Everton's sixth successive European win.
Brann, who have played only UEFA Cup games in the three months since winning the title last November, rarely troubled the English Premier League side.
Former winners Galatasaray and Bayer Leverkusen battled to a goalless draw in Istanbul, as did Rangers and Panathinaikos at Ibrox.
The six remaining last 32 first-leg ties will be played on Thursday. The final is in Manchester on May 14.