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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 19, 2010

Dream debut for Balotelli, Reds narrowly win

Mario Balotelli made a dream debut for Manchester City with the winning goal against FC Timisoara in their Europa League first leg qualifying clash in Romania.

The former Inter Milan striker stepped off the bench to stun the home side - showing a cool head to sweep the ball home from close range after being set up by Emmanuel Adebayor - handing City a 1-0 victory and the advantage going into the return game next Thursday at Eastlands.

A goal from Ryan Babel in first-half stoppage time saw Liverpool narrowly beat Trabzonspor 1-0 in their Europa League qualifying first leg clash at Anfield.

Joe Cole slipped Babel into the area with a delicate ball and the Dutchman clipped over advancing goalkeeper Onur Kivrak. Cole then missed a 52nd minute penalty and though Roy Hodgson's side continued to press, they were unable to extend their lead.

A youthful looking Aston Villa side fought hard to claim an admirable 1-1 draw away to Rapid Vienna. 20-year-old Barry Bannan scored his first Villa goal to open the scoring, but the home side equalised through Ardhe Nuhiu.

PSG will take a comfortable lead to Israel for their second leg clash with Maccabi Tel-Aviv after goals from Peguy Luyindula and Guillaume Hoarau - rumoured to be a target of Schalke - gave the French side a 2-0 victory.

Bayer Leverkusen cruised to a 3-0 win against Ukrainian minnows Tavriya Symferopol in a game notable for being Michael Ballack's first competitive match bacy at the BayArena. The former Chelsea midfielder marked his return with a goal - a stoppage time penalty - adding to a surprising brace from Czech Republic left-back Michal Kadlec.

Feyenoord will defend a narrow lead when they visit Belgium next week after beating KAA Gent 1-0 in Rotterdam. Leroy Fer - who netted just three goals from midfield for Feyenoord last season - made it two goals in three games in 2010-11 after bagging the winner 12 minutes from time.

Goals from Efrain Juarez and Georgios Samaras allowed Celtic to take a step closer to the group stages of the Europa League with a 2-0 victory over Utrecht at Parkhead, as the Hoops went some way towards making up for their disappointing Champions League exit at the hands of Braga.

PSV Eindhoven slipped to a last-gasp 1-0 defeat in the first leg of their Europa League play-off against Sibir Novosibirsk in Siberia.

A bad-tempered first half saw both teams reach the interval with 10 men as Maza Rodriguez saw red after 39 minutes for pushing Igor Shevchenko, who himself picked up a second yellow four minutes later.

The match appeared to be heading for a stalemate until substitute Aleksandr Degtyarov scored for the hosts two minutes into stoppage time.

Juventus were made to fight for a 2-1 win over Sturm Graz in Austria. Leonardo Bonucci's early goal was cancelled out by Gordon Schildenfeld eight minutes from time but Brazilian Amauri grabbed the Italians' winner in stoppage time.

In a fine night for the Spanish sides, Villareal thrashed Belarusian hopefuls FC Dnepr 5-0 and Daniel Parejo's first-half winner gave Getafe a 1-0 advantage over Apoel Nicosia.

Former UEFA Cup winners Galatasaray were stunned when unfancied Ukrainians Karpaty stormed into a 2-0 lead in Istanbul before a late double from former Liverpool star Milan Baros brought the Turks back level.

Stuttgart left it late to claim a vital winner in Slovakia, as Martin Harnik 88th minute goal gave the Bundesliga side a narrow 1-0 victory over Slovan Bratislava. The game was marred somewhat by an incident at the end of the first half that saw a number of fans invade the pitch, forcing a five-minute delay.

Azerbaijan's representatives Qarabag look to be out the door after Borussia Dortmund dished out a 4-0 thrashing in Germany. Shinji Kagawa and Lucas Barrios both scored first-half doubles before Dortmund took their foot off the accelerator.

Dundee United's hopes of qualifying for the Europa League were left dangling by at thread after they were beaten by AEK Athens at Tannadice; Rafik Djebbour scored after 11 minutes when he slotted home Ignacio Scocco's inviting cross.

Welsh champions The New Saints saw their hopes go up in smoke in the Bulgarian capital as three goals in the final nine minutes saw CSKA Sofia claim a 3-0 first leg win. Giuseppe Aquaro's header opened the scoring and one minute later Gregory Nelson added the Bulgarians' second, before Spas Delev struck in injury time.

Serie A side Palermo have one foot in the next round after belting FK Maribor 3-0 at home. Massimo Maccarone hit an early penalty after Maribor goalkeeper Marko Pridigar was sent off for bringing down Abel Hernandez. Hernandez and Javier Pastore also scored as the visitors tried to limit the damage with 10 men. Napoli will take a 1-0 advantage to Sweden after Ezequiel Ivan Lavezzi gave them a narrow home victory over Elfsborg.

Lille earned a goalless draw away to Vaslui while Porto are all but through after their 3-0 win at Genk where Radamel Falcao Garcia, Josef Dias Souza and Fernando Daniel Belluschi were on the scoresheet.

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