Cyprus Mail

Liverpool outplay United to take deserved first-leg lead

Roberto Firmino celebrates after scoring the second goal for Liverpool as Manchester United players look dejected

By Toby Davis

Liverpool drew first blood with a 2-0 win over Manchester United in their Europa League last-16 first leg on Thursday as the two sides took their bitter domestic rivalry on to the European stage for the first time.

Goals from Daniel Sturridge (penalty) and Roberto Firmino ensured Liverpool will be strong favourites to progress, along with Borussia Dortmund after the Germans underlined their status as favourites with a masterclass show against Tottenham Hotspur.

Dortmund’s Marco Reus scored twice in the second half, after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had given them a 30th-minute lead, in a comprehensive 3-0 win over a Spurs side who rested a number of players with one eye on their Premier League title challenge.

Shakhtar Donetsk will also take a good lead into the second leg with Anderlecht after a 3-1 home victory, as will Villarreal who beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 thanks to a double strike from Cedric Bakambu.

Sevilla’s Steven N’Zonzi was sent off with three minutes to go as the holders, bidding for a third straight trophy, drew 0-0 at Basel while Athletic Bilbao beat Spanish rivals Valencia 1-0 with a 20th-minute goal from Raul Garcia.

Fenerbahce beat Portugal’s Braga 1-0 in Turkey and Sparta Prague drew 1-1 at home to Lazio.

Scores from Europa League games on Thursday:

Bor Dortmd 3 – 0 Tottenham

Basel 0 – 0 Sevilla

Fenerbahce 1 – 0 Sporting Braga

Shakt Donsk 3 – 1 Anderlecht

Ath Bilbao 1 – 0 Valencia

Liverpool 2 – 0 Man Utd

Sparta Prague 1 – 1 Lazio

Villarreal 2 – 0 Bayer Levkn


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