• Europa League

Liverpool fall to Anzhi, Spurs cruise, Toon held

ESPN staff
November 8, 2012

Liverpool's hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Europa League were dented by defeat in Russia, Tottenham cruised to victory over Maribor, while Newcastle battled back from two goals down to earn a draw against Club Brugge.

Liverpool conceded top spot in Group A to Europa League opponents Anzhi Makhachkala after a 1-0 defeat in Moscow.

Giant striker Lacina Traore scored a brilliant individual goal as the visitors switched off seconds before half-time.

The result, the Reds' first-ever away defeat in the group stage and only their third loss in 22 European matches, allowed the Russian club to assume pole position.

Anzhi may play 1000 miles away from their home in Dagestan because of security issues but they remain strong on Russian turf and made it five successive European home wins.

With Brendan Rodgers opting to leave many of his star names at home ahead of Liverpool's trip to Chelsea on Sunday, a young Reds side never really threatened their opponents' goal.

They were punished for switching off in first-half stoppage time as Traore collected the ball with his back to goal, flicked it between two Liverpool defenders before the Ivorian finished with a neat chip over the onrushing Brad Jones.

Elsewhere in Group A, Raul Bobadilla's fourth goal against Udinese in two games and second-half strikes from Alexander Farnerud and Raphael Nuzzolo inspired Young Boys to a shock 3-2 win over the Italian side.

Jermain Defoe scored a hat-trick as Tottenham boosted their hopes of progressing to the knockout stages with a 3-1 win over Maribor in Group J.

Spurs dominated from the outset and Defoe made the breakthrough on 22 minutes, finishing first time from Gareth Bale's cross. However, the home side found themselves heading into the dressing room at the break on level terms after a shock equaliser from Robert Beric.

A woeful backpass from Kyle Naughton left Hugo Lloris under pressure from Beric, and the French keeper surrendered possession to give the Slovenian an easy tap-in.

After a shaky start to the second half, Defoe gave Spurs the lead once again, running onto Tom Carroll's inch-perfect through-ball before firing a left-footed shot past Jasmin Handanovic.

Defoe, who was a surprise omission from Roy Hodgson's England squad to face Sweden next week, completed his hat-trick thanks to another assist from Bale, who was released down the left by Tom Huddlestone.

Also in Group J, Lazio lifted their heads before this Sunday's derby against Roma as they consolidated their position at the top of the group with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Panathinaikos.

Two goals in two minutes rescued a point for Newcastle after they came from behind to draw 2-2 at Club Brugge.

The Magpies preserved their unbeaten start to their Europa League campaign thanks to goals from Vurnon Anita and Shola Ameobi as they maintained their lead at the top of Group D.

Alan Pardew's men found themselves two goals down inside the opening 20 minutes as Ivan Trickovski drove a low shot past Tim Krul before Jesper Jorgensen's scuffed attempt also beat the Dutchman.

But Anita sparked a comeback with a sweet volley from the edge of the area, and just moments later Shola Ameobi played a neat one-two with his brother Sammy before poking past keeper Bojan Jorgacevic at the near post.

Both sides had chances to snatch three points in the second half; Shola Ameobi's header was tipped over the bar by Jorgacevic, while substitute Yohan Cabaye's free-kick hit the crossbar.

Bordeaux moved to within a point of Newcastle after a solitary David Bellion goal guided the French side to a narrow 1-0 victory over Maritimo.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.