• Europa League round-up

Liverpool sunk by Hulk, Oscar saves Chelsea

ESPN staff
February 14, 2013
Highlights: Sparta Prague 0-1 Chelsea

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Oscar provided the inspiration off the bench for Chelsea to beat Sparta Prague and Gareth Bale played the same role for Tottenham with two goals against Lyon. But Liverpool slipped to defeat in Russia while Newcastle were held to a draw at home to Metalist Kharkiv.

A brilliant strike out of nothing from Zenit St Petersburg striker Hulk sparked his team to a 2-0 victory over Liverpool in their Europa League last-32 first-leg tie.

The Russian side capitalised on the momentum shift that the Brazilian's 69th-minute goal from distance provoked and doubled their lead through Sergei Semak just minutes later.

The midfielder was unmarked at the far post and met a speculative cross from Aleksandr Aniukov, which was not dealt with by the Reds' defence.

Liverpool wasted their chances at getting on the scoresheet in the first half in Russia, with Luis Suarez more guilty than most, and that continued into the second half despite their general play improving.

Chelsea substitute Oscar earned his side a 1-0 victory at Sparta Prague within a minute of being thrown on the pitch by manager Rafa Benitez.

Chelsea were heading directly for a 0-0 draw in the Czech Republic because their passing game never clicked into gear. Benitez had picked a near full-strength side including Eden Hazard and Frank Lampard but must have wished he had started the brilliant Brazilian as well.

Instead Benitiez brought him on for Juan Mata after 81 minutes and less than 60 seconds later, Oscar's left-footed shot had won his team the game.

Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse put the ball in the net twice against Metalist Kharkiv at St James' Park but both times their efforts were ruled out for offside. Moussa Sissoko put Cisse in at the far post on 26 minutes and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa provided the assist in the second half but both times the referee's assistant was not happy with the Senegalese player's adherence to the offside line.

Metalist, from the Ukraine, were not without chances and will fancy turning over the Magpies in the return leg.

Gareth Bale scored two carbon copy free-kicks for Tottenham to beat Lyon 2-1 at White Hart Lane. The Ligue 1 side looked to have secured a draw thanks to an incredible half-volley from Samuel Umtiti. But in injury time Bale stepped up and slotted a free-kick from the same spot he had given Spurs the lead from in first-half injury time.

Just outside the area and to the left of Lyon's goal, the Welshman curled the ball past Remi Vercoutre as he dived despairingly to his right.

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