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Europa League wrap: Late drama adds to intrigue

Spartak Moscow came from behind to beat Basel while Twente returned from Russia with a win as the Europa League’s round of 32 got underway.

Spartak Moscow needed a late strike from Jano Ananidze to earn a 3-2 win in the first leg of their tie against the reigning Switzerland champions, with the Georgian teenager completing an unlikely revival after his side went into the half-time break 2-0 down.

Strikers Alexander Frei and Marco Streller had put the Swiss side on track for victory at St Jakob Park in Basel, but the hosts were denied by second-half goals from Dmitri Kombarov and Artem Dzyuba and substitute Ananidze’s heroics.

Late goals from winger Sidney Sam all but booked Bayer Leverkusen’s last 16 spot in their 4-0 win over Metalist.

The Bundesliga’s second-placed club went ahead in the 22nd minute in Ukraine via Eren Derdiyok before Gonzalo Rondon Castro doubled their lead after 72 minutes.

Metalist – third in the Ukrainian Premier League – might still have held out some hope of recovery in the second leg before Sam struck an injury time brace to give Leverkusen a formidable lead in the tie.

FC Twente scored two late goals of their own to secure a handy buffer over Rubin Kazan heading to their second leg of their tie, with the Eredivisie champions returning from their tricky trip to Russia with a 2-0 victory.

Twente went ahead in the 77th minute when Luuk de Jong headed home a Theo Janssen cross, with Peter Wisgerhof tapping home the rebound from de Jong’s shot after 88 minutes to ice the result.

Ajax secured a 3-0 away win over Anderlecht in Brussels to take a commanding lead into their second leg.

Toby Alderweireld gave the visitors the lead in the 32nd minute, but the Belgian club had the ideal chance to equalise when referee Gianluca Rocchi pointed to the spot.

But Polish defender Marcin Wasilewski failed to convert the 55th-minute chance, and Ajax made them pay by doubling their lead four minutes later through highly rated Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen.

Morocco striker Mounir El Hamdaoui topped off the victory with a goal in the 68th minute.

Benfica fought back late in their first leg to gain the ascendancy over Stuttgart with a 2-1 victory at the Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica.

The Bundesliga strugglers took the lead in the 21st minute when former Werder Bremen midfielder Martin Harnik found the back of the net with his superb lob over Benfica goalkeeper Roberto.

But a brace from Paraguay striker Oscar Cardozo – one goal of which came from a neat turn-and-finish – helped the Portuguese side take the lead into their second leg in Germany.

Lech Poznan defied a snowy pitch to inflict a 1-0 defeat on Sporting Braga at Stadion Miejski in Poland.

Artoms Rudnevs got behind the Portuguese club’s defence to slide the winner through the snow and Brazilian goalkeeper Artur’s legs.

Dynamo Kiev thrashed Turkish opponents Besiktas 4-1 in Istanbul to set up their tie for the taking.

Ognjen Vukojevic put the Ukrainian club in front in the 27th minute, but Besiktas equalised ten minutes later via Portugal winger Ricardo Quaresma.

Former AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko put the visitors ahead five minutes after the break, and Atanda Yussuf made it 3-1 after 56 minutes.

Oleg Husyev converted a 90th-minute penalty to give his side another valuable goal, with Quaresma compounding his side’s woes through his dismissal for a second yellow card.

Paris Saint-Germain scored late to steal a 2-2 draw against Belarusian club BATE Borisov in Minsk.

The hosts led in the 16th minute when Renan found the back of the net, but Mevlut Erdinc equalised on the half-hour mark.

Borisov’s Mikhail Gordeychuk looked to have stolen victory with his 81st-minute goal, but veteran striker Peguy Luyindula netted with one minute of normal time remaining to give the French club the edge on away goals heading into the final leg.

Spanish club Villarreal held Napoli to a scoreless draw at the Stadio San Paolo, but not before Salvatore Aronica was sent off in the 90th minute for the Italian side.

Chilean midfielder Matias Fernandez headed home late to deny Rangers victory at Ibrox, cancelling out Steven Whittaker’s opener for the Scots and ensuring the match finished 1-1.

Liverpool held Sparta Prague to a 0-0 stalemate at Generali Arena.

Young Boys fought back from an early deficit to record a 2-1 victory over Zenit St Petersburg at Stade de Suisse.

Nicolas Lombaerts put the visitors ahead on 20 minutes and the Russian club maintained their lead to the break.

But the Swiss side fought back almost immediately after half-time, with Senad Lulic restoring parity in the 46th minute.

The match was destined for a draw until Zambian striker Emmanuel Mayuka scored a 90th-minute winner to give Young Boys the edge heading into the second leg.

Czech Tomas Necid scored the only goal in CSKA Moscow’s 1-0 victory over PAOK.

Fredy Guarin stabbed home an 85th-minute winner in Porto’s 2-1 triumph over Sevilla at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in Spain.

PSV Eindhoven turned their tie with Lille on its head with two late goals at the Stadium Nord Lille Metropole to force a 2-2 draw.

Lille led 2-0 after 31 minutes, but goals in quick succession from Wilfred Bouma (83rd minute) and Ola Toivonen (84th) saw the Dutch side rescue the game.

Article title: Europa League wrap: Late drama adds to intrigue

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