Tottenham shocked at Dnipro

 

The Sports Network

Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine (SportsNetwork.com) - Tottenham suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at Dnipro in Europa League play at Dnipro Arena on Thursday.

The Ukrainian side had the better run of play in the opening half-hour, but Spurs managed to settle into the match to put Denys Boyko under a bit of pressure in the Dnipro net.

Tottenham thought it had taken the lead just after the hour mark when Christian Eriksen, who had entered the match just moments before, broke through for a goal, but his strike was disallowed with the Danish international being ruled offside.

The Premier League side was made to rue that miss when Dnipro was awarded a penalty kick in the 81st minute. Jan Vertonghen was the aggressor, committing a foul on Nascimento Leite Matheus in the penalty area, and Yevhen Konoplyanka converted the ensuing attempt with a shot off the post and into the back of the net.

Dnipro had a number of chances to extend the lead in the dying stages but failed to double its advantage, settling for a narrow lead ahead of the second leg at White Hart Lane on Feb. 27.

A handful of Europe's other top sides will not face the same battle ahead of next week's return matches as Juventus earned a 2-0 home win over Trabzonspor and Valencia took a 2-0 victory at Dynamo Kyiv.

Pablo Daniel Osvaldo and Paul Pogba scored on opposite sides of halftime in the Old Lady's 2-0 win at Juventus Stadium while Valencia, held scoreless until the 80th minute, managed to take a two-goal advantage into the second leg thanks to late strikes from Eduardo Vargas and Sofiane Feghouli.

Fiorentina also cruised in the opening leg of its Europa League tie, getting a 3-1 win at Esbjerg on Thursday. The two sides exchanged goals inside the opening 10 minutes, but Josip Ilicic turned the match in favor of the Serie A club before a penalty from Alberto Aquilani in the 37th minute put the Italian side in cruise control.

AZ Alkmaar and Benfica picked up road wins in their respective Europa League ties as Nick Viergever's 89th-minute strike gave the Eredivisie club a 1-0 victory over Liberec while Lima scored the lone goal in the Portuguese club's 1-0 defeat of PAOK.

Rounding out Thursday's early Europa League contests, Anzhi overcame IIya Maksimov's late red card to earn a 0-0 draw with Genk while Lyon was unable to find an away goal in a 0-0 draw at Chornomorets.

Red Bull Salzburg pulled off one of the more impressive results of the day by getting a 3-0 victory at Ajax. The Austrian side netted all three goals in the first half as a brace from Jonathan with a goal from Sadio Mane in between completed the comfortable win.

Lazio, meanwhile, suffered a disappointing home defeat on Thursday, falling to Ludogorets in a 1-0 loss at the Stadio Olimpico. Roman Bezjak netted the lone goal of the affair, which proved to be enough for the visitors after Felipe Anderson missed a penalty kick for Lazio in the 49th minute.

The remaining Europa League match-ups ended in ties as Swansea City and Napoli finished 0-0 at the Liberty Stadium, Viktoria Plzen and Shakhtar Donetsk scored five minutes apart in a 1-1 draw, Roman Eremenko converted a second- half penalty in Rubin Kazan's 1-1 draw at Real Betis, Dare Vrsic scored nine minutes from time to help Maribor earn a 1-1 draw against Sevilla, Eintracht Frankfurt overturned a two-goal deficit to get a 2-2 draw at FC Porto and Basel failed to score in a 0-0 draw at Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

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