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Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012
Udinese hands Reds Europa League defeat
LONDON — Udinese produced a stirring comeback to beat Liverpool 3-2 away in the Europa League on Thursday, joining fellow Italian teams Inter Milan and Lazio in notching maiden group-stage victories in this season's competition.
Trailing 1-0 at halftime at Anfield, Udinese stunned the five-time European champions with a second-half fightback sparked by Antonio Di Natale's well-taken equalizer and completed by Giovanni Pasquale's drilled finish that proved to be the winning goal.
"We can't have to score three, four or five goals to win games," said Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, bemoaning defensive sloppiness that has plagued his team so far this season. "We're just disappointed after such a good first half to give away such poor goals in the second half to leave us chasing the game."
Anzhi Makhachkala is level on four points with Udinese at the top of Group A thanks to a 2-0 win over Young Boys, courtesy of a brace by veteran Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o.
Inter scored all its goals in the first half in a 3-1 win at Neftci of Azerbaijan to leave Andrea Stramaccioni's side level on four points in Group H with Rubin Kazan, which beat Partizan Belgrade 2-0.
Lazio heads Group J on four points following a 1-0 home win over Maribor of Slovenia, but Tottenham is languishing in third place after conceding a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw at Panathinaikos.
The only dampener on the night for Serie A clubs was Napoli's 3-0 loss at PSV Eindhoven. That result ceded top spot in Group F to Dnipro and came as a surprise given a 4-0 win over AIK Solna by Walter Mazzarri's side two weeks ago and its strong start to Serie A, where the team is unbeaten in second place.
Elsewhere, Cristian Rodriguez grabbed an injury-time winner for Atletico Madrid in a 1-0 victory over Plzen, the defending champions' second straight triumph in Group B. French club Lyon also left it late to beat Hapoel Kiryat Shmona 4-3 in a thrilling match in Israel, with Gueida Fofana scoring a stoppage-time winner.
However, there was no end to the woes of Athletic Bilbao, last season's beaten finalist, which lost 3-1 to Sparta Prague to slump to the bottom of Group I. Bilbao is also in the relegation zone in the Spanish League.
In other results, France forward Loic Remy scored twice in Group C leader Marseille's 5-1 thrashing of AEL Limassol, fellow French club Bordeaux was sunk 3-0 at Newcastle and Hannover beat Levante 2-1 despite playing with 10 men for 80 minutes. In another surprising result, unheralded Hungarian side Videoton swept past Sporting Lisbon 3-0 in Group G.
Liverpool came into the match against Udinese in a buoyant mood, and it started well with Jonjo Shelvey scoring in the 23rd with a fine header.
But the evergreen Di Natale equalized 32 seconds after the break, and after Sebastian Coates headed into his own net, Pasquale thumped a low shot into the corner in the 72nd. Substitute Luis Suarez pulled a goal back from a free kick but late pressure failed to produce an equalizer for Liverpool.