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Europa League: Valencia give Neville boost, Tottenham Hotspurs draw

Paris: Premier League title contenders Tottenham Hotspur fared better than Manchester United in the Europa League, coming away from their trip to Italy to face Fiorentina with a 1-1 draw that puts them in a strong position ahead of next week's return.

Tottenham Hotspur's midfielder from Belgium, Nacer Chadili (2ndR) celebrates with teammates after scoring a penalty during the UEFA Europa League football match Fiorentina vs Tottenham at Florence's 'Artemio Franchi' comunal stadium. Pic/AFP
Tottenham Hotspur's midfielder from Belgium, Nacer Chadili (2ndR) celebrates with teammates after scoring a penalty during the UEFA Europa League football match Fiorentina vs Tottenham at Florence's 'Artemio Franchi' comunal stadium. Pic/AFP

Mauricio Pochettino sent out a strong side, albeit one missing first-choice goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and with Harry Kane on the bench. And Spurs went in front in the 37th minute when Nacer Chadli converted from the penalty spot after Ben Davies was brought down by Nenad Tomovic. However, Fiorentina, who sit third in Serie A, drew level just before the hour mark thanks to Federico Bernardeschi, whose long-range strike beat Michel Vorm with the aid of a deflection off Ryan Mason.

Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp's return to Germany with Liverpool saw his side draw 0-0 with Bundesliga outfit Augsburg in Bavaria, leaving that tie finely poised. Liverpool may regret not getting an away goal, but it could have been worse for them as substitute Ji Dong-Won hit the woodwork for the hosts late on. "There's no point getting carried away, 0-0 away from home isn't a bad result, but we still have a lot of work to do," said Klopp.

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Valencia can already start looking forward to the last 16 after destroying Rapid Vienna 6-0 at the Mestalla to give under-fire coach Gary Neville a major boost. Valencia were five goals to the good at the break with Santi Mina scoring two and Dani Parejo, Alvaro Negredo and Andre Gomes also on target. Substitute Rodrigo wrapped up the win late on.

Holders Sevilla have one foot in the last 16 after beating Molde of Norway 3-0 at the Sanchez Pizjuan with Fernando Llorente netting twice before Kevin Gameiro wrapped up the win. Fellow Spaniards Villarreal beat Serie A visitors Napoli 1-0 via a late goal from Denis Suarez, and Athletic Bilbao completed a fine night for clubs from La Liga as they won 1-0 at Marseille thanks to a stunning volley by Aritz Aduriz, the veteran striker scoring his 26th goal of the season.

Elsewhere, Borussia Dortmind put themselves in a strong position against FC Porto as they beat the Portuguese giants 2-0 at the Signal Iduna Park thanks to a goal in each half from Lukasz Piszczek and Marco Reus. Dortmund's local rivals Schalke drew 0-0 with Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine while Bayer Leverkusen won 1-0 at Sporting Lisbon with Karim Bellarabi getting the only goal.

Anderlecht beat Olympiakos 1-0 as Serigne Mbodji got the only goal of the game in Brussels, while a late strike by Jean-Christophe Bahebeck, on loan from Paris Saint-Germain, gave Saint-Etienne a 3-2 win at home to Swiss champions Basel. Lazio came from behind to draw 1-1 with Galatasaray in Istanbul thanks to a Sergej Milinkovic-Savic strike, while Sparta Prague edged the Russians Krasnodar 1-0 and 2011 runners-up Braga beat Sion 2-1 in Switzerland.

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