London: Russian clubs ruled the Europa League roost on Thursday as Rubin Kazan upset holders Atletico Madrid while Anzhi Makhachkala and Zenit St Petersburg opened up commanding first-leg advantages in their last-32 ties.
Rubin’s Gokdeniz Karadeniz scored after six minutes and Pablo Orbaiz struck deep into the added time to give the Russians, who played the entire second half with 10 men after Roman Sharonov was sent off, a shocking 2-0 win at Atletico.
Anzhi beat Hanover 3-1 and Zenit won 2-0 at home against five-times European Cup winners Liverpool. Goals from Vladimir Darida, Frantisek Rajtoral and Stanislav Tecl helped unfancied Czechs Viktoria Plzen upset Napoli 3-0 away.
Brazilian Oscar saved European champions Chelsea from blushes late on at Sparta Prague in a 1-0 victory, and Gareth Bale continued his remarkable scoring form with two superb free-kicks in Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-1 home win over Olympique Lyon.