Europa League respite for English clubs
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English clubs put behind their middling league form to run up wins during the midweek Europa League fixtures on Thursday. Liverpool beat Anzhi Makhachkala 1-0 while Newcastle also registered a similar win over Club Brugge. Tottenham managed a last gast draw against NK Maribor.
A second half goal from Stewart Downing ensured Liverpool avoided an unwanted record as the Reds outfit edged Russia's Anzhi 1-0 at Anfield to bolster their Europa League hopes. Downing's well taken 53rd-minute strike meant Liverpool avoided two straight European home losses for the first time in their history after their recent hiccup against Italy's Udinese and they now lead Group A with six points from three matches.
Better still for the Merseysiders, who now lead the Russians and the Italians by two points, Udinese went down to a shock 3-1 loss at unheralded Swiss side Young Boys, throwing away a chance to go top of the section.
Anzhi came to Liverpool boasting former Barcelona and Inter Milan Champions League winner Samuel Eto'o in their ranks but he had a quiet night. Also flying the flag for England are Newcastle, who thanks to a goal from French winger Gabriel Obertan just after the restart for a second straight home win which keeps the Magpies in charge of Group D.
Alan Pardew's men now lead Bordeaux, already dismissed emphatically at Saint James' Park, by three points after the Girondins - Obertan's former club - could only draw at Portugal's Maritimo. But there was frustration for another English side, Tottenham, who had to settle for a third straight draw in Group J, held 1-1 at Slovenia's Maribor.
Elsewhere, holders Atletico Madrid thanked goals from Diego Costa and Turkish midfielder Emre Belozoglu for a third straight Group B triumph over Portugal's Coimbra. Turkey's Fenerbache top Group C after a 1-0 success at Cypriot side Limassol.