Inter and Lazio win in Europa League, Spurs held


LONDON (AP) -Italian teams Inter Milan and Lazio earned their first group-stage victories in the Europa League on Thursday but Athletic Bilbao was soundly defeated by Sparta Prague to continue last season's runner-up's poor start to the campaign.

First-half goals by Philippe Coutinho, Joel Obi and Marko Livaja set Inter on its way to a 3-1 win at Neftci of Azerbaijan and left Andrea Stramaccioni's side level on four points in Group H with Rubin Kazan, which beat Partizan Belgrade 2-0.

"Even though there were a lot of changes to the side, Inter put in a really solid first half. This group of players is on the way up," said Stramaccioni, whose team plays AC Milan in the city derby this weekend.

Lazio heads Group J on four points after its 1-0 home win over Maribor of Slovenia, courtesy of Ederson's 62nd-minute winner. Tottenham is languishing in third place after conceding a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw at struggling Panathinaikos for a second straight point.

Spurs took a first-half lead through Michael Dawson but couldn't make their dominance count before Toche leveled in the 77th for Panathinaikos, which threw captain Costas Katsouranis off the team Wednesday after a disappointing start in the Greek league.

"There is a sense of disappointment," said Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas, who won the Europa League with Porto in 2011. "In the second half, we made a lot of mistakes in passing and that let them in the game. But a point away from home is positive."

Bilbao, which lost last season's final to fellow Spanish side Atletico Madrid, is in the bottom three in the Spanish league and still hasn't won a match in Europe after losing 3-1 in the Czech Republic, having fallen three goals behind by the 56th minute.

Bilbao is bottom of a Group I headed by Lyon, which beat Hapoel Kiryat Shmona 4-3 in a thrilling match in Israel thanks to Gueida Fofana's stoppage-time winner.

Hannover played with 10 men from the 10th minute but still managed to come from behind to beat Levante 2-1 at home to climb top of Group L.

Defender Karim Haggui was sent off for pulling down Fanis Gekas and Michel scored from the resulting penalty for Levante, but goals by Szabolcs Huszti and Didier Ya Konan earned Hannover victory.

Genk of Belgium stayed top of Group G by holding FC Basel to a 2-2 draw.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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