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May 27, 2017

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Liverpool, Newcastle win as Spurs held for 3rd Group J draw

PARIS -- A second-half goal from Stewart Downing ensured Liverpool avoided an unwanted record Thursday as the English Premier League outfit edged Russia's Anzhi Makhachkala 1-0 at Anfield to bolster their Europa League hopes.

Downing's well taken 53rd-minute strike means 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 and Cameroon international star Samuel Eto'o in their ranks but he had a quiet night.

Also flying the flag for England are Newcastle, who thanked 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.

Midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson rescued a point to keep the Londoners in touch with Group J leaders Lazio, who produced the same scoreline at Panathinaikos.

Of some consolation to Spurs was Jose Verdu Nicolas's last-gasp leveller for Panathinaikos which denied Lazio a win that looked likely after Georgios Seitaridis had put through his own goal in the first half.

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.

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