Samuel Eto'o scored twice to give ambitious Anzhi Makhachkala a 2-0 Europa League win over Young Boys on Thursday while Liverpool lost 3-2 at home to Udinese and Videton, Sparta Prague and Molde pulled off surprise wins.
Defending champions Atletico Madrid, one of several teams fielding
a second string line-up, needed a goal deep in stoppage time from Cristian Rodriguez to overcome defiant Czechs Viktoria Plzen 1-0.
The Uruguayan player known as “ Onion” let fly from outside the area to leave Diego Simeone's team with six points from two games at the top of Group B. Eto'o, who last week ended his stand-off with Cameroon officials and agreed to play for his country again, converted a 62th minute penalty against the run of play.
He then turned in Oleg Shatov's cross in the last minute to complete a 2-0 win over the Swiss side and extend Anzhi's unbeaten run to seven matches in the competition, including the qualifiers.
Liverpool were another side to rest their regulars but still took a first-half lead through Jonjo Shelvey. Antonio Di Natale levelled with a superbly-taken goal immediately after the break and he cleverly set a third for Giovanni Pasquale shortly after Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates headed into his own goal. Liverpool brought on Uruguay forward Luis Suarez who scored with a perfectly flighted free kick but could not inspire an equaliser.
Cole risks sanction over FA criticism
Paris: Chelsea defender Ashley Cole on Friday risked a Football Association sanction and his England team place after strongly criticising the governing body's ruling into the John Terry-Anton Ferdinand racism case.
Cole hit out after the FA published a 63-page written judgment on its website thefa.com into the disciplinary case against his Stamford Bridge team-mate that saw him banned for four matches and fined 22,000 pounds.
The ruling highlights what it said were "issues and inconsistencies" in Cole's evidence about what he initially said he heard QPR defender Ferdinand say to Terry and his later statements.
Brazil coach blasts Argentine FA
Rio De Janeiro: The Argentine FA insulted fans by trying to stage Wednesday's friendly against Brazil in a small, provincial stadium that was cancelled by a floodlight failure, said Brazil coach Mano Menezes.
“I haven't experienced anything like this for a long time, the last time was probably with a junior match in the interior of Rio Grande do Sul (state),” Menezes told the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper in an interview.
“Football's image has been damaged...the supporters are the most important part of the game and they were disrespected by the Argentine Football Association's (AFA) decision to take the game to a stadium which didn't offer conditions for a game of this standard.”