Ajax took a smash-and-grab win from their trip to Florence with a goal from Kennedy Bakircioglu giving Marco van Basten’s side a 1-0 win over last year’s semi-finalists Fiorentina. It had been one-way traffic for much of the night at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, but Bakircioglu’s 60th-minute strike against the run of play showed the home side the way to goal.
The Viola were unable to respond and missed a hatful of chances to leave them a mountain to climb in Holland next week.
Marko Arnautovic’s first-half strike earned Ajax’s Eredivisie rivals FC Twente a first-leg victory over an off-colour Marseille at the Stade Velodrome.
The Austria forward tapped home from close range in the 22nd minute to end Twente’s record of eight successive away defeats in UEFA competition, putting them in the driving seat for qualification for the last 16.
OM have won their last two Ligue 1 matches, against Bordeaux and Monaco, but they were disappointing in this one and face an uphill battle to overturn the deficit in Holland in the second leg next Thursday.
Lech Poznan came from two goals down to claim a 2-2 draw in the home leg of their tie with Udinese. Striker Fabio Quagliarella opened the scoring early in the second half before an own goal from Lech defender Manuel Arboleda gave the visitors a 2-0 lead five minutes later.
However, Udinese were left stunned as the Poles pulled level in the last 10 minutes. Lech forward Hernan Rengifo reduced the deficit in the 81st minute before Arboleda made amends for his defensive miscue to nod in the equaliser six minutes from time.