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Mixed Night For English Clubs In Europa League

It was a very mixed night for Premier League clubs on Thursday in the Europa LEague, with Spurs beating Maribor, Newcastle drawing at Club Bruges while Liverpool lost at Anzhi.

At White Hart Lane, responded to not being included in the latest England squad by scoring a brilliant hat-trick as Tottenham got its Europa League campaign back on track after drawing their first three group games.

Defoe put them Spurs ahead with a fine volley from Gareth Bale’s cross midway through the first half before a comedy of errors between defender Kyle Naughton and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris allowed Robert Beric to level just before half-time.

But Defoe drilled home to restore his side’s advantage and slipped home another Bale centre to seal the win. It was a convincing result that moves Andre Villas-Boas’s side up to second in the table – two points behind leaders Lazio, who beat Panathinaikos 3-0, and two above third-place Maribor.

Spurs travel to Lazio on 22 November before hosting Panathinaikos on 6 December, needing four points to guarantee a place in the last 32.

Newcastle came back from two goals to earn a point at Club Bruges and remain top of Europa League Group D.

Ivan Trickovski sent Tim Krul the wrong way with a low effort to open the scoring, before Jesper Jorgensen’s weak shot from distance made it 2-0 for the Belguim side.

But a superb volley from Vurnon Anita and a goal from Shola Ameobi right before half-time helped gave Newcastle a share of the points.

With Bordeaux beating Maritimo 1-0 in the other group game, the point keeps Newcastle firmly on course to reach the last 32. They are four points ahead of third-place Club Bruges with two games remaining.

Meanwhile, Liverpool Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers was left trying to defend his decision to leave several senior players in England after his side lost 1-0 to Anzhi Makhachkala.

Liverpool stars Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez did not travel to Moscow, where Lacina Traore’s strike gave Anzhi victory to put them top of Europa League Group A.

Rodgers made nine changes from the 1-1 draw with Newcastle on Sunday, handing 19-year-old reserve team captain Conor Coady his debut in midfield, 18-year-old striker Adam Morgan only his second start and recalling Jon Flanagan.

With two matches remaining in the group stage, at home to Swiss side Young Boys and away to Udinese, Liverpool, who are joint second in Group A, still have much to do to ensure qualification for the last 32.

Elsewhere, Inter Milan, Rubin Kazan, Lyon, Bayer Leverkusen, Metalist Kharkiv and Hannover all booked a place in the last 32. Meanwhile Atletico Madrid saw its 16 match winning streak in UEFA competition come to an end as they lost 2-0 to Portuguese side Academica.