UEFA Cup holders Zenit St Petersburg shook off the rust to win the first leg of their last-32 showdown with Stuttgart 2-1.
Szabolcs Huszti gave Zenit the lead after just two minutes only for Mario Gomez to equalise, but Anatoliy Tymoshchuk – who has agreed to join to Bayern Munich next season – made it 2-1 two minutes into first-half stoppage time.
Valencia put their poor recent domestic form behind them to take a slight advantage in their tie against 10-man Dynamo Kiev with a 1-1 draw at the Lobanovsky Dynamo Stadium.
David Silva netted a vital away goal for Los Che after nine minutes and, although Dynamo drew level just after the hour mark when Florin Cernat’s thunderous free-kick was deflected in, the visitors will be the happier of the two sides – even though Dynamo had Artem Milevskiy sent off.
St Etienne produced a classic away performance to claim a deserved 3-1 victory over Olympiacos at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium. First-half goals from Ilan and Geoffrey Dernis set Alain Perrin’s side on their way before Predrag Djordjevic pulled a goal back from the penalty spot just after the hour.
Substitute Bafetimbi Gomis added gloss to the scoreline for Les Verts with a stoppage-time strike to put the French side firmly in the driving seat ahead of the return leg next week.
AC Milan earned a valuable away draw at Werder Bremen. Filippo Inzaghi opened the scoring after 36 minutes for the Italian giants, with Brazilian playmaker Diego equalising in the 84th minute after Bremen forced a number of great chances.
Loan star David Beckham started the game on the bench, coming only for the final two minutes plus stoppage time for Ronaldinho.
Two goals in the last five minutes of the first half from Piotr Trochowski and Alex Silva made life very tough for NEC.
And Croatia forward Ivica Olic added a third with 15 minutes to go to give Martin Jol’s side a very healthy advantage with the home leg to come next week.
Paris St Germain will take a commanding lead into the second-leg tie against Wolfsburg next week thanks to Guillaume Hoarau’s late double at the Parc des Princes.
The tall striker headed home twice in the final 11 minutes to give the Ligue 1 team a deserved first-leg cushion.
The impressive Anders Due struck twice as AaB Aalborg netted three second-half goals to take a strong grip on their tie against Deportivo La Coruna.
Michael Jakobsen wrapped up the victory for the Danish side.
Braga all-but sealed their place in the last 16 with a comfortable first-leg victory over Standard Liege. The Portuguese side were two up within the first half-hour through goals from Wason Renteria and Andre Leone. Chances were few and far between after the break but Luis Aguigar made it 3-0 late on.