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October 24, 2009

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Big wins for Benfica, Shakhtar

JAVIER Saviola and Oscar Cardozo scored two goals apiece and defender Luisao was also on target as Benfica thumped Everton 5-0 in the Europa League on Thursday.

Shakhtar Donetsk, who won the UEFA Cup in its last year, Sporting Lisbon and FC Salzburg all won to maintain their 100 percent records at the halfway mark in the group stage.

AS Roma ensured an unhappy night for English teams with an injury-time equalizer in a 1-1 draw at Fulham, while city rival Lazio also struck in added time to beat Villarreal 2-1.

The top two in the 12 groups qualify for the knockout stage where they will be joined by 10 teams eliminated from the Champions League.

Everton travelled to Lisbon with six points from its first two Group I outings but was plagued by injuries and fell behind to a goal from Argentine Saviola after 14 minutes.

The visitors were taken apart after the break when Paraguay striker Oscar Cardozo scored twice in a minute, turning in crosses from Saviola and Angel Di Maria, and Brazil defender Luisao headed in the fourth goal from a corner in the 52nd.

Saviola added a fifth late on to hand Everton its heaviest defeat in Europe after a result that left Benfica level with it at the top of the group on six points from three games.

Brazil's Fernandinho gave Shakhtar Donetsk the lead from the penalty spot against Toulouse before his compatriot Luiz Adriano added two more. Czech Tomas Huebschman also scored to round off a 4-0 win for the Ukrainians who top Group J with nine points.

Norwegian Brede Hangeland headed Fulham in front after 24 minutes of its Group E game at Craven Cottage.

Roma's Jeremy Menez had a 78th minute penalty saved by Mark Schwarzer but Marco Andreolli rifled home in the third minute of stoppage time to level the scores at 1-1.

Basel overtook Fulham at the top of the group, winning 2-0 at CSKA Sofia with two goals from Switzerland's record international scorer Alex Frei.

Sporting Lisbon maintained its perfect record after three games in Group D after Joao Moutinho gave it a 2-1 win at Latvia's Ventspils.

Lazio also pulled off a dramatic 2-1 victory despite playing the last quarter of its Group G game with 10 men.

Substitute Tommaso Rocchi's last-gasp winner left Lazio with six points, three behind Salzburg which beat Levski Sofia 1-0 with a Dusan Svento goal in first-half injury time.

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez inspired Ajax Amsterdam to a 2-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb which took it level on five points with Anderlecht at the top of Group A. Suarez converted an early penalty, set up the second goal for Dennis Rommedahl nine minutes from time and was involved in most of his team's best moves.

Peru striker Claudio Pizarro put Werder Bremen 2-0 ahead at Austria Vienna in Group L but Emin Sulimani pulled one back and Brazilian striker Schumacher struck an 87th minute equalizer for the hosts.


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