Benfica, Shakhtar on song

PARIS: Everton sank to a first Europa League defeat with a 5-0 loss at Benfica, while reigning champions Shakhtar Donetsk thrashed Toulouse and Roma rescued a draw at Fulham on Thursday.

An injury-time goal earned 10-man Lazio a 2-1 win over Villarreal, Spanish heavyweights Valencia were held 1-1 at home to Slavia Prague and struggling Scottish giants Celtic went down 1-0 to Hamburg.

Everton were 1-0 behind at half-time at the Estadio da Luz after Javier Saviola volleyed the home side in front before three goals in seven minutes put the game beyond the visitors. Oscar Cardozo scored twice from close range after pin-point left-wing assists from Saviola and Di Maria, before Luisao headed in the fourth. Saviola touched home his second late on from another Di Maria assist as the hosts drew level with their opponents on six points at the Group I summit.

Premier League side Fulham took an early lead against their Serie A opponents when Brede Hangeland headed home from a corner before Stephen Kelly was sent off after conceding a 78th-minute penalty for a foul on John Arne Riise. Mark Schwarzer preserved the home side’s lead by brilliantly repelling Jeremy Menez’s spotkick. Fulham looked poised for a memorable victory but defender Marco Andreolli lashed in a half-volley off the underside of the crossbar with the last kick of the game to earn Claudio Ranieri’s men a point.

Mauro Zarate gave Lazio the lead in their Group G home game with Villarreal before Sebastian Eguren equalised five minutes before the break. Midfielder Matuzalem was sent off for the hosts mid-way through the second period but they snatched victory in injury time through skipper Tommaso Rocchi.

Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg maintained control of the group by beating Levski Sofia 1-0, with a 20-yard drive by Dusan Svento securing their third consecutive win. Shakhtar were 3-0 up at half-time against French side Toulouse and went on to win 4-0 as they maintained their perfect start in Group J.

Valencia fell behind to a 28th-minute strike from Slavia’s striker Riste Naumov before drawing level in the second half through David Navarro. That result allowed Lille to assume a two-point lead over the Spaniards in Group B after they belied indifferent domestic form to beat Italy’s Genoa 3-0.

Celtic were sunk by a 63rd-minute goal from Hamburg’s Marcus Berg and remain bottom of Group A, with Israeli side Hapoel Tel Aviv level on six points with Hamburg after stunning Rapid Vienna 5-1. Dutch league leaders FC Twente went down 2-0 at Moldovan outsiders Sheriff Tiraspol, while there were also wins for Ajax, PSV Eindhoven, Athletic Bilbao, Fenerbahce, Galatasaray, Sporting Lisbon and Panathinaikos.

Extra referee’s blunder

LONDON: One of the additional referees helping the main official at Europa League games almost got the wrong player sent off in Fulham’s 1-1 draw with Roma on Thursday. In an experimental move, extra refs are stationed at either end of the field to give the man with the whistle additional eyes and to help with close and contentious decisions. When Belgian referee Paul Allaerts awarded Roma a penalty in the 78th minute after John Arne Riise went down under a challenge, he asked the extra official who made the foul.

Although it was clearly Stephen Kelly who brought Riise down from behind, the extra official pointed to Brede Hangeland, who was shown

the red card. Eventually the Fulham players put the officials right — Kelly went off and Hangeland stayed on. — AP