It was a clean sweep for Italy in the first round of the UEFA Cup as all four Serie A sides in action recorded first-leg victories.
AC Milan are having to adjust to a rare season without UEFA Champions League football and they quickly found their feet with a morale-boosting triumph against FC Zurich, while Sampdoria were the night's big winners, hitting five past Kaunas in Genoa.
Napoli held off a spirited Benfica in Naples while Udinese were impressive winners away to Borussia Dortmund.
AC MILAN 3-1 FC ZURICH
After opening the Serie A season with successive defeats, Milan lifted their spirits with a convincing win against Zurich. Andriy Shevchenko twice went close for the Rossoneri before playing a part in the opening goal a minute into added time at the end of the first half. Zurich goalkeeper Johnny Leoni saved his shot but Marek Jankulovski was on hand to volley in the rebound. Zurich striker Alexandre Alphonse's 66th-minute header hit the post and just seconds after that Alexandre Pato doubled Milan's advantage with a 25-metre free-kick. Substitute Marco Borriello made it three after being teed up by Shevchenko on 74 minutes, though the Rossoneri's celebrations were tempered by Dusan Djuric's 30-metre drive four minutes after that which ensures Zurich return to Switzerland with a foothold still in the tie.
SAMPDORIA 5-0 KAUNAS
Emiliano Bonazzoli and Antonio Cassano both scored twice as Sampdoria put one foot in the group stage with a crushing victory against the Lithuanian champions. Bonazzoli headed in Angelo Palombo's corner on 14 minutes and added a second eight minutes later. Cassano got in on the act nine minutes before the break and scored again 12 minutes into the second half with a fine curling free-kick. A dire night for Kaunas was compounded when Vytautas Luksa was sent off for a second yellow card with three minutes to play before substitute Bruno Fornaroli headed another in the final minute.
NAPOLI 3-2 BENFICA
Napoli prevailed in a five-goal thriller at the Stadio San Paolo, but Luisao's 59th-minute strike to reduce the arrears leaves Benfica well placed for the return. The Portuguese side had appeared in good stead in Italy when David Suazo, on-loan from Inter, headed them in front, yet within three minutes goals from Luigi Vitale and German Denis had turned the match on its head. Both owed much to good fortune and there was more than a hint of luck in Napoli's third goal ten minutes after half-time too as Leo diverted Christian Maggio's cross past Quim. Luisao quickly responded, however, to leave the tie in the balance for the return leg in Lisbon.
BORUSSIA DORTMUND 0-2 UDINESE
First-half goals from Antonio Floro Flores and Gokhan Inler put Udinese in the driving seat at the Westfalenstadion as the Friuli side made the most of some sloppy Dortmund defending to take control of the tie. Floro Flores struck on the break eight minutes in before Swiss international Inler doubled the advantage when he turned in Simone Pepe's cross with 34 minutes played. A young Dortmund side regrouped after the interval but were fortunate not to fall further behind as they pressed for a way back into the tie.
UEFA CUP RESULTS
First Round, First Leg
Tuesday 16 September
Apoel Nicosia 1-4 Schalke
FC Nordsjaelland 0-2 Olympiakos
Hertha Berlin 2-0 St Patrick's Athletic
Thursday 18 September
AC Milan 3-1 FC Zurich
FC Timisoara 1-2 Partizan Belgrade
Banik Ostrava 0-1 Spartak Moscow
Besiktas 1-0 Metalist Kharkiv
Portsmouth 2-0 Vitoria Guimaraes
Kayserispor 1-2 PSG
Sevilla 2-0 Salzburg
Wolfsburg 1-0 Rapid Bucharest
Sampdoria 5-0 Kaunas
Maritimo 0-1 Valencia
Dinamo Zagreb 0-0 Sparta Prague
Omonia Nicosia 1-2 Manchester City
Young Boys Berne 2-2 Club Brugge
Nancy 1-0 Motherwell
Everton 2-2 Standard Liege
Napoli 3-2 Benfica
Bellinzona 3-4 Galatasaray
NEC Nijmegen 1-0 Dinamo Bucharest
Litex Lovech 1-3 Aston Villa
Austria Vienna 2-1 Lech Poznan
Vitoria Setubal 1-1 Heerenveen
Brann 2-0 Deportivo La Coruna
Slavia Prague 0-0 Vaslui
Slaven Koprivnica 1-2 CSKA Moscow
Brondby 1-2 Rosenborg
Cherno More 1-2 Stuttgart
Rennes 2-1 FC Twente
FK Borac 1-4 Ajax
Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Wisla Krakow
FC Moscow 1-2 FC Copenhagen
Zilina 1-1 Levski Sofia
Borussia Dortmund 0-2 Udinese
Braga 4-0 Artmedia Bratislava
Feyenoord 0-1 Kalmar
Hamburg 0-0 Unirea Urziceni
Hapoel Tel-Aviv 1-2 Saint-Etienne
The return second leg matches will take place on Thursday 2 October.
[First Leg] - [Second Leg]