English teams fare well in UEFA Cup

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/f/football.jpg' class='caption'> England enjoyed a good night in the UEFA Cup with wins from Tottenham, Manchester City and Aston Villa.

Updated: November 07, 2008 08:21 IST
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England enjoyed a good night in the UEFA Cup with wins from Tottenham, Manchester City and Aston Villa.

Tottenham on Thursday continued its recent revival with an easy 4-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb, City beat FC Twente 3-2 and Villa built on its opening win over Ajax with a 1-0 win at Slavia Prague.

In other of the day's 16 matches, former winner Galatasaray won 2-0 at Benfica, AC Milan beat Braga 1-0, and Sevilla, which won the tournament in 2006 and '07, was shocked 1-0 at Standard Liege.

Darren Bent scored a hat trick Thursday to stretch Tottenham's unbeaten run to four games and re-ignite the Premier League team's hopes of advancing.

In a match affected by clashes between Dinamo fans and stewards following the lighting of a flare, Bent struck more than once in a game for Spurs for the first time to take his season tally to nine -- one more than he managed in the whole of last season.

Bent scored twice in the first half and once in the second, when midfielder Tom Huddlestone added another goal, as Tottenham moved to three points from two matches.

Spurs almost took a third minute lead when Igor Biscan deflected Alan Hutton's cross onto his own post but Bent got the first goal in the 30th. The former England striker hit a shot off Biscan following a cross by David Bentley.

It was 2-0 three minutes later from a cross by Huddlestone and, despite the off-field disturbances, the midfielder hit a low 35-meter (yard) volley in the 59th to increase the two-time UEFA Cup champions' lead further.

And Bent rounded off the scoring in the 70th, again finishing from a pass by Huddlestone.

Tottenham moved above Dinamo by virtue of the teams' head-to-head record, with both teams three points behind Group-D leader Udinese.

Udinese continued its good form in Europe with a 2-1 win at Spartak Moscow. The Serie A club already led Group D and kept alive its perfect record when Fabio Quagliarella scored a goal in each half.

Quagliarella had just hit the frame of the goal from two meters when he put Udinese ahead in the 12th minute. The Italy striker beat two Spartak defenders and hit a low shot for his first goal in European competition.

Argentine defender Clemente Rodriguez equalized for the home side five minutes later, but Rodriguez fouled Simone Pepe in the area and Quagliarella beat goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa with the resulting penalty.

Zimbabwe striker Benjani Mwaruwari returned from a four-month injury layoff to score the goal that ensured Manchester City began its UEFA Cup group stage campaign with a 3-2 victory over FC Twente.

Within three minutes of coming off the bench in the 59th minute, the Zimbabwe striker, who tore his thigh muscle in July, scored a lucky deflected goal past the Dutch visitors.

City's third proved decisive because its fragile defense was breached for a second time in the 65th when unmarked Twente captain Robbie Weilart headed in Youssouf Hersi's corner.

City is in Group A and just a point behind Schalke, which drew 1-1 at Racing Santander.

Mario Gomez scored twice in five second-half minutes to give Stuttgart a 2-0 victory over Partizan Belgrade, although fellow Bundesliga team Hertha Berlin had to settle for a 0-0 draw at Metalist Kharkiv.

Villa won through a first-half goal by John Carew to keep the Group-F lead from Hamburg, so all three English teams look well placed to qualify for the next round, even with three of five rounds of matches remaining since three teams advance from each of the eight five-team groups.

Milan needed a last-minute goal by Ronaldinho to keep alive its perfect record in Group-E, while 2000 champion Galatasaray eased to the top of Group B, already four points clear of Hertha.

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