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Tottenham perfect in Europa, Valencia bounce back

Tottenham overcame cold conditions to maintain its billing as the Europa League's top contender thanks to a confident victory Thursday, and a goalkeeping gaffe sparked Valencia to its first win.

Tottenham, the English Premier League club that spent heavily this offseason and sold Gareth Bale, wasn't the only team to make it two-for-two in wins: Genk, Fiorentina, Eintracht Frankfurt, Rubin Kazan, Sevilla, Swansea, Salzburg, and Ludogorets Razgrad also are perfect.

Also, Sergio Floccari capped a frenetic contest with a flourish of goals as the Lazio substitute scored late for the Italian side to draw 3-3 at Trabzonspor, while Wigan picked up its first ever European victory.

Jermaine Defoe and Nacer Chadli scored first-half goals to pace Tottenham to a 2-0 win against Anji Makhachkala in near freezing temperatures on the outskirts of Moscow, with the conflict in Dagestan forcing the once money-laden club away from home.

Tottenham manager Andres Villas-Boas rotated his squad and the strong performance showed how deep the Portuguese manager's bench is, although it was left to old hand Defoe to steer the visitors with his 21st goal in European competitions in the 34th minute moving him within one goal of Martin Chivers' club record.

While Anzi showed some resilience, the fall from grace for the cash-strapped club was evident as Tottenham kept a second straight clean sheet.

``The conditions were difficult but we had a great first half, where we created a lot, kept the ball well and deserved the lead,'' Villas-Boas said. ``A win is what we wanted, and it gives us the opportunity in the next games against Sheriff to ensure qualification. That is extremely important for us.''

Valencia enjoyed its own trip to Russia, bouncing back from a blowout loss to Swansea with a 2-0 win at Kuban Krasnodar.

Paco Alcacer could just about walk his 73rd-minute goal into the net after Kuban goalkeeper Aleksandr Belenov misjudged a clearance well outside the area. Sofiane Feghouli also netted for the Spanish side to get back into the mix in Group A, which sees Swansea top after its 1-0 win over St-Gallen.

Fiorentina also kept its place as one of the competition favorites after overcoming the absences of injured strikers Mario Gomez and Giuseppe Rossi to win 2-1 at Dnipro in the Ukraine.

Massimo Ambrosini's run was picked out by Borja Valero for the former AC Milan player to score the 73rd-minute winner for Fiorentina, which hung on after David Pizarro was sent off with four minutes to play.

Of 24 games on Thursday, only seven home teams managed victory with eight visiting teams earning all three points.

Bordeaux fell 2-1 to visiting Maccabi Tel Aviv to leave the French club in trouble with zero points. Lyon, meanwhile, did only a little better in drawing 1-1 against Guimaraes.

Dimitris Salpingidis has scored many clutch goals for Greece, and the stocky striker did it for his club PAOK on Thursday when an injury-time goal canceled out Jeffrey Gouweleeuw's score in the 82nd as the Dutch club looked on course for three points.

At Sevilla, Fallou Diagne's sending off in the 62nd led to Diego Perotti's penalty score, and Sevilla held on to beat Freiburg 2-0 with Colombian striker Carlos Bacca adding the second in stoppage time.

Sevilla's second victory in the competition is twice as many as it has managed in seven league games this season.

``This victory will allow us to gain some confidence and improve,'' Sevilla coach Unai Emery said.

Wigan's 3-1 victory over Slovenian champion Maribor also came on its first ever home game in Europe.

PSV Eindhoven bounced back from a home loss to Bulgarian minnow Ludogorets Razgrad with a 2-0 win at Chornomorets Odesa. Ludogorets Razgrad continued its encouraging start with a 3-0 victory against Dinamo Zagreb in Group B.


Follow Paul Logothetis on Twitter (at)PaulLogoAP

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