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Lille topple Liverpool in Europa League

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez couldn't stop his team losing 1-0 to French side Lille.
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez couldn't stop his team losing 1-0 to French side Lille.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Liverpool beaten 1-0 by Lille in first leg of their Europa League last 16 tie
  • Juventus cruise past Fulham winning 3-1 in Turin
  • Hamburg beat Dutch side Anderlecht 3-1 at home
  • Valencia draw 1-1 with Werder Bremen at the Mestalla
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(CNN) -- English Premier League giants Liverpool slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Lille in the first leg of their last 16 Europa League tie to heap more misery on under-fire coach Rafael Benitez.

The visitors had struggled on a poor playing surface in France before Eden Hazard's late free kick from the left touchline bypassed everybody and nestled into the corner of Pepe Reina's net.

It could have been worse for Liverpool as substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's shot struck the post in the dying seconds.

In the first half both Fernando Torres and Ryan Babel had gone close for Liverpool but couldn't get the better of Lille goalkeeper Mickael Landreau.

The 1-0 aggregate scoreline leaves Liverpool with plenty to do in the return leg at Anfield in a week's time.

After the game Benitez told reporters: "I am disappointed with the result but really pleased with the effort of the players. It was against a good team on a difficult pitch. When you play away you have to score when you have chances.

"We were just not strong enough today but there is still 90 minutes to play. I am confident we can beat anyone at Anfield on our day with the fans behind us."

Fellow Premier League side Fulham face an uphill task to make the quarterfinal after they were dispatched 3-1 by Juventus at the Stadio Olimpico in Turin.

All the goals came in the first half as Nicola Legrottaglie headed home a corner to give the Old Lady an early lead before Jonathan Zebina doubled it with a powerful shot from outside the penalty area.

We were just not strong enough today but there is still 90 minutes to play.
--Rafael Benitez

Fulham pulled a goal back on 36 minutes when Dickson Etuhu's shot was deflected into the net but French striker David Trezeguet restored Juve's two-goal advantage on half-time with a volley from close range.

Hamburg took a commanding lead against Dutch champions Anderlecht, winning the first leg of their tie 3-1 at the HSH Nordbank Arena.

Goals from Joris Mathijsen and former Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy fired the Germans into a 2-0 lead before Jonathan Legear pulled one back on the stroke of half-time but David Jarolim's 76th minute strike for the hosts sealed a convincing win.

Valencia were already 1-0 down to a Torsten Frings penalty against Werder Bremen when they had Ever Banega sent off but a goal from Juan Mata ensured they travel to Germany for the second leg with a 1-1 draw.

Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon had two men sent off as they drew 0-0 with Atletico Madrid in the Spanish capital while Russian champions Rubin Kazan drew 1-1 with VfL Wolfsburg.

Greek side Panathinaikos lost 3-1 at home to Standard Liege and in Lisbon, an injury time goal from Hatem Ben Arfa rescued a 1-1 draw for French team Marseille against Benfica.