GENEVA – Italian giants Lazio were fortunate to escape with a 2-2 draw against Romanian side Vaslui in their opening Europa League Group D clash at the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday.
Edy Reja's men played the last half-hour with 10 men following the dismissal of defender Luciano Zauri and had to rely on Giuseppe Sculli's 71st-minute strike to avoid deeper embarrassment.
Djibril Cisse's 35th-minute penalty had given the hosts the lead but a brace from Brazilian Wesley early in the second half gave Vaslui the scent of glory before Sculli came to the rescue.
In the same pool, Sporting Lisbon made a more impressive start with a 2-0 win over FC Zurich in Switzerland.
Emiliano Insua opened the scoring after four minutes and Ricky van Wolfswinkel added a second.
Former European champions PSV Eindhoven relied on a piece of magic from Dries Mertens to nudge past visitors Legia Warsaw 1-0 in Group C.
The Belgium winger lashed home the only goal of the game after 21 minutes.
Ovidiu Herea's second-half strike was enough to give Rapid Bucharest a winning start to their Group C campaign at Hapoel Tel-Aviv .
Besiktas strolled to the top of Group E with a 5-1 triumph over Maccabi Tel-Aviv in a highly-charged atmosphere in Istanbul.
Two first-half goals from Hugo Almeida put the hosts on the front foot and, though Roei Kahat pulled one back four minutes after the break, Mehmet Aurelio replied two minutes later and further strikes from Egeman Korkmaz and Edu secured the win.