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Inter Milan and defending champion Sevilla open Europa League campaigns with wins

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PARIS — Three-time European champion Inter Milan opened its Europa League campaign with a hard-fought 1-0 win away to Ukrainian side Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, while defending champion Sevilla had an easier 2-0 win against Feyenoord on Thursday.

Three-time champion Sevilla took control with first-half goals from midfielders Grzegorz Krychowiak and Stephane Mbia.

Inter defender Danilo D'Ambrosio scored moments after Dnipro captain Ruslan Rotan was sent off for a second yellow card. D'Ambrosio latched onto Artem Fedetskiy's botched clearance and fired powerfully past goalkeeper Denys Boyko in the 71st minute.

Inter tops Group E after Saint-Etienne's 0-0 draw away to Azerbaijan side Qarabag Agdam, while Sevilla is level at the top of Group G with Standard Liege, which beat Rijeka of Croatia by the same score.

Belgian winger Dries Mertens scored twice as Napoli rallied to beat Sparta Prague 3-1, with Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain equalizing from the penalty spot before setting up Mertens' first. But Napoli sits second in Group I because Swiss side Young Boys routed Slovan Bratislava 5-0.

An own goal from Ricardo Rodriguez, efforts from defenders Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines, and a late strike from Belgium forward Kevin Mirallas helped Everton crushed German side Wolfsburg 4-1 in Group H. Lille drew 1-1 with Russian side Krasnodar in the other game.

Group E rivals Dynamo Moscow and PSV Eindhoven also won.

PHOTO: Tottenham Hotspur's Andros Townsend reacts to a referee's decision during the Europa League Group C soccer match between Partizan Belgrade and Tottenham Hotspur in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
Tottenham Hotspur's Andros Townsend reacts to a referee's decision during the Europa League Group C soccer match between Partizan Belgrade and Tottenham Hotspur in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

Forward Aleksandr Kokorin and midfielder Aleksei Ionov scored Dynamo's goals in a 2-1 win at Greek side Panathinaikos, while a penalty from Dutch striker Luuk de Jong earned PSV a 1-0 home win against Estoril.

In Group C, the favorites dropped points as Premier League side Tottenham was held to 0-0 at Partizan Belgrade, and Besitkas from Turkey drew 1-1 against Asteras Tripolis.

Algeria striker El Arbi Hilal Soudani scored a first-half hat trick as Dinamo Zagreb thrashed Hungarian side Astra 5-1 to take top spot in Group D, with Scottish side Celtic drawing 2-2 at Austrian side Salzburg despite leading twice.

Romania forward Claudiu Keseru also got three as Steaua Bucharest thrashed Danish side Aalborg 6-0 to take first spot in Group J ahead of Dynamo Kiev, which won 3-0 away to Portuguese side Rio Ave.

Ukraine winger Andriy Yarmolenko, midfielder Younes Belhanda and striker Artem Kravets got a goal each for the visitors.

Fiorentina beat French Cup winner Guingamp 3-0, with all the goals scored by wingers.

Juan Vargas headed in Jasmin Kurtic's cross in the first half and Juan Cuadrado lashed in David Pizarro's well-weighted pass midway through the second. Federico Bernardeschi completed the scoring late on.

Ghanaian winger Mubarak Wakaso scored on his Celtic debut, and Brazilian striker Alan leveled shortly before the break. Midfielder Scott Brown put Celtic back in front after an hour with a deflected volley, only for forward Jonatan Soriano to equalize with a well-struck free kick.

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Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: Inter Milan Danilo  D'Ambrosio, right, challenges for the ball against Yevhen Konoplyanka of Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk's during a Europa League Group F soccer match between Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and Inter Milan at the Olympiyskiy national stadium in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014.(AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)
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