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Europa blow for United, ex-champs through

dpadpa 3/11/2016 By Warwick Barr

Four former Europa League champions are through to the knockout stage as Manchester United suffered a setback with a 2-1 defeat to Fenerbahce.

Manchester United suffered a 2-1 defeat away to Fenerbahce in the Europa League while four former champions ensured they will be knock-out stages with room to spare.

Fenerbahce are second in Group A, behind Feyenoord, who drew 1-1 at Zorya.

United are third, one point adrift of the leading pair who are separated on goal difference.

Zenit St Petersburg, UEFA Cup champions in 2008, 2009 winners Shakhtar Donetsk and 1997 winners Schalke have won their groups with defeats of Dundalk, Gent and Krasnador respectively. Ajax, 1992 champions, beat Celta Vigo to progress though first place is not yet secured.

In other games, veteran striker Aritz Aduriz bagged all five as Athletic Bilbao beat Genk 5-3 and another thriller went the way of Roma, 4-2 at Austria Vienna.

There were goals aplenty in Brussels where Anderlecht thrashed hapless Mainz 6-1 while Southampton stunned Inter Milan 2-1.

Giuliano put Zenit ahead against Dundalk but Daryl Horgan stunned the hosts with a second half equalizer. The visitors could not hold on to another famous European result though as Giuliano capitalized on poor defending for a late winner.

Zenit's 100 per cent record ensures they win Group D but bottom team Alkmaar, two behind Dundalk and Maccabi Tel Aviv, could yet finish second.

Schalke made a slow start against Krasnador but first half goals from Junior Caicara and Nabil Bentaleb brought a 2-0 win to maintain their 100 per cent record.

Shakhtar came from a goal down to beat Gent 5-3 and win Group H, where Braga are currently second after a 3-1 win over Konyaspor.

Ajax raced into a three-goal lead and eventually held on to win 3-2 against Celta Vigo in Group G.

Standard Liege cruised 3-0 at Panathinaikos to move level with the Spaniards in second place.

Group F is even tighter after Aduriz, aided by three penalties, became the first player to score five in a Europa League match and brought Bilbao level with Genk on six points.

A late equaliser from Giorgi Kvilitaia earned Rapid Vienna a 2-2 draw at Sassuolo which moved both teams onto five.

Rapid's city rivals Austria went ahead against Roma but remain second in Group E behind the Italians having been well beaten. Astra Giurgiu drew 1-1 with Viktoria Plzen.

Fiorentina are on the verge of winning Group J having crushed Slovan Liberec 3-0. Qarabag are best placed to take second having won 1-0 at PAOK. Doubles from Nicolae Stanciu and Lukasz Teodorczyk helped Anderlecht romp past Mainz, who collapsed in conceding three times in dying minutes.

Anderlecht top the group on goal difference from St Etienne, who won 2-1 at pointless Qabala.

And Southampton found one of their best-ever results as they came from behind against three-time European champions Inter Milan.

Inter, who sacked coach Frank de Boer on Tuesday, led through Mauro Icardi but Virgil van Dijk and Yuto Nagatomo's own goal turned the tie despite Dusan Tadic's missed penalty.

The Saints are second behind Sparta Prague, who won 2-0 against Hapoel Beer Sheva, with Inter bottom having lost three out of four.

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