Juventus, Standard Liege and SV Hamburg were the only sides to record clear wins in their first leg matches of the round of 16 in the Europa League on Thursday.
Juventus beat Fulham 3-1, SV Hamburg triumphed over Anderlecht by the same score, while Liege won 3-1 at Panathinaikos.
There was also a good result for Werder Bremen, who managed to draw 1-1 at Valencia, while Liverpool lost 1-0 at Lille.
In Spain, Bremen took the lead against Valencia courtesy of a very dubious penalty midway through the second half, which Torsten Frings converted.
The visitors then had to endure a furious onslaught from the home side for the rest of the opening half before finding their way back into the game again.
Valencia were down to ten men in the 56th minute when Argentine midfielder Ever Banega was shown a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident.
Four minutes later Valencia equalized after Silva had a clear view of the Bremen goal from just five metres. A defender managed to get his legs between the ball and the goal, but the ball fell to Mata, who poked it into the back of the net from close range.
Juventus, who are hoping to use the Europa League to rescue a disappointing season, were leading 2-0 against Fulham early on through goals by Nicola Legrottaglie and Jonathan Zebina.
Nigerian midfielder Dickson Etuhu pulled one back for the Premier League side in the 36th minute, but French striker David Trezeguet gave Juventus the two-goal advantage in first half injury time.
In Athens Belgian visitors Standard Liege took a major step towards the quarter-finals with a 3-1 win at Panathinaikos. The goals for the visitors were scored by Axel Witsel, Milan Jovanovic and Igor de Camargo, while Loukas Vyntra found the net for the Greek side.
In Lisbon Maxi Pereira gave Benfica a 1-0 lead against French visitors Olympique Marseille, but Hatem Ben Arfa scored in the last minute for the 1-1 draw.
In the earlier matches, SV Hamburg beat Belgian club Anderlecht 3-1 to secure an advantage ahead of the return leg.
Dutch internationals Joris Mathijsen and Ruud van Nistelrooy scored in the first half for the side from northern Germany, while captain David Jarolim added a third in the second half.
Jonathan Legear had pulled one back for the visitors with a direct free-kick in first half injury time.
German champions VfL Wolfsburg held Rubin Kazan to a 1-1 draw in Russia, coming from behind to equalize Christian Noboa’s first half strike.
On an almost unplayable pitch Zvjedzan Misimovic scored for the German champions in the 67th minute to give his side a slight advantage with the away goal ahead of the return leg.
In France, Olympique Lille goalkeeper Mikael Landreau pulled off a number of magnificent saves in the first half to deny Liverpool a goal before 19-year-old Belgian international Eden Hazard scored with six minutes to go to give the French side a 1-0 victory.
In Madrid Atletico failed to beat a ten-man Sporting Lisbon as neither side managed to score.
The Portuguese team, who had Leandro Grimi sent off, came closest when a Liedson strike hit the woodwork in the first half.
The return legs will be played on March 18.