LONDON: Defending champion Sevilla was held to a 0-0 draw by Slovan Liberec in its opening group game in the UEFA Cup on Thursday while English teams swept all three of their games.

Blackburn won 2-1 at Poland's Wisla Krakow, Tottenham posted a 2-0 victory at Besiktas and Newcastle defeated Fenerbahce 1-0.

Sevilla's failure to win in the Czech Republic means that Louis van Gaal's AZ Alkmaar, which reached the semifinal two seasons ago, topped Group C by outplaying Portugal's Braga 3-0 thanks to goals by Georgian striker Shota Arveladze, Danny Koevermans and Stijn Schaars.

David Bentley scored the winner with two minutes remaining to complete Blackburn's rally in Krakow in a Group E match.

Goals by Hossam Ghaly and Dimitar Berbatov helped Tottenham beat Besiktas and put Martin Jol's team atop Group B.

The results: Group A: Livorno 2 lost to Rangers 3; Maccabi Haifa 3 bt Auxerre 1. Group B: Besiktas 0 lost to Tottenham 2; FC Brugge 1 drew with Bayer Leverkusen 1. Group C: AZ Alkmaar 3 bt Braga 0; Slovan Liberec 0 drew with Sevilla 0.

Group D: Osasuna 0 drew with Heerenveen 0; OB Odense 1 lost to Parma 2. Group E: Wisla Krakow 1 lost to Blackburn 2; FC Basel 1 drew with Feyenoord 1. Group F: Austria Vienna 1 lost to Zulte-Waregem 4; Sparta Prague 0 lost to Espanyol 2. Group G: Panathinaikos 2 bt Hapoel Tel Aviv 0; Rapid Bucharest 0 drew with PSG 0. AP

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