Under-fire Schalke produced a convincing 3-1 Europa League win over Salzburg to ease their domestic worries Thursday while Manchester United did just enough to beat Zorya Luhansk 1-0.
Leon Goretzka headed home his own rebound in 15 minutes before Duje Caleta-Car's own goal and Benedikt Hoewedes made the tie safe for Schalke early in the second half despite Jonathan Soriano's consolation. Schalke are bottom of the Bundesliga after a club record five opening defeats but top Group I on maximum points.
United were far from impressive at home to Zorya but Zlatan Ibrahimovic's close-range header secured a first win for them in Group A.
Francesco Totti inspired Roma 4-0 over Astra Giurgiu, Inter Milan were stunned 3-1 at Sparta Prague and Southampton were held 0-0 at Hapoel Beer Sheva.
Schalke made a solid start in Gelesnkirchen despite their poor form and will hope this victory can spark their mediocre season into life.
Goretzka was alert to open the scoring but Schalke received a gift in the 47th minute when Caleta-Car needlessly turned Hoewedes' cross into his own net.
Hoewedes scrambled home in the 58th, though the ball had appeared to have crossed the line previously, before Soriano's fine finish gave Salzburg some pride.
"All in all, it's a deserved win," Schalke coach Markus Weinzierl said. "We were a bit shaky after their goal, but we still ended up seeing the win over the line with confidence.
"The win only gives us Europa League points unfortunately. We need to get off the mark in the Bundesliga on Sunday (against Borussia Moenchengladbach).
Krasnodar share top spot in the group with Schalke after downing Nice 5-2.
Manchester United laboured at home to Ukrainians Zorya though Marcus Rashford did smack the bar in the first half.
Rooney's introduction in the second period lifted the crowd and he made an immediate impact in setting up Ibrahimovic, albeit inadvertently a miskicked shot, for the winning goal.
"It was not an easy game, we played well, created chances but this is a typical game," Ibrahimovic said. "When you don't score in the beginning, the spaces get smaller and smaller.
"If you want to go through, you need to win the game, we did that. We could have done much more though and I expect much more from the team."
United are third but level on three points with Feyenoord who lost 1-0 at Fenerbahce.
Mainz had reason for joy as substitutes Jhon Cordoba and Levin Oeztunali struck in the 68th and 78th minutes to edge out Qabala 3-2 in Azerbaijan.
"We're naturally very happy," Mainz coach Martin Schmidt said. "With four points from two games we're on a good path. Things can continue like that."
Mainz are joint top of Group C with Anderlecht who conceded an equalizer deep into injury time to draw 1-1 at St Etienne.
A shock could be brewing in Group K as three-time European champions Inter Milan are bottom on zero points after losing in Prague. Vaclav Kadlec's double and Mario Holek earned the points despite Rodrigo Palacio's goal for Inter, who had Andrea Ranocchia sent off.
Sparta are third on three, one behind both Hapoel and Southampton after their draw in Israel.
Fiorentina are faring better for Serie A after a 5-0 thrashing of 10-man Qarabag 5-1 in Group J and Roma also impressed for Italy.
Totti, who celebrated his 40th birthday on Tuesday, had three assists as Kevin Strootman, Federico Fazio, a Fabricio own goal and Mohamed Salah earned an easy win.
"In the first half I was joking on the touchline that I didn’t even feel this good at 25," Totti, who is now usually used as a substitute, told Sky Sport Italia. "It’s true, I feel in good shape and my legs don’t hurt even after 90 minutes."
Sassuolo lost 3-1 at Genk and Athletic Bilbao beat Rapid Vienna 1-0 to leave all four Group F teams level on three points.
Villarreal got a 1-1 draw at Steaua Bucharest in Group L and in Group G Celta Vigo beat Panathinaikos 2-0 on another strong day for Spain.
And minnows Dundalk beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-0 in Group D thanks to a late goal from Ciaran Kilduff to become the first Irish side to win a Europa League group game.
Friday, August 26, 2016 - 13:46
Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 23:26