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Celtic, Lazio and Parma earn UEFA Cup upperhand

© Reuters 2002

LONDON, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Celtic drew first blood in the 'Battle of Britain' against Blackburn Rovers while Italian clubs Lazio and Parma both secured slender aggregate leads in UEFA Cup second round, first leg matches on Thursday.

Sweden striker Henrik Larsson snatched a 1-0 victory for Scottish champions Celtic as Blackburn boss Graeme Souness - the former manager of Celtic's bitter local rivals Rangers - endured a frustrating return to Glasgow.

Lazio beat former European champions Red Star Belgrade 1-0 in Rome, while Parma - twice former winners of the UEFA Cup - conceded an 'away' goal before triumphing 2-1 against Wisla Krakow.

But the one-goal advantages will ensure Celtic, Lazio and Parma all face tricky return legs on November 14.

Fenerbahce and Panathinaikos settled for a 1-1 draw in their match but the first meeting between Turkish and Greek clubs in a major European competition was marred by crowd trouble.

Fenerbahce fans injured a number of visiting supporters from Athens by hurling missiles at their section before kickoff, hurting the two countries' hopes of showcasing their joint bid to host the 2008 European championship.

Arguably the most eye-catching performance of the night was provided by English premier league Fulham, who stunned Dinamo Zagreb 3-0 in Croatia.

In Glasgow, Souness, the former Scotland midfielder, saw his English premier league club dominate for large periods of the tie.

But chances went begging at either end before Larsson was on hand five minutes from time to turn home a rebound after Celtic substitute John Hartson's header was blocked on the line.

Lazio midfielder Stefano Fiore pounced after just 10 minutes at the Olympic stadium but a young Red Star side were unlucky not to get anything to take back for the second leg.

Two outstanding long range strikes from Massimo Donati and Romanian Adrian Mutu eased Parma's nerves, but not before Maciej Zarawski had equalised for Polish club Wisla.

A minute's silence was held before the game in honour of the victims of the earthquake in San Giuliano earlier on Thursday in which at least seven people were killed.

On the pitch in Istanbul, an equaliser from Brazilian striker Washington three minutes before halftime for Fenerbahce cancelled out Angelos Basinas' excellent 15th minute opener.

But the occasion was overshadowed by events off the field. Turkish and Greek foreign ministers - attending the game to underline a recent warming of diplomatic ties - were pelted by seats and plastic cartons of yoghurt drinks from Greek fans.

Elsewhere, Spanish club Celta Vigo crushed Viking Stavanger of Norway 3-0 while fellow La Liga outfit Alaves rescued a 1-1 draw at home to Besiktas courtesy of Abelardo's last minute goal.

Fulham's passage to the third round was all but secured after their demolition of 10-man Dinamo.

Kristijan Polovanec was sent off for a professional foul on Luis Boa Morte after 32 minutes, before Boa Morte gave the London club the lead four minutes later. Second half goals from Steve Marlet and Barry Hayles compounded Dinamo's misery.

Fellow English clubs Leeds United and Ipswich Town had to work harder for their triumphs.

Harry Kewell's sweet left foot strike eight minutes from time saw Leeds beat Israel's Hapoel Tel Aviv at Elland Road.

Joe Royle was taking charge of English first division Ipswich for the first time since replacing the sacked George Burley, and he was rewarded with Darren Bent's second half winner in a 1-0 victory against Slovan Liberec.

Former UEFA Cup champions Anderlecht scored twice in five minutes through Nenad Jestrovic on their way to a 3-1 first leg triumph at home to Denmark's Midtjylland.

Paris St Germain registered an impressive 2-0 away win over National Bucharest, while an own goal from Werder Bremen's Frank Verlaat gave Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem a 2-1 win after Verlaat had earlier equalised for the German visitors.

In other games, Porto of Portugal beat Austria Vienna 1-0 while Sparta Prague will take a 1-0 lead to Turkey for their second leg against Denizlispor.

City rivals Slavia Prague face a struggle to turn around their tie with Partizan Belgrade after going down 3-1.

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