PARIS, October 23 – Everton sank to a first Europa League defeat of the season with a 5-0 loss at Benfica on Thursday, while reigning champions Shakhtar Donetsk thrashed Toulouse and Roma rescued a draw at Fulham.
An injury-time goal earned 10-man Lazio a 2-1 win over Villarreal, Spanish heavyweights Valencia were held 1-1 at home to Slavia Prague and struggling Scottish giants Celtic went down 1-0 to Hamburg.
Everton were 1-0 behind at half-time at the Estadio da Luz after Javier Saviola volleyed the home side in front before three goals in seven minutes put the game beyond the visitors.
Paraguayan international Oscar Cardozo scored twice from close range after pin-point left-wing assists from Saviola and man-of-the-match Di Maria, before Brazil centre-back Luisao headed in the fourth.
Saviola touched home his second late on from another Di Maria assist as the hosts drew level with their opponents on six points at the Group I summit.
"I have said to the players that this is a different competition and we have had two wins and a defeat so it’s not that bad," said Everton coach David Moyes after his team’s worst ever defeat in European competition.
Premier League Fulham took an early lead against their Serie A opponents when Brede Hangeland headed home from a corner before Stephen Kelly was sent off after conceding a 78th-minute penalty for a foul on John Arne Riise.
The assistant official behind the goal mistakenly instructed the referee to dismiss Hangeland, but once the error had been rectified Mark Schwarzer preserved the home side’s lead by brilliantly repelling Jeremy Menez’s spotkick.
Fulham looked poised for a memorable victory but defender Marco Andreolli lashed in a half-volley off the underside of the crossbar with the last kick of the game to earn Claudio Ranieri’s men a point.
Argentine starlet Mauro Zarate gave Roma’s city rivals Lazio the lead in their Group G home game with Villarreal before Sebastian Eguren equalised five minutes before the break.
Midfielder Matuzalem was sent off for the hosts mid-way through the second period but they snatched victory in injury time through skipper Tommaso Rocchi.
Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg maintained control of the group by beating Levski Sofia 1-0, with a 20-yard drive by Dusan Svento securing their third consecutive victory.
Shakhtar, who won last season’s tournament when it was still known as the UEFA Cup, were 3-0 up at half-time against French side Toulouse and went on to win 4-0 as they maintained their perfect start in Group J.
"It was a very beautiful match that brought me a lot of joy and pride for my team and our fans," said Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu.
"Nine points from three matches is a very good result but we should be ready for a very tough return match in Toulouse."
Valencia fell behind to a 28th-minute strike from Slavia’s Macedonian striker Riste Naumov before drawing level in the second half through defender David Navarro.
That result allowed Lille to assume a two-point lead over the Spaniards in Group B after they belied indifferent domestic form to beat Italy’s Genoa 3-0.
Celtic were sunk by a 63rd-minute goal from Hamburg’s Swedish forward Marcus Berg and remain bottom of Group A, with Israeli side Hapoel Tel Aviv level on six points with Hamburg after stunning Rapid Vienna 5-1.
Dutch league leaders FC Twente went down 2-0 at Moldovan outsiders Sheriff Tiraspol, while there were also wins for Ajax, PSV Eindhoven, Athletic Bilbao, Fenerbahce, Galatasaray, Sporting Lisbon and Panathinaikos.