Updated March 8th, 2024 at 10:56 IST

Liverpool routs Sparta 5-1 and Roma tops Brighton in Europa League; Leverkusen, Marseille, Milan win

Darwin Nunez scored twice to help Liverpool rout Sparta 5-1 and take a big step closer to the Europa League quarterfinals.

Darwin Nunez celebrates after scoring his sides third goal during the Europa League round of 16 first leg, soccer match between Sparta Praha and Liverpool at the Epet Arena | Image: AP
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Darwin Nunez scored twice to help Liverpool rout Sparta 5-1 and take a big step closer to the Europa League quarterfinals on Thursday.

Nunez’s right-footed shot from 25 meters (yards) flew past goalkeeper Peter Vindahl to double Liverpool’s early lead after Alexis Mac Allister’s penalty in Prague in the first leg of the round of 16.

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The Uruguay international's first strike of the evening was the 1,000th Liverpool goal scored under manager Jürgen Klopp, whose team will host the second leg next week at Anfield.

In first-half stoppage time, Nunez let a pass from Mac Allister bounce in the right corner of the area before firing inside the far post for his second.

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Nunez scored in the ninth minute of stoppage time Saturday to earn Liverpool a 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest in the Premier League.

In Prague, Liverpool needed just a few minutes to go ahead.

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Mac Allister sent Vindahl the wrong way in the sixth minute to convert a penalty awarded after the Argentine was downed in the area by Asger Sørensen.

Conor Bradley reduced the lead to 3-1 with an own goal a minute after he came on as substitute at the start of the second half. Luis Díaz restored the three-goal advantage seven minutes later.

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Dominik Szoboszlai added a goal in stoppage time.

Next for Liverpool is a seismic meeting at Anfield against Manchester City on Sunday.

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In a positive sign for the Reds, Mohamed Salah returned from injury as a substitute in the 74th minute.

Bundesliga leader Bayer Leverkusen made a long trip to Baku and needed a stoppage-time equalizer to draw 2-2 with Qarabag and extend their German record unbeaten run to 35 games across all competitions this season.

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Published March 8th, 2024 at 10:56 IST