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Inter and Leverkusen ease to Europa League wins

Rubin Kazan, Olympique Lyon, Hanover 96 and Metalist Kharkiv sealed their progress to the last 32.

BELGRADE - Russia's Rubin Kazan, Olympique Lyon, Hanover 96 and Metalist Kharkiv joined Bayer and treble UEFA Cup winners Inter in sealing their progress to the last 32 with two games to spare.

Atletico Madrid's 16-match unbeaten run came to an end at Portugal's Academica.

Ivorian striker Lacina Traore fired Russia's Anzhi Makhachkala to a 1-0 win over Liverpool in Moscow.

Inter breezed past Serbian Champions Partizan Belgrade 3-1 in Serbia as Argentine forward Rodrigo Palacio came off the bench after a goalless first half and sent the Serie A side on their way with a brace.

Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni, who rested the bulk of his first-choice players who engineered a 3-1 win at Italian champions Juventus on Saturday, praised livewire Palacio after he silenced the noisy but well-behaved 25,000 home crowd.

"Palacio [is] a very important player for us, he has very good skills because he is a versatile forward who can play in several positions and has an eye for goal," Stramaccioni told a news conference.

Meanwhile, Rubin booked their ticket with a 1-0 win at Azeri champions Neftchi Baku, while Bayer thrashed Rapid Vienna 3-0 and Metalist beat Rosenborg 3-1 to advance from Group K.

Lyon ensured their survival through the winter break with a 3-2 win at last season's runners-up Athletic Bilbao, who are out of the reckoning with just one point from four games, while Hannover edged Swedes Helsinborg at home by the same score thanks to an injury-time Szabolcs Huszti penalty.

Tottenham, who won the UEFA Cup in 1972 and 1984, kept alive their hopes of progressing with Jermain Defoe scoring a hat-trick in a 3-1 win over Slovenia's NK Maribor.

Former Bolton Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba walked on at halftime to salute the crowd in an emotional return for a player who nearly died at White Hart Lane in March when he suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch.

With tears streaming down his face, he pointed to where he fell and then addressed the fans, who gave him a standing ovation.

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