United off to winning start in Europa League

STEVE DOUGLAS AP Sports Writer Published:

Manchester United began play in the Europa League with a 2-0 victory at Ajax on Thursday night, getting goals from Ashley Young in the 59th minute and Javier Hernandez in the 85th.

Playing its first European match outside the Champions League in 17 years, United took a comfortable lead going into the second leg of the total-goals, second-round matchup for a berth in the final 16.

Spain's Atletico Madrid, the 2010 champion, won 3-1 at Lazio as Radamel Falco scored in the 37th and 63rd minutes, giving him 22 goals in his last 21 Europa League games. After Miroslav Klose put the hosts ahead in the 19th minute, Adrian tied it in the 25th.

American midfielder Jermaine Jones, serving an eight-week suspension in the Bundesliga, intentionally stepping on the foot of an opponent, played his first match for Schalke since Dec. 21 in a 1-1 draw at Viktoria Plzen. Vladimar Darida put the hosts ahead in the 22nd, but Klaas-Jan Huntelaar tied it in the 75th.

AZ Alkmaar, with American forward Jozy Altidore entering in the 76th, won 1-0 at home against Belgium's Anderlecht, which started U.S. midfielder Sacha Kljestan.

Sporting Lisbon, which started American defender Oguchi Onyewu, tied 2-2 at Legia Warsaw.