Europa League favorites Manchester United secured a 1-1 draw on a threadbare pitch at Rostov, while Olympique Lyonnais beat AS Roma 4-2 helped by a fine individual goal from Nabil Fekir in their last 16, first leg ties on Thursday.
Racing Genk won 5-2 at Gent in an all-Belgian clash and German rivals Schalke 04 and Borussia Moenchengladbach drew 1-1 in a meeting of former UEFA Cup winners.
United’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan gave the Premier League team a 35th minute lead in Russia, turning the ball in from close range after some nifty footwork by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
But Rostov, who beat Bayern Munich on the same ground in November on their way to a third-place finish in their Champions League group, leveled eight minutes after the restart.
Alexander Bukharov volleyed past Sergio Romero for a superbly-taken goal after chesting down a long ball over the United defense from Timofei Kalachev.
Both sides struggled on a divot-strewn surface that had been heavily criticized by United manager Jose Mourinho and dust was getting into the players’s toward the end of the game.
“It was impossible to play better, impossible to play a passing game,” said Mourinho.
“I remember as a kid some matches like this in Portugal – non-league and amateur pitches. To see my players coping with it and the humility to fight for every ball is a good feeling for me.”