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Swansea on top after first leg against Malmo

Updated: Thursday, 01 Aug 2013 22:30 | Comments

Michu celebrates during Swansea's comprehensive victory in Sweden
Michu celebrates during Swansea's comprehensive victory in Sweden

New boy Wilfried Bony marked his debut with a second-half double as Swansea staged a spectacular return to European competition after a 22-year absence with a 4-0 thrashing of Malmo.

Bony fired home a quickfire brace in the 55th and 59th minute after Michu had given the Swans a 37th-minute lead in their Europa League third qualifying round first leg clash.

It was a dream start for Bony, a £12million summer signing from Vitesse Arnhem, who glanced home his opener from a Wayne Routledge cross then bundled in a rebound after Michu's effort struck the post.

Earlier the Spaniard - scorer of 22 goals last season - had got the Swans on their way when he slid the ball past advancing Malmo keeper Johan Dahlin.

It was quite a statement from Michael Laudrup's men against the experienced Allsvenskan line-up, who had hit headlines last week with a 7-0 second-leg win away to Scottish side Hibernian.

And next week's second leg in Sweden was rendered a virtual formality when Swansea completed the scoring four minutes from time, Alejandro Pozuelo finishing off a flowing move involving impressive new boy Jonjo Shelvey.

There were mixed fortunes for the two remaining Scottish sides in the competition, with St Johnstone continuing their fine continental form while Motherwell fell at home to Russian opposition.

Fresh from their excellent away win over fancied Norwegians Rosenborg in the previous round, Tommy Wright's Saints did it again with a 1-0 win over Belarusian side Minsk in Grodno.

Steven MacLean scored the only goal of the game in the 69th minute after a fine performance from the visitors, for whom Nigel Hasselbaink missed a fine chance to open the scoring earlier.

MacLean collected a pass from Liam Caddis and shot under Minsk keeper Vladimir Bushma to grab the opener and spark a furious spell of late pressure from the home side, with Saints keeper Alan Mannus standing firm.

But Motherwell were left disappointed by a 2-0 defeat to Kuban Krasnodar at Fir Park.

Despite plenty of possession the hosts could not make a breakthrough and were punished by Kuban's Bulgarian striker Ivelin Popov.

Popov opened the scoring on 52 minutes when he finished off a pass from Ibrahima Balde, and the pair repeated the feat with 12 minutes to go as Popov netted his second.

Motherwell almost gave themselves a glimmer of hope in injury time but striker John Sutton headed against the post from a Zaine Francis-Angol cross.

Elsewhere in first leg matches, Udinese eased to a 3-1 win over Siroki Brijeg in Bosnia and French Ligue 1 side St Etienne had an equally easy night as they beat Romania's Milsami-Ursidos 3-0.

But Bundesliga Stuttgart could only draw 1-1 with Botev Plovdiv in Bulgaria and there was a surprise for Belgium's former European finalists Club Brugge, who lost 1-0 in Poland to Slask Wroclaw.

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