LONDON, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Algeria’s El Arbi Hilal Soudani scored a first-half hat-trick for Dinamo Zagreb who began the Europa League group stage by crushing Romanians Astra 5-1 on Thursday, while there were also wins for ex-European champions Inter Milan and PSV Eindhoven.
Soudani capped a superb week for Algeria forwards, following Yacine Brahimi’s hat-trick for Porto in the Champions League, with two headers and a calmly-taken effort from close range to effectively seal the home points before the break in Group D.
Inter had to be patient in Ukraine against Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in Group F before Danilo D‘Ambrosio grabbed the only goal after 71 minutes, while PSV’s Luuk de Jong scored a first-half penalty in a 1-0 home win over Estoril in Group E.
Celtic, another former European champion, almost pulled off a surprise victory at Austrian champions Salzburg in Group D after Scott Brown put them 2-1 ahead in the second half but Jonatan Soriano netted with a superb free kick to snatch a draw for the hosts.
Premier League Tottenham Hotspur played out a drab 0-0 stalemate at Partizan Belgrade, while Bundesliga side Borussia Moenchengladbach and La Liga outfit Villarreal drew 1-1 in Germany.
Champions Sevilla welcome twice winners Feyenoord later on Thursday in the pick of the first round of group matches. (Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Mark Meadows)