American Exports: Jones, Schalke solidify Ch. Lge. spot
AMSTERDAM — Several Americans crossed the line over the pond on Sunday, with Jermaine Jones and Schalke solidifying their hold on the fourth Champions League slot with a 3-1 win over visiting Hamburg.
The US midfielder was quite active on the day, going close to scoring twice and picking up a yellow card for the eighth time in nine Bundesliga games. By winning for the 10th time in a 12-game home unbeaten run, Schalke pushed their lead in the race for fourth to seven points.
Elsewhere, road woes continued for Steve Cherundolo's Hannover 96 in a 3-0 defeat at nearby rivals Werder Bremen. Though not to blame on any of the goals, the American missed out on a chance to skipper his side into a Europa League place for the third week in a row.
Next door in the Eredivisie, Jozy Altidore worked a quiet 65 minutes as a rather listless AZ Alkmaar reclaimed the perch with a patient 2-0 win at lowly De Graafschap. Despite a less than textbook effort, the Cheese Farmers posted their first clean sheet win in league play for a month to go three points up at the top.
Across the water in England's Premier League, Zak Whitbread was beaten by a fatal through ball on the 67th minute equalizer as Norwich City settled for a 1-1 home draw with bottom feeders Wigan. The center back also saw his first yellow of the season near the hour as the Canaries slipped to 12th.
Moving along the North Sea to Denmark, Clarence Goodson and Brøndby inched to seven points clear of the danger zone with a 0-0 draw against guests AGF Aarhus. With the captain marshaling the back line, the "Lads from the Western Outskirts" extended their Superliga unbeaten run to three and their shutout streak to 196 minutes.