American Exports: Jones, Schalke in Bundesliga title race
AMSTERDAM – It was mostly a winning Saturday for Americans in Europe, with Tim Ream putting on a strong showing as heavy-hearted Bolton topped regional rivals Blackburn 2-1 at the Reebok.
After a moving tribute to recovering teammate Fabrice Muamba, who suffered cardiac arrest in Bolton’s last match in the FA Cup, Wanderers posted a second consecutive EPL win for the first time in 11 months thanks to a pair of headers from defender David Wheater. The victory, Bolton’s third in five games with Ream in the lineup, lifted them out of the drop zone.
Elsewhere, Brad Friedel needed only two saves to help Tottenham post a 0-0 derby stalemate at Chelsea. The netminder preserved their five-point lead over the Blues for fourth place by turning away a late Frank Lampard drive.
Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard had a light day at the office in Everton's 2-0 victory at Swansea City. The US No. 1 had but one easy save to make as the Toffees climbed to ninth.
Zak Whitbread worked another fine shift in defense as Norwich City recovered with a 2-1 home win over Wolverhampton. The Canaries snapped a four-game league slide to reach 11th place.
Aston Villa defender Eric Lichaj made his first EPL appearance since 2010 in a 3-0 defeat at Arsenal. With club and country mate Brad Guzan watching from the dugout, the right back saw yellow near the end of his 12-minute sub shift.
Down one flight in the Championship, Danny Potts went unused in West Ham United's 2-2 draw at Burnley and the same fate met Robbie Rogers as Leeds United blanked home side Millwall 1-0.
Over in the Bundesliga, Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 were second best in a 2-1 loss at Bayern Munich. After going into the book early, the Reds captain was turned by Franck Ribéry in the build-up to the 36th-minute opener.
Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones was booked for the ninth time in 11 league matches as his third-place side pulled to within six points of the top with a 2-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen. With away backup netminder David Yelldell as witness, the Miners recorded their eighth win in a nine-game Bundesliga unbeaten run at home.
Fabian Johnson went the distance at left back and defensive midfielder Daniel Williams registered 58 minutes in Hoffenheim's 2-1 rally win at Borussia Mönchengladbach. By winning for the first time in a month, the visitors rose to 10th place.
Meanwhile, Andrew Wooten was an unused substitute in basement side Kaiserslautern's 2-0 loss at Freiburg.
North of the border in Denmark's Superliga, Conor O'Brien picked up a yellow card in 90 minutes as SønderjyskE moved six points clear of the relegation mire with a 2-1 win at Aalborg BK. Chris Rolfe dressed but did not feature for the beaten hosts, who would have taken hold of the last Europa League spot with a victory.
Turning focus to Israel's Ligat Ha'al championship playoff, Leo Krupnick marshaled the defense as Maccabi Netanya jumped to third place by scoring a 2-0 triumph at Ashdod SC. The Diamonds now have four straight wins and a 299-minute shutout streak in league play.
Finally, in Norway, Hønefoss netminder Steve Clark backstopped an opening-day 0-0 draw against visiting Lillestrøm. The clean sheet was the Michigan native's first in five Tippeligaen attempts.