American Exports: Edu, Rangers close in on SPL title

AMSTERDAM - Maurice Edu worked 70 solid minutes as three-peat hunters Rangers moved four points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League on Saturday with a 4-0 drubbing of 10-man guests Hearts.

The former Toronto FC man saw yellow late in his shift for defending a tackled teammate with a shove.

Next door in the English Premier League, Tim Howard and Everton kept very slim Europa League hopes alive with a 2-1 rally win over Manchester City. The American's best stop of the afternoon was a nimble kick save on Yaya Touré's breakaway just after intermission.

With compatriot Michael Bradley watching on from the dugout, Brad Friedel and Aston Villa nudged a little closer to safety with a 1-1 share against Wigan.

Jermaine Jones contributed to the making of Blackburn's early opener, but Jonathan Spector and home side West Ham United fought back for a 1-1 draw. Spector, who went into the ref's book, went close to scoring on either side of the break with an inches-wide drive and a saved header.

One level down in the Championship, Eric Lichaj pitched in 90 fine minutes as promotion playoff outsiders Leeds United closed the season with a consolation 2-1 victory at champions Queens Park Rangers. 

Elsewhere, Zak Whitbread and promoted Norwich City closed the term with a 2-2 Coventry City draw. The defender came up empty on two big set piece chances to score. Whitbread saw a header saved off the line before rifling a bicycle kick over on the quarter hour, and then tucked a potential game-winning rebound agonizingly wide in the 65th minute.

Conor Doyle hopped off the bench for the final 10 minutes as Derby County fell 2-1 at Reading.

Over in the Bundesliga, Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 have now booked a place in the next Europa League with a 2-1 defeat at Stuttgart. The right back departed for an attacker with six minutes remaining as the Reds saw any Champions League hopes dashed by Bayern Munich's 8-1 demolition of St. Pauli.

Timothy Chandler returned from a minor injury with 90 minutes at right back as FC Nürnberg surrender any Europa League ambitions with a 2-1 home loss to Hoffenheim.

Nearby in Ligue 1, Carlos Bocanegra and Saint-Étienne posted a 1-0 win at Arles.

Over in Turkey, Jozy Altidore and Bursaspor saw their clash with Beşiktaş canceled after a couple hundred home fans trapped the visitors' bus at the hotel and fought police officers.

Gale Agbossoumonde went the distance in defense as Djurgårdens broke their season's duck with a 2-0 triumph over Ryan Miller and Halmstads.

Finally, in the Ligat Ha'al championship hexagonal, Leo Krupnick and Maccabi Netanya pulled to within four points of a Europa League place with a 2-2 draw at Hapoel Tel Aviv.


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