American Exports: Donovan shows deft touch again
AMSTERDAM — Four Americans tasted sweet victory overseas on Tuesday, with the extensions of Landon Donovan's playmaking touch and Tim Howard's mastery over Manchester City conspiring to help forge a 1-0 upset of the Premier League leaders at Goodison Park.
Almost precisely on the hour mark, Donovan teed Darren Gibson up at the edge of the box for the deflected winner. The assist was the third in five days for the LA Galaxy loan star, and his fifth since returning to Everton seven games ago.
Gibson was not the only former Manchester United player to haunt the visitors, with Howard notching three saves to post his eighth victory in the last 10 against the Citizens. Near time, the US mainstay preserved the points with a comfy stop on Samir Nasri's drive.
Earlier, Howard was left to thank his woodwork when Nasri's swerving cracker from distance rang the crossbar in the 39th minute. With Man. City holding 68 percent of the ball on the night and much of Everton's push going up the left side, it took about that long for Donovan to start getting his claws into the game.
Shortly after the break, the No. 9 shirt got more involved, setting up a Denis Stracqualursi effort that was blocked. In the 60th minute, a cross from the left was cleared only as far as Donovan, who calmly laid off a smooth pass for Gibson to fire home with a slight detour off the back of City defender Vincent Kompany.
Up to ninth, Everton have now won three of four at home and are unbeaten in four overall. The Toffees are also perfect in two matches against nearby rivals City and in three against both Manchester giants combined with Donovan in the lineup.
Meanwhile, Brad Friedel and Tottenham Hotspur took advantage of Everton's win over Manchester City, clawing to within five points of the EPL leaders with a 3-1 win over Wigan. The veteran netminder needed just two saves to book his eighth win in a 10-game White Hart Lane unbeaten streak.
One league below in the Championship, Jonathan Spector and Birmingham City climbed to fourth place thanks to a 4-1 rout of hosts Leeds United. While the Brums saw their shutout streak snapped at 451 minutes, four goals from Nikola Zigic were more than enough for them to record their sixth straight win across all competitions.
Robbie Rogers, who signed with Leeds last week, did not dress as he was busy putting the final touches on his paperwork.