Canadian Exports: Hoilett brace seals crucial win
Thanks to the heroics of Junior Hoilett, Blackburn Rovers are clear from the relegation zone in the English Premier League for at least one more week.
Rovers have hovered in and around the bottom three all season long, but Hoilett scored twice against Wolves on Saturday to lift Rovers to a crucial 2-0 win. The victory allowed the Lancashire outfit to jump three points above the drop zone for the time being.
The 21-year-old attacker’s first goal of the day was an opportunistic strike, with Hoilett pouncing on a botched clearance and volleying the ball into the net from 12-yards out. His second was perhaps the more spectacular of the two by the Brampton, Ontario, native. The tricky winger received a pass 35 yards from goal, dribbled past a man and firing a low shot past the diving Wolves ‘keeper.
Hoilett now has five league goals in 24 appearances on the season, and Blackburn currently sit 16th in the EPL.
Having a much quieter weekend in England’s top flight was Simeon Jackson, who went 90 minutes for Norwich City in a 1-1 draw with visiting Wigan Athletic. That’s not to say that Jackson didn’t contribute. The Canadian international assisted on Norwich’s goal with a lofted pass to scorer Wes Hoolahan.
The Canaries have settled into the mid-table after flirting with a top-seven spot for much of the season.
Down in the English second tier, defender David Edgar also put in a full shift in a deadlocked match. Edgar’s Burnley side drew with Crystal Palace 1-1 on Saturday and the result saw both teams remain a point apart in the standings, with Palace in 11th place while Burnley are 13th.
Another rung down in League One, Iain Hume started and played 80 minutes for Preston North End in a scoreless draw versus Scunthorpe United.
Hume has had an injury-plagued season, and his club have had equal struggles as they occupy the 14th spot in the English third tier following a drop down from the Championship last season.
Over in Germany, Olivier Occean continued his red-hot form with another goal over the weekend, this time scoring the winner for SpVgg Greuther Fürth in a 1-0 victory over Alemannia Aachen.
Occean’s goal — a result of some fancy footwork inside the six-yard box to elude a pair of defenders and the goalkeeper — is his 13th in the league and kept Greuther Fürth atop the 2. Bundesliga with just nine games remaining.
Eintracht Frankfurt continue to chase Greuther Fürth down, recording another victory as they cruised to an easy 5-1 win at Hansa Rostock. Big striker Rob Friend had a cameo appearance for Frankfurt, coming on in the 87th minute after all the scoring had already taken place.
The third Canadian striker in the 2. Bundesliga, Randy Edwini-Bonsu, was also a late entrant for his team, Eintracht Braunschweig. Edwini-Bonsu came into the game in the 82nd minute of a 1-1 draw at Energie Cottbus.
Up in the German top flight, Kevin McKenna entered in the 68th minute for FC Köln as the club secured a 1-0 win over Hertha BSC. The victory allowed Köln to climb to 13th in the Bundesliga table.
Next door in the Netherlands, Atiba Hutchinson’s PSV Eindhoven dropped their second consecutive league match and fell to fourth place in the highly-competitive Eredivisie. PSV lost 3-1 to NAC Breda on Sunday, with Hutchinson going 45 minutes in the match. The defeat also signaled the end of manager Fred Rutten’s time in charge of the Dutch club, as he was relieved of his duties following the disappointing result.
Meanwhile in Romania, goalkeeper Milan Borjan posted a clean sheet for new club side FC Vaslui in a 4-0 victory against Concordia Chiajna in Liga I. Borjan joined Vaslui on loan from Turkish side Sivasspor late last month.
Also seeing action in Eastern Europe was Joseph Di Chiara, who started and played 54 minutes in central midfield for Krylya Sovetov in a 1-0 loss to Rostov in the Russian Premier League. It was the fifth league appearance of the season for the 20-year-old Di Chiara.
Even further east, Issey Nakajima-Farran went 90 minutes for second place Brisbane Roar in a 1-1 draw with Adelaide United in the Australian A-League. Brisbane have had a roller-coaster year but have still managed to secure enough points to challenge the league leaders, Central Coast Mariners, for top spot.