American Exports: Four Yanks advance in Europa League
AMSTERDAM — All four clubs with Americans booked passage to the Europa League quarterfinals on Thursday, headlined by Jermaine Jones' late tie-winning strike in Schalke's 4-1 rally victory over FC Twente.
Following a 1-0 loss in the away leg, the Miners fell further behind on an early Willem Janssen goal. A pair of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar tallies pulled the home side within range before Jones spun home a Raúl backheel 19 minutes from time to give Schalke their first aggregate lead over the two games.
Huntelaar finished his hat trick late from a Jones set-up to complete a comeback 4-2 aggregate victory.
Elsewhere, Jozy Altidore saw yellow in a solid shift as 10-man AZ Alkmaar blew their first-leg lead before hitting the tie winner in 2-1 loss at Udinese. The US striker was denied a second-half insurance tally by sprawling home netminder Samir Handanovic, but the Cheese Farmers had enough to score a 3-2 aggregate win.
Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 are each set for their first European quarterfinal after blasting guests Standard Liège 4-0. The captain was in fine form at right back as the Reds cruised to a 6-2 tie victory.
Sporting CP also claimed a place in the elite eight, advancing despite a 3-2 collapse loss at Manchester City. After City bagged three second-half goals, the Lions held on for dear life over the final eight minutes to move forward on away goals. Injured Oguchi Onyewu watched from the stands.
The Europa League quarterfinal matchups will be drawn in Switzerland on Friday.