American Exports: Howard gets best of Dempsey & Co.
AMSTERDAM — It was another busy Saturday for Americans in Europe, with Everton netminder Tim Howard cruelly denying US teammate Clint Dempsey near halftime of a 4-0 blanking of Fulham at Goodison Park.
The Toffees custodian needed just two saves to post his fifth clean sheet win in six at home, with the pick of the day coming when he shoved Dempsey's deflected drive onto the bar.
The win kept seventh-place Everton unbeaten in six EPL matches and holding onto very slim Europa League hopes. Meanwhile, Fulham held firm in ninth despite losing for the first time in five.
Around the league, Tim Ream's Bolton rallied at the death for an important 2-2 draw at Sunderland.
The US defender was toasted by Nicklas Bendtner on the home side's 36th-minute equalizer, but it was the lone mark against on an otherwise fine afternoon at the back. Now unbeaten in three, Wanderers remain on the wrong side of the trap door by goal differential.
With Brad Guzan a dugout spectator, Aston Villa right back Eric Lichaj worked another solid shift as the visitors battled to a 0-0 stalemate at West Bromwich Albion. Though their win drought reached eight games, the Villans did manage to nudge themselves three points clear of the drop zone.
Over in Serie A, Michael Bradley was again among the game's top performers as Chievo wrestled hosts Cagliari to a 0-0 draw. The Flying Donkeys have now gone 399 minutes without scoring, but the point earned kept them in 10th place.
Turning to Bundesliga action, Jermaine Jones picked up his customary yellow card as Schalke clinched a Champions League group-phase invite with a 4-0 romp over Hertha Berlin.
Before departing in the 85th minute, the US midfielder found his way into the referee's book for the sixth straight game and 14th in 16. The Miners are now assured of a third place finish with a game to go.
Timothy Chandler received a booking that will suspend him from closing day duties as FC Nürnberg mathematically stayed in for a Europa League place by winning 3-2 at Hoffenheim.
Fabian Johnson was culpable on all three goal breakdowns before sliding from left back up the wing near time. The defeat surrendered all Hoffenheim hope of claiming a Europa league pass.
Hannover 96 captain Steve Cherundolo will need to rally the troops after a late goal dealt a 1-0 loss at Bayer Leverkusen. The Reds will go into the final day of the season with a one-point lead for that last Europa League slot and three chasers in all within reach.
Kaiserslautern forward Andrew Wooten had a quiet outing up top as the already-relegated hosts dropped a 5-2 decision to repeat artists Borussia Dortmund.
North of the border in Denmark's Superliga, Michael Parkhurst returned to central defense for FC Nordsjælland's wild 5-3 victory over visiting AGF Aarhus. The Wild Tigers rallied twice, hitting a trio of second half goals to tentatively creep within three points of the summit.
In nearby Norway, Steve Clark notched his fourth shutout in six games as Hønefoss posted a 0-0 draw at 2011 runners up Tromsø. The Michigan native registered two saves as the visitors remained one of three Tippeligaen unbeatens on the young season.
Stabæk center back Sean Cunningham had a trying day at the office in a 2-0 home loss to Odd Grenland. The cellar-dwellers have but one point to show for their first six matches.
Josh Gatt went unused as champs Molde FK conceded a late pair to grab a 2-1 defeat at Sogndal from the jaws of victory.