American Exports: Hannover, Cherundolo rally in Europa
AMSTERDAM – Several Americans took part in Europa League action on Thursday, with Steve Cherundolo captaining Hannover 96 as they defeated Group L guests Levante 2-1 despite going down to 10 men.
Hannover fell behind both a goal and a man when Karim Haggui's penalty foul was converted by Míchel in the 10th minute. Cherundolo allowed the slip pass that set up the spot kick, but got revenge when his 49th-minute cross pinballed around to Didier Ya Konan for the deciding tally.
The Reds held firm atop Group L, which also saw Alejandro Bedoya and Helsingborg settle for a 2-2 home draw with FC Twente.
With the American pushed up to forward, the Swedish champs held a two-goal lead at halftime on a pair of goals from Nikola Djurdjic. However, the Dutch visitors hit twice from corners in the final 16 minutes to keep Helsingborg in last place.
Group J play saw Clint Dempsey work 65 solid minutes in Tottenham Hotspur's hard-fought 1-1 draw at Panathinaikos.
The US star went close with a first-half free kick and departed 12 minutes before Toché leveled for the Greens. Having drawn both group games thus far, Spurs hold down third place.
Bryan Gerzicich went the distance as Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona dropped a wild 4-3 Group I decision to visiting Lyon. The hosts scored first before eventually rallying from two down to tie, only to leak a last-minute decider.
In Group E, Josh Gatt returned from injury with nine relief minutes in Molde FK's impressive 2-0 victory over Stuttgart. The Norwegian champs scored twice after intermission to grab second place in the group.
Over in Group K, Terrence Boyd went unused as Rapid Vienna fell 2-0 at Metalist Kharkiv. By losing in Ukraine, the Green-Whites remained one of only three teams in the tourney without a point through two group phase rounds.
Meanwhile, Mikkel Diskerud was a late scratch with a thigh knock before third-place Rosenborg's 1-0 home loss to Bayer Leverkusen.