American Exports: Kljestan's heroics not enough in UCL

Sacha Kljestan with Anderlecht

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AMSTERDAM – Anderlecht midfielder Sacha Kljestan expertly teed up the late equalizer in a 2-2 Champions League draw at Oguchi Onyewu's Málaga on Tuesday, but it wasn't enough to keep the Belgian champs from crashing out of European competition.

The US playmaker unlocked the entire home defense with a diagonal entry feed for Dieumerci Mbokani to level matters a minute from time. The assist, Kljestan's fourth in the last eight games across all competitions, capped another strong performance for the in-form midfielder.

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Onyewu was solid at the back for the victors, who remained unbeaten through the first eight Champions League matches in club history. In the end, the combination of a star show from Málaga netminder Carlos Kameni and Zenit St. Petersburg's 1-0 victory at AC Milan conspired to wrest the Europa League consolation pass away from Anderlecht, who finished bottom of the group. Málaga move on to the Round of 16.

Elsewhere, Jermaine Jones worked the final 18 minutes as Schalke finished tops in Group B despite settling for a 1-1 share at Montpellier. With the Miners already assured of a place in the next round, the US midfielder was relegated to the bench to minimize the risk of suspension heading into the knockout phase.

The Round of 16 draw will take place in Switzerland on Dec. 20, with both Jones and Onyewu on seeded clubs.