American Exports: Brad Friedel, Clint Dempsey, Spurs in tough spot after Europa League quarter first leg
AMSTERDAM – Brad Friedel and Tottenham Hotspur have work to do in the return leg after opening their Europa League quarterfinal tie with a 2-2 rally draw against visiting Swiss champs Basel on Thursday.
The veteran netminder notched fives saves, with the best denying Valentin Stocker a late free-kick winner. Friedel was overrun on the away side's 30th-minute opener and then had to watch a well-placed corner kick header fall agonizingly past his reach only five minutes later, but the hosts managed to clawed back to even by the hour mark.
Clint Dempsey worked the final 27 minutes for Spurs, his lone shot drifting wide from distance in the waning moments. The teams will reunite in Switzerland next Thursday, April 11, to settle matters.
Turning to Denmark's Superliga, Conor O'Brien put in another solid full shift as FC Nordsjælland used a game in hand to pull clear in the race for the league's Champions League berth with a 1-0 victory at Aalborg BK. The Wild Tigers have now rung up four wins and a draw since the American midfielder signed.
In nearby Sweden, Brian Span's Djurgården squeaked into the Svenska Cupen final four on penalties after a 0-0 contest at Norrköping. Starting consecutive matches for the first time since joining the Blue Stripes, the winger enjoyed a solid first half of action.