American Exports: Clint Dempsey's brace not enough as Tottenham ousted from Europa League
AMSTERDAM – Clint Dempsey came to Tottenham Hotspur's second-leg rescue with a pair of goals and Brad Friedel notched six saves, but it was all in vain as the visitors bowed out of the Europa League quarterfinals on penalties after a 2-2 (4-4) stalemate with FC Basel on Thursday.
Spurs entered the contest trailing on away goals, but Dempsey provided their first lead of the series in the 23rd minute. The US star raced onto a long Jan Vertonghen splitting pass to round Basel goalkeeper Yann Sommer for a free finish.
After Basel scored twice to reclaim control early in the second half, Friedel made plum saves on Mohamed Elneny and Marcelo Díaz to keep his side in for advancement.
The veteran netminder and his teammates were rewarded seven minutes away from being eliminated, when Dempsey squared the series with his second goal of the night. The attacker pulled down a long diagonal serve from Tom Huddlestone at the back post and poked the equalizer through the grasp of Sommer for his sixth career Europa League strike and 10th across all competitions this term.
Unfortunately, Vertonghen was sent off soon thereafter and Tottenham were forced to hang on for spot kicks. With Dempsey still waiting to take a kick, Spurs were doomed to their seventh consecutive penalties failure, falling 4-1 in four rounds.