American Exports: Jozy Altidore scores two more for AZ; Carlos Bocanegra & Co. fall to Barcelona B
AMSTERDAM – Jozy Altidore took his goal total for AZ Alkmaar's overall campaign to 30 on Friday, scoring twice while adding a clever assist in a 4-0 rout at Heerenveen that all but mathematically assured the visitors a place in the Eredivisie next season.
The Man of the Match hit his ninth game-opening goal of the season in the 30th minute. Altidore deftly pulled down a high ball on the left side of the area before nodding home the rebound of his own shot.
WATCH: Altidore drills free kick for brace
WATCH: Jozy storms the box for his first
The US star notched his fifth assist of the league season just past the hour mark, setting up Joey Gudmundsson with a cheeky no-look backheel feed.
Only three minutes later, Altidore placed a precision laser of a 26-yard free kick into the top corner to tie AZ technical director Earnie Stewart's American record of 11 multi-goal games in top-flight European play.
The strike also ran Altidore's total to 23 in league play, extending his own American standard. Meanwhile, AZ moved nine points and 19 goals in differential clear of 16th-place Roda JC, who have three matches remaining.
In the Bundesliga, Steve Cherundolo watched from bench as Hannover 96 kept hopes of a Europa League return alive with a late 3-2 winner at Greuther Fürth. The veteran right back is currently tied for the club record with 298 league outings.
One flight down, Andrew Wooten worked a decent shift as Sandhausen lost all hope of earning a safety place with a 1-0 loss against visiting VfL Bochum. The survivalists still have a slim mathematical chance to reach the promotion/relegation spot.
Next door in the Dutch second tier, Charles Kazlauskas worked 90 midfield minutes to help Helmond Sport stay in the title race with a 2-1 victory over former employers FC Oss. The southerners are now five points off the top with four games remaining.
Turning to Spain's Segunda División, Carlos Bocanegra and Racing Santander blew an early lead to fall 2-1 against visiting Barcelona B. The US defender had a second-half corner-kick header cleared off the line as the hosts remained four points below the trap door.
Over in England's Championship, Zak Whitbread was an unused sub as fading Leicester City dropped a 2-1 home decision to Watford. The Foxes, who have won just once in their last 12, missed a chance to move back into the promotion playoff zone.
In Portugal, Tony Taylor went unused as Liga ZON Sagres surprise package Estoril tentatively reclaimed possession of the last Europa League place.