American Exports: Brad Guzan helps lift Aston Villa, Tim Ream returns to Bolton lineup
AMSTERDAM – It was a fairly successful Saturday for Americans playing in Europe, with Brad Guzan continuing his winning ways in a 2-1 triumph at Norwich City.
The US netminder needed only one save to post his fifth win in the last eight games. Eric Lichaj pitched in with 62 solid relief minutes at right back to aid the victory in his first appearance since January.
The result pushed Villa five points clear of the trap door with two matches left on their EPL schedule and 18th place Wigan holding a game in hand.
Around the league, Clint Dempsey worked a quiet 72 minutes as Tottenham enhanced their Champions League credentials with a last-gasp 1-0 win over Southampton.
With Brad Friedel watching from the home dugout, Gareth Bale came to Spurs' rescue with the late winner to pull them level on points with fourth place Chelsea, who play Sunday.
One level down in the Championship, Tim Ream returned to the Bolton lineup for the first time in three months with a strong performance, but it was not enough as the hosts fell just short of making the promotion playoffs after a 2-2 draw against Blackpool.
Stuart Holden was an unused sub for Wanderers, who rallied from two down against their regional rivals. Bolton finished the season in seventh place, mere goal differential shy of the playoff zone.
Turning to the Bundesliga, Fabian Johnson was removed after a poor first half, but Hoffenheim clawed back late for a 2-2 draw at Werder Bremen. The visitors hit twice in the final five minutes to move to within two points of a safety place with two games to play.
Hannover 96 skipper Steve Cherundolo remained tied for the club record for Bundesliga appearances, going unused in a 2-2 home share with Mainz 05. The draw meant the end of any hopes for the Reds to make next fall's Europa League.
Timothy Chandler also remained a spectator as FC Nürnberg dropped their fourth straight decision, 2-0 at home to Bayer Levekusen.
A league below, Andrew Wooten scored a pair of second half goals to lead Sandhausen to a 3-1 victory over Ingolstadt. The forward made no mistake on 58 and 83 minutes to run his season total for his already-relegated loan employers to seven.
Over in Serie A, Michael Bradley put in another fine midfield showing as AS Roma kept their Champions League drive alive with a 1-0 stoppage time winner at Fiorentina. By winning consecutive road games for the first time since December, the Giallorossi crept to within four points of Sunday combatants AC Milan, who currently hold Italy's last invite to the big dance.
Shifting to Norway's Tippeligaen, Mikkel Diskerud came off at the break in Rosenborg's 2-2 fightback draw at Aalesund FK. Now winless in four, the Troll Kids squandered a chance to move into the league penthouse.