American Exports: Clint Dempsey's long-range lob helps Spurs keep UCL dreams alive
AMSTERDAM – Clint Dempsey continued warming up for summer on Saturday, notching a goal and assist as Tottenham at least temporarily claimed England's final Champions League slot with a 2-1 comeback victory at 10-man Stoke City.
The Sky Sports Man of the Match cancelled an early deficit with some reflexive invention on 20 minutes. Dempsey pounced on a weak clearance by Potters netminder Asmir Begovic, striking a 40-yard lob on the short hop for his seventh league goal and 12th across all competitions.
The US star went close twice in the late going before feeding Emmanuel Adebayor for the winner seven minutes from time. Geoff Cameron, who worked the final 14 minutes for Stoke, left the scorer free at the back post after a failed offside trap.
The points pulled Spurs into fourth place, two ahead of rivals Arsenal, who host FA Cup champs Wigan on Tuesday. Meanwhile, 11th place Stoke remained a single point short of securing their place in the Premier league for next season.
Elsewhere around the EPL, Tim Howard and Everton lost all hope of qualifying for Europe despite posting a 2-0 win over visiting West Ham United.
The backstop needed just two saves to extended his Goodison Park shutout streak to 507 minutes, with the best coming to deny Kevin Nolan near halftime. Howard has now earned a clean sheet in six of his last eight matches.
The win also ensured the sixth place Toffees would finish above arch enemies Liverpool in the table in consecutive top flight seasons for the first time in 76 years.
Turning to Serie A, Michael Bradley put in a another strong showing as AS Roma slipped to seventh place after battling to a 0-0 stalemate at AC Milan. The result means that the Coppa Italia finalists can no longer gain a Europa League pass for their table finish.
Over in Belgium's championship hexagonal, Sacha Kljestan and Anderlecht wrested the penthouse keys back from Saturday victors Zulte-Waregem with a 2-1 success at Genk. The holders hit through Demy De Zeeuw with seven minutes left to restore last week's two-point tabletop edge with two matches remaining.
Down south in La Liga, Oguchi Onyewu watched on as Málaga were held to a 0-0 draw by guests Sevilla.
One level below in the Segunda División, Carlos Bocanegra marshaled the defense as Racing Santander kept their survival hopes alive with a 1-0 home victory over Real Madrid Castilla. The US captain drew a first half yellow card in helping the hosts snap a four-game losing slide.
The Eredivisie closing day saw Jozy Altidore work a quiet 73 minutes in AZ Alkmaar's lethargic 2-0 loss at basement side Willem II. The Cheese Farmers, who claimed the KNVB Cup title on Thursday, ended up in 10th place.
Next door in Germany, Alfredo Morales opened his Hertha Berlin account with a winner as the visitors celebrated the 2. Bundesliga championship with a 2-1 triumph at FC Cologne.
The defensive midfielder nodded home a free kick on 55 minutes to give the Old Lady a two-goal lead. John Anthony Brooks pitched in with a solid full back line shift as Hertha ran their win streak to four.
Elsewhere, Andrew Wooten played all 90 as loan side Sandhausen were relegated by a 3-0 defeat at Energie Cottbus.
Bobby Wood made a late cameo in 1860 Munich's 2-0 loss at Paderborn.
Across the border in Denmark's Superliga, Clarence Goodson bagged Brøndby's opener in a 1-1 draw at Aalborg BK.
The US center back fired home from near the penalty spot to end some set piece pinball eight minutes before intermission. Now unbeaten in four, Brøndby edged two points above the relegation trap door.
Randers FC forward Charlie Davies went unused in a 3-0 defeat at FC Midtjylland.
Nearby in Norway's Tippeligaen, Josh Gatt worked hard on a frustrating day as Molde FK settled for a 0-0 draw at Sandnes Ulf. The two-time defending champs remained bottom despite posting their first shutout of the young season.