Landon Donovan seized the spotlight in his much-anticipated showdown against US counterpart Clint Dempsey on Friday, leading Everton to a 2-1 win over visiting Fulham in a fourth-round FA Cup match.
The LA Galaxy striker finished the day with an assist on each of Everton’s goals, as the hosts rallied from an early 1-0 deficit to qualify for the Round of 16 on Feb. 18.
Donovan now has four assists in six games across all competitions since joining Everton on loan earlier this month.
Dempsey, meanwhile, was uncharacteristically quiet this time around after his historic three-goal outburst against Newcastle last weekend. He entered the game with nine goals and one assist in his last nine games across all competitions, but never found much space to make the difference for the Cottagers.
Instead the accolades went to Donovan, who served up a left-footed cross from the right flank to the waiting head of forward Denis Stracqualursi for Everton’s first goal in the 27th minute.
That goal drew Everton even after they gave up an early goal from the penalty spot, but Donovan wasn’t done. He returned in the second half to set up the winner, drifting another cross from the right wing to the far post for midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who rose above the Fulham defense and snapped a header into the back of the net for a 2-1 Everton lead.
That lead held up behind US goalkeeper Tim Howard, who needed only two saves to keep Fulham from adding to their early advantage after he came up empty on Danny Murphy’s penalty kick in the 14th minute.
Dempsey picked up a yellow card for dissent in the 86th minute to punctuate the day.
Elsewhere in the FA Cup, Brad Friedel watched on from the dugout as Tottenham moved into the Round of 16 with a 1-0 win at Watford.
In Bundesliga play, Steve Cherundolo skippered Hannover 96 from right back in a 1-0 victory over FC Nürnberg. The seventh-place Reds moved to within two points of a Europa League slot, remaining unbeaten at home this season in the process.