It was as if he never missed a game.
Atiba Hutchinson had been out of PSV Eindhoven’s lineup for nearly the entire 2011-12 campaign due to a knee injury that required a pair of surgeries. The 29-year-old was initially injured during Canada’s 2-0 Gold Cup loss to the US last June, and an ill-fated comeback a couple of months later put him on the shelf for an extended amount of time.
After working his way back onto the PSV bench late last month, Hutchinson got a few cameo appearances before making his first 90 minute appearance as a right back last week. But the Canadian veteran finally returned to his preferred central midfield position in PSV’s 2-1 win at Trabzonspor in the Europa League Round of 32 first leg last Thursday.
Hutchinson’s presence was felt the most when he started the play that led to the winning strike. PSV’s two away goals are a huge advantage heading into the second leg in Eindhoven this week.
Despite his contribution, Hutchinson was again on the bench for PSV on Sunday, with his side falling 3-0 to FC Groningen in Eredivisie play. Even with the loss, PSV are still first in the league, besting second-place AZ Alkmaar by goal differential.
Meanwhile, in the Dutch second tier, midfielder Alex Marello remained on the bench for Veendam in a 1-1 deadlock with visitors FC Dordrecht last Friday. The 22-year-old has made five Eerste Divisie appearance this season.
Next door in Germany’s Bundesliga, Kevin McKenna started and played the full match for FC Köln in a 2-1 loss at Nürnberg. Köln had fought back to level terms after giving up the first goal, but an 85th-minute marker sealed the victory for the hosts.
Down a level in the 2.Bundesliga, Rob Friend saw limited action on Saturday with first place Eintracht Frankfurt, coming into the match in the 83rd minute after his side had already scored all six goals en route to a 6-1 thrashing of FSV Frankfurt.
Friend’s seven minutes of play was more than Randy Edwini-Bonsu could claim this weekend, as he remained an unused sub for Eintracht Braunschweig in a 1-1 draw at Erzgebirge Aue. Braunschweig had planned on using Edwini-Bonsu as a late substitution, and even had the 21-year-old striker warming up on the sidelines, but he ultimately didn’t make it into the match.
Over in England, Simeon Jackson started and played just over an hour for Norwich City in a surprising 2-1 FA Cup loss at second-tier side Leicester City. The loss is just the second for Norwich over the past 10 matches in all competitions.
While the Premier League was on hold for the fifth round of the FA Cup, the nPower Championship was business as usual for most teams, including David Edgar’s Burnley FC, who fell 1-0 at Reading last Friday.
Burnley have only stumbled of late with some inconsistent results, although a great start to the season saw the club bank enough points to virtually assure a mid-table finish. Edgar has become a stalwart in the team’s back line, and put in another 90-minute performance in the loss.
Up in Scotland, Marcus Haber entered in the 81st minute for St. Johnstone in a scoreless draw at Aberdeen. The Saints haven’t won since last month, yet they are still tied for fourth place in the SPL based on a strong first half to the season.
The poor results also continued for Mike Klukowski’s Manisaspor, who are in a free-fall in the Turkish Süper Lig. Klukowski played the full match on Saturday as Manisaspor lost 2-1 at Antalyaspor, dropping the visitors to 15th on the league table.
Meanwhile, Klukowski’s former club teammate Josh Simpson played the final half-hour for BSC Young Boys in a 2-2 draw with first-place FC Basel in the Swiss Super League last Thursday. With the draw, Young Boys remain six points back.
While many of the continental European leagues are in full swing, Finland’s club sides are currently contesting that country’s League Cup ahead of the league season opener. One time Toronto FC target Riley O’Neill scored MyPa’s opening goal in a 2-1 group stage win over Honka, giving MyPa their first win of the group stage.
Half a world away in Australia, Issey Nakajima-Farran played the final 15 minutes of the Brisbane Roar’s 3-2 win over the Melbourne Victory. The win was Brisbane’s third in a row in the A-League, putting the side within five points of the top spot.