AMSTERDAM – A handful of Americans laced up for Europa League action on Thursday, with Alejandro Bedoya's first European goal not enough for Helsingborg in a harsh 3-2 loss at Steve Cherundolo's Hannover 96.
Bedoya (above, right) completed Helsingborg's comeback from two down to level the game with an finish from the restart on 67 minutes, but a controversial Szabolcs Huszti penalty decided the game in stoppage time.
Both Americans went the distance in a result that clinched Hannover's place in the knockout stage for the second straight year, while also eliminating the visitors with two group matches left.
Elsewhere, Clint Dempsey came on for the final eight minutes of Tottenham Hotspur's 3-1 victory over Group J guests Maribor.
The US star was nearly gifted the chance for a late tack-on goal when his pressure blocked the away netminder's careless kick. Spurs rode a Jermain Defoe hat trick into second place, two points ahead of the Slovenians.
Over in Group K, Terrence Boyd and cellar-dwellers Rapid Vienna dropped a 3-0 decision at Bayer Leverkusen.
The US forward saw yellow near the end of his active 86-minute shift. Boyd set up Rapid's best chance of the night, put one of two shots on frame, won four free kicks and was punished for a weak restart clearance on Bayer's second goal.
Mikkel Diskerud was not in the starting lineup due to a foot knock, but came on for 27 minutes as Rosenborg fell 2-1 at Metalist Kharkiv. The Troll Kids conceded a late winner to the Ukrainians for the second straight time to lose all hope of advancement.
Group E action saw Josh Gatt removed at halftime of Molde FK's 2-1 defeat to visiting Steaua Bucharest.
Still being brought back gingerly after a hamstring injury, the winger tailed off after enjoying a fast start to the game. The Norwegian champs are now two points shy of second place with two games remaining in group play.
Finally, Bryan Gerzicich pitched in a sturdy defensive midfield shift as Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona held Group I guests Sparta Prague to a 1-1 draw. The point allowed the Israeli holders to keep their slim hopes of reaching the next round alive.