AMSTERDAM – A pair of American exports rang the bell in Europe on Sunday, with AZ Alkmaar ace Jozy Altidore hitting his 18th Eredivisie goal of the season in a 3-2 home loss to Ajax.
The US forward raced from midfield to collect an Adam Maher long ball and slot home from the left channel to extend his record for overall goals in a single top-flight campaign to 25. The strike cut AZ's game deficit to one, but they were unable to level on the league leaders. Though now winless in seven, the Cheese Farmers remained a point clear of the danger zone.
Next door in Germany's second flight, Sandhausen loan attacker Andrew Wooten bagged his fifth of the season in a see-saw 2-2 draw at Aalen.
The USMNT prospect deposited a back-post feed in the 70th minute for the game's first equalizer. The point gained cut Sandhausen's deficit on the survival playoff spot to two points, while also pulling them to within four points of the safety zone.
In England's Premier League, Clint Dempsey worked a tame second-half shift on his return from injury, a 1-0 home loss to former employers Fulham. Brad Friedel served as back-up netminder for Spurs, who slipped to fourth place on their second consecutive defeat.
Serie A action saw Michael Bradley put in 22 solid relief minutes to help AS Roma blank visiting Parma, 2-0. With their fourth win in five unbeaten games, the Giallorossi tentatively pulled level on points for Italy's last Europa League berth.
Over in Portugal, Tony Taylor came on for the final 14 minutes as Estoril reclaimed the last Europa League slot with a 2-0 win over guests Académica. The Liga ZON Sagres surprise package notched their third consecutive home victory.
Across the border in Spain's La Liga, Oguchi Onyewu watched from the dugout as Málaga dropped a 2-0 home result to Espanyol. Winless in four, the Anchovies dropped two rungs to sixth.
One deck below, Carlos Bocanegra also went unused in Racing Santander's 1-1 share with visiting Xerez. The relegation fighters inched to within three points of escaping the drop zone.
To the north in Denmark, Clarence Goodson and Brøndby tentatively climbed out of the relegation mire on goal differential thanks to a 1-1 draw with visiting FC Midtjylland. The defender picked up his eighth yellow card of the season, meaning he will miss the next match through suspension.
Also, Charlie Davies made a late cameo as Randers FC took advantage of FC Nordsjælland's match suspension on Saturday to grab the Superliga's second Champions League slot with a 1-0 home victory over Silkeborg. The Horses have galloped to four straight wins, while also building a 347-minute shutout streak.
Opening weekend continued in Norway, where Mikkel Diskerud and Rosenborg started the season with a 1-0 victory at Odd Grenland. The US midfielder pitched in with a solid full shift.
The day didn't go so well for Hønefoss goalkeeper Steve Clark, who suffered a 3-2 defeat at IK Start. Despite the American's six saves, the visitors' winless slide ran to 14 matches.
Finally, in Swedish Cup play, Brian Span worked the final 17 minutes as Djurgården booked their place in the quarterfinals with a 1-1 group phase draw at Åtvidaberg. The Blue Stripes will open the impending two-leg tie for a place in the last four at Norrköping on April 10.
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